Campus Life

University welcomes Dr. Rebecca Schiff as new Deputy Provost

The University of Lethbridge is excited to introduce Dr. Rebecca Schiff, a transdisciplinary scholar and administrator whose research spans the fields of health sciences, social sciences, humanities and environmental sciences, as its new Deputy Provost.

Dr. Rebecca Schiff comes to ULethbridge from an appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

Schiff comes to ULethbridge from an appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). In that role, she led the Schools of Education, Nursing, Social Work and Health Sciences, as well as the Department of Psychology. Prior to her time at UNBC, she held teaching and administrative positions at Lakehead University, including Professor of Indigenous, Rural and Remote Health and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

“Dr. Schiff is a highly respected researcher and administrator whose scholarly work over the course of her career aligns closely with the values of the University of Lethbridge,” says Dr. Michelle Helstein, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “Her research interests have focused on the public good and specifically on rural and northern health and health care, while her administrative work champions themes of equity, inclusivity and collaboration. We see her as an excellent addition to our senior leadership team who will offer a valuable perspective to the University.”

Schiff is a graduate of McGill University, first earning a Bachelor of Music and then earning a Diploma of Environment with a graduate thesis from the McGill School of Environment. She completed her doctorate at the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Australia.

She describes her disciplinary expertise as broad and embracing a liberal education approach to learning.

“My doctoral program was interdisciplinary, with intersections across numerous disciplines,” says Schiff. “Upon returning from Australia, I was based in Western Canada, where I worked extensively with diverse urban, rural and Indigenous communities around issues related to poverty, homelessness, food security, women’s health and social service systems.”

Schiff would go on to work as a faculty member at the University of Regina, with positions in the Department of Geography and Department of Justice studies. Her career would then take her to Memorial University where she worked in Indigenous Health with the Faculty of Medicine, based out of Memorial’s Labrador Institute. In 2014, she began her term at Lakehead University in the Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences. She has been at UNBC since 2022.

Schiff’s research work has included funding from a wide array of sources, including the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She has been a principal or co-applicant on 50-plus research projects totaling over $12.5 million in grants and has authored/co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications. She has also produced two books, with her most recent — Health and Healthcare in Northern Canada — considered a major contribution to scholarship in this field.

“Her inter- and transdisciplinary approach to scholarship in the field of public health, coupled with a strong record of leadership success in a variety of administrative roles is a great addition to our team,” adds Helstein.

The Deputy Provost supports the Provost in establishing innovative initiatives to further the goals of the University, and to provide assistance to the team of vice-presidents, deans and other direct reports to support programming and activities that further strengthen the University’s student-first culture. Schiff’s five-year term begins May 1, 2024.