Campus Life

Faculty of Health Sciences to be led by newly appointed Acting Dean Dr. Shannon Spenceley

A passionate registered nurse who has advanced the study of primary health care and health system reform, Dr. Shannon Spenceley (BN ’84) has been appointed acting dean of the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Shannon Spenceley has had a number of roles in the delivery and administration of health care in southern Alberta.

Spenceley, who has served the Faculty as assistant dean (nursing) and most recently as associate dean, is an associate professor who has had a number of roles in the delivery and administration of health care in southern Alberta. She previously taught at Lethbridge College and has been at the U of L in a full-time capacity since 2011.

“We’re very fortunate to have someone with Dr. Spenceley’s vast experience in a clinical setting, as a researcher and as an administrator to take over this role and solidify the leadership structure within the Faculty,” says Dr. Erasmus Okine, provost and vice-president (academic). “Her deep connections with the delivery of health care in southern Alberta create outstanding opportunities for our students and faculty members to engage with our community and advance health care for everyone involved, from practitioners to patients.”

Spenceley began her nursing career at Foothills Hospital in Calgary where she completed her registered nurse certification with top honours. She then convocated with great distinction from the U of L, completed a Master of Nursing at the University of Calgary and, in 2007, earned her doctorate from the University of Alberta.

“I am excited to take on this challenge and feel so fortunate to be a part of such a dynamic Faculty,” says Spenceley. “Certainly, there are challenges ahead with the evolution of the pandemic, as well as our responses to the dire budget situation, but I am confident in the bright future of our Faculty and our University. Truly, I am honoured to serve in this role for the next year.”

Her research portfolio includes extensive work on primary care reform, care of the elderly and specifically those living with dementia. She is currently involved as a co-investigator with the U of L’s Dr. Julia Brassolotto on an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions-funded project titled Intersections in Rural Long Term Care. The $1-million study is a five-year project focusing on care for older adults living in rural Alberta.

“My recently completed study on the moral distress of health care providers in long term care settings with health sciences researchers Drs. Sienna Caspar, Em Pijl, Olu Awosoga and Sheli Murphy (Covenant Health), has never been more relevant as it is in this current context — this sector is crying out for reform,” she says. “The synergy with Dr. Brassolotto’s work will be important in informing the substantial work to be done in this policy domain.”

The Spenceley appointment is for one year commencing June 1, 2020 and fills the position left by Dr. Robert Wood, who was appointed the University’s interim vice-president (research). The recent administrative appointments have filled a number of vacancies created with the departures of some key U of L senior leadership personnel who advanced to other Canadian post-secondary institutions.