To the MSVU community

I am pleased to share the news that Dr. Mary Rita Holland has been appointed the next Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. With a CV that includes extensive experience in academia, politics, and advocacy focused on improving health equity and social inclusion, Dr. Holland began her two-year term at MSVU on July 2, 2024.

The Nancy’s Chair was established in the mid-1980s by feminist and philanthropist Nancy Ruth to raise awareness of women’s issues. The Chair enables MSVU to host distinguished scholars and activists who have contributed to the advancement of women, adding substantially to the intellectual strength of women’s studies at MSVU and in the Atlantic region. Duties associated with the Chair include teaching, research, and public presentations on campus and around the Atlantic provinces.

About Dr. Holland

Dr. Mary Rita HollandSince 2017, Dr. Mary Rita Holland has taught at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University in the areas of health equity, formal and informal caregiving, women and politics, qualitative research methods, and health social movements. Her research area is gender-based public policy, specifically rural home care.

As a teacher and researcher, Dr. Holland grounds her work in community-based methods, informed by her role as a municipal representative in Kingston, Ontario (2014-2022). Dr. Holland advocated for changes to address social determinants of health as Co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing (2019-2020), as a member of the Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee (2018-2020), and as a director on the board of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health (2016-2022). Dr. Holland also led political organizing and social justice campaigns as President of the Ontario New Democratic Party (2014-2022).

Dr. Holland’s current research uses the example of family carers of rural older adults in Atlantic Canada to shed light on the invisible emotional labour required to maintain the home as a site of care and manage disrupted meanings of home space and family relationships. Her work has been published in the international journal Health & Place. She is also a Research Associate at the Trent Centre for Aging and Society.

Dr. Holland holds a PhD from the Queen’s School of Kinesiology and Health Studies with a focus on long-term care, a Master of Public Administration degree in social policy (Queen’s), a Master of Arts degree in History (Queen’s), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History (University of New Brunswick).

This fall, we will host an in-person reception to welcome Dr. Holland to her new role at MSVU; please stay tuned for details.

Thank you to the members of the search committee and all those who attended candidate presentations. Members of the search committee include Dr. Maya Eichler, Dr. Maki Motapanyane, and Dr. Susan Trenholm. I was honoured to serve with them.



Dr. Carrie Dawson
Dean of Arts and Science
Mount Saint Vincent University