Campus Life

Dr. Susan Dieleman named University of Lethbridge’s first Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership

The University of Lethbridge has taken a major step forward in the development of its new program focused on the ethics of politics, by announcing Dr. Susan Dieleman as the inaugural Jarislowky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership.

Dr. Susan Dieleman comes to ULethbridge from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL.

Dieleman, an accomplished professor of philosophy, Dieleman comes to ULethbridge from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL where she has taught in the Department of Philosophy since 2018. Canadian born, Dieleman earned a Bachelor of Philosophy from Wilfrid Laurier University, a master’s degree in philosophy from Memorial University, a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Toronto Metropolitan University, and a PhD in Philosophy from York University. She has also taught at Trent, Dalhousie and the University of Saskatchewan.

“I think it’s an excellent opportunity and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Jarislowsky network,” says Dieleman, who will begin her new role at ULethbridge on July 1, 2023. “As a philosopher, I can bring a unique perspective to the network. I have a lot of experience in programming, project management and organizing and leading teams. That the position also aligns so well with my research into democracy, inclusion and political leadership makes it a perfect fit.”

As the Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership, Dieleman is tasked with assisting the development of an innovative program of scholarship (teaching, research and experiential learning) that will expand knowledge and training for students, politicians and public servants in the ethical practice of politics, fiduciary responsibility and democratic governance.

She will join a national Network of Jarislowsky Chairs in Trust and Political Leadership made up of five endowed chairs at Acadia University, l’Université du Québec à Trois Rivières (in collaboration with l’École Nationale d’Administration Publique), Trent University and Vancouver Island University. The Jarislowsky Foundation invested $10 million into the initiative and the universities have committed to finding total matching funds of $10 million. Recently, Scotiabank pledged $375,000 to ULethbridge, part of a larger gift to the national network, to support the development of the program.

Dieleman is excited about the opportunities the program will provide ULethbridge students, who will have the chance to learn across the partner universities through a combination of foundational and experiential learning courses that bring together students from across the country.

“I was a first-generation post-secondary student and there were opportunities that I didn’t know existed when I was in school that I wished I had, such as exchanges, travel and co-op placements,” she says. “I want to make sure future leaders have access to those opportunities. This program will provide the kinds of experiences that can be life-changing for students.”

Given today’s political landscape, Dieleman says it’s never been more important to develop strong critical thinking skills with a focus on relationship building.

“As a philosopher working in the humanities, I have a deep appreciation for the skills, knowledge and values you learn through a focus on liberal education, which are essential in establishing trust among fellow citizens that we’re all engaged in a common project,” she says. “Whether you are across the aisle from someone or on the so-called other side, it’s imperative we find a way to build community, including across our differences.”

Dr. Matthew Letts, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, says Dieleman is uniquely qualified to help shape this innovative and important new program of study.

“Stephen Jarislowsky’s vision for the national network of Chairs is an innovative plan to address the polarization in Canadian society through intensive training of future politicians and civil servants in the areas of ethics and political leadership,” says Letts. “We are delighted Dr. Dieleman will apply her transdisciplinary expertise toward the development and implementation of this program.”