Campus Life

University welcomes Dr. Mary Ingraham as new dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts

The University of Lethbridge welcomes a new member to its leadership team for fall 2019 through the appointment of Dr. Mary Ingraham as the new dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Ingraham is currently the director of the Sound Studies Institute and a professor of musicology in the Department of Music at the University of Alberta. She sees the transition to the role of dean as an opportunity to engage in post-secondary studies from a new perspective.

“I’m really excited about the chance to participate in different types of conversations about post-secondary learning. I’m very keen on the bigger picture conversations and possibilities that are available at the dean level. It’s the next big challenge in my career,” she says.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Ingraham gravitated to music as a child, emulating her sister by beginning to play piano at the age of three. By five she was allowed to take lessons and, as the daughter of an Anglican minister, continued to hone her skills by playing for and singing in church choirs. She played clarinet and bassoon in high school and completed a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Mount Allison University for her undergraduate studies.

Her greater interest, however, was on the language and history of music and she focused her graduate studies on musicology, earning a master’s at the University of Victoria and her doctorate at the University of Nottingham in the UK. Her research work is interdisciplinary, focusing on cultural studies and considering issues of ethnicity, race, gender and spirituality in identity studies.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the centre of my philosophy,” she says. “Indigenization and internationalization are also part of that and have a place in pretty much everything we do — from teaching to research to public engagement. These concepts have always been integral to what I do and looking at the University of Lethbridge, there is certainly experience within the Faculty of Fine Arts to move forward with that.”

Dr. Andy Hakin, the University’s provost and vice-president (academic), says Ingraham is an ideal fit for the Faculty and its breadth of activity.

“The appointment committee was very impressed with Professor Ingraham’s presentation in the interview process and, in particular, her focus on the cultural power and influences of music and art in general. She has long explored issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and as such, recognizes the opportunities available at the U of L with a strong, diverse group of faculty members,” says Hakin.

Ingraham was struck by the wide variety of research work taking place within the Faculty and how the people she has met are open to collaborative work.

“The uniqueness of this combination of fine arts disciplines and how they fit with my own research focus is exciting,” she says. “The new media aspect of it is exceptional. Already, most of the fine arts, such as music, drama and the visual arts, do interdisciplinary work, but when you top it off with new media, you suddenly have a very exciting, forward-thinking opportunity. And from my experience so far, the Faculty has the feel of an incredibly collegial, personable community and you just can’t replace that.”

Her experience in the community also gave her a glimpse of the vibrant arts scene in Lethbridge.

“There’s a lot going on in Lethbridge. It is great to see such a high level of community engagement in the arts. The depth of integration of fine arts in the community is very refreshing and encouraging.”

Ingraham and her husband David Owen, a professional oboist, will make the move to Lethbridge in the fall and she will assume her new role as dean at the outset of the 2019 Fall Semester.