On July 1, 2015, Dr. Gayle MacDonald joined the Mount community as the new Associate Vice-President, Research.
A native of Cape Breton, this appointment brings Dr. MacDonald back to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick where she has resided for the past many years, bringing with her significant expertise in supporting researchers and their passions.
“I think of the Mount as a university with a soul, I really do. It has a fine reputation as a predominantly women’s school, it has innovative programs… and it has managed to not only survive, but thrive in an era with increasing cuts backs,” said Dr. MacDonald.
With a commitment to research that challenges the status quo, Dr. MacDonald is devoted to providing faculty with development opportunities and guidance as they pursue their research initiatives. She is looking forward to helping Mount faculty prioritize research and navigate any hurdles they may face. Dr. MacDonald has a strong commitment to problem solving on behalf of researchers, easing the development of their innovative ideas.
“Research pushes our boundaries. It gets us to think outside the box, always. It’s a way to keep the life of the mind alive.” – Dr. MacDonald
Motivated by “the love of ideas,” Dr. MacDonald is a respected researcher in the field of sociology. Her specific research interest is studying those who are considered ‘deviant’ and the stigmatizing implications of that designation. Her study on sex workers in the Maritimes with Leslie Jeffrey has garnered interest from non-profits, policy makers, sex worker advocacy organizations and other researchers. A similar study by their doctoral student is concluding in Newfoundland this year.
Dr. MacDonald holds a Doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of New Brunswick, a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University. She has a successful record of securing research funding for individual and collaborative research from The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other funding agencies.
At the Mount, Dr. MacDonald’s role will draw upon her recent experience as the Assistant Vice-President of Research at St. Thomas University. Dr. MacDonald reports that she is fond of smaller university communities where she can get to know every faculty member. Her expertise in leadership and administrative service is founded in her earnest investment in the passions and accomplishments of the faculty she supports.
“I realized, once I was in administration, how much you can do for faculty, and for students vicariously, by focusing on research excellence and research opportunities,” says Dr. MacDonald. “I feel a great deal of common pride with an institution when people are recognized for doing their best at research – that gives me a great deal of happiness.”