A message from Dr. Brook Taylor, Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost

Dear MSVU faculty, staff and students,

I’m pleased to extend a warm welcome to the 10 new faculty and one new lab instructor joining us at MSVU this year. They bring with them a diversity of experience and expertise to enrich our University.

I encourage you to get to know these new members of the MSVU community by way of the brief biographies below and by connecting with them directly.

Please join me in welcoming them to MSVU.



Brook Taylor, PhD
Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost

New Faculty 2022/23

Dr. Catherine Baillie Abidi, Assistant Professor, Child and Youth Studies [A]

Catherine brings over 20 years child protection and humanitarian experience and over 10 years research and teaching experience to MSVU. Previously the Director of Research & Learning at the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security at Dalhousie University, she has extensive experience researching, publishing and teaching in the areas of peace and conflict, children affected by armed violence, and international humanitarian law, and is an Adjunct Professor in International Development Studies at Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University. She co-chairs an emerging international Children, Peace and Security Research Network. Catherine’s research program is focused on violence prevention, and particularly on preventing the recruitment and use of children in armed violence, leading to new social policy and enhanced children’s rights frameworks. As a scholarly practitioner, she prioritizes participatory research with communities.

Dr. Conor Barker, Assistant Professor, Psychology and Education [B] 

Conor is a teacher, psychologist, and scholar of inclusive education and school psychology with over 15 years of experience in inclusive education as an educational assistant, classroom teacher, special programs teacher, and school psychologist. He completed his MEd (2011) in School and Counselling Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, and his PhD in Educational Psychology (2020) at the University of Regina. Conor’s research focuses on inclusive practices in rural and minority language contexts, neuroscience knowledge translation, and the development of clinical competency and creative practice within school psychology. He is active in community service, including serving on the board of the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre, research partnerships with SaskAbilities, and was a founding board member of Southwest Saskatchewan Pride. Professionally, he serves as the chair of the Saskatchewan College of Psychologists oral exam committee, treasurer of the rural and northern section of the Canadian Psychological Association, is the clinical director of Brunswick Creek Psychology Services, and is an associate psychologist with CRUX Psychology in Halifax. He is joining both the Department of Psychology and Faculty of Education, and is looking forward to being a part of the School Psychology team.

Dr. Nicholous (Nick) Deal, Assistant Professor, Business and Tourism [C]

Nick is a native of Halifax with extensive professional ties throughout the Atlantic Canadian region. Nick returns to MSVU as a tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Business and Tourism where he also graduated with his second undergraduate degree in 2015. He recently graduated with his PhD and received the Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation from CPHR Nova Scotia. His main teaching areas are in management, nonprofit leadership, and strategic human resource management, but he also lectures in communication studies. Nick has a wealth of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses across five Canadian universities and has been twice recognized by his students as “Full-Time Professor of the Year.” He serves as the Social Media Editor for the Journal of Management History (@Journal_MgtHist), Associate Editor of Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, and is the elected Graduate Student/Junior Faculty Representative-at-Large for the Management History Division of the Academy of Management – the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars. He has had the privilege of working with students to help oversee the revival of an Enactus chapter at MSVU; coaching and advising students for case competitions, academic advising, and career coaching; serving on various department, faculty, and union committees, and; sitting on nonprofit boards throughout the city.

Prof. Normand Gendron, Assistant Professor, Business and Tourism [D]

Normand is a Chartered Professional Accountant who served for 23 years in several senior roles for municipal government, charities, and nonprofit organizations, working in environment, early childhood education, arts & culture, community, health, and regulatory services. During this time, he completed his BBA at the Mount (Governor General’s Medal), his MBA at Saint Mary’s University (Beta Gamma Sigma), and worked eight years as a sessional instructor in accounting, finance, and management at MSVU. He is writing his thesis for his Master of Education in Lifelong Learning on the ideological sources of fragility in community development, with a focus on the nonprofit childcare sector in Nova Scotia. He intends to pursue a PhD next. He is also conducting a study this year on the use of role-play to mitigate anxiety and provide opportunities for student engagement in accounting education.

Dr. Jamie Leach, Assistant Professor, Child and Youth Study [E]

Jamie holds a PhD in Education with a specialization in Child Studies from Concordia University (Montreal). Before joining MSVU, she was an Assistant Professor in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Curriculum Studies program at MacEwan University (Edmonton). She was also a part-time instructor at Trent University and Concordia University. She has experience working as an elementary educator and with children and youth in mental health supportive services in rural and small communities. Jamie’s research projects and publications examine children’s social communication during play (e.g. co-construction of shared meanings, internal state language, connected speech), the impact of materials on children’s play, co-creating theatrical experiences with young children, and sustaining curriculum frameworks in the ECE field. Jamie’s research goals are to continue contributing to the understanding of children’s social interactions during play, investigating the partnership between families and Early Childhood Educators in rural areas, and examining how Educators use a pedagogical framework to promote play and learning.

Prof. Lindsay Leighton, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education [F]

Kwe’/Hello everyone, my name is Lindsay. I have mixed Indigenous-settler ancestry and currently live in Pesikitk/ Windsor. I describe myself as an Indigenous scientist and I teach in the School Psychology program in the Faculty of Education at MSVU. My background is in cognitive science, and my scholarly work is centered around the healthy development of marginalized students in community and at school. After completing the BEd and Master of School Psychology programs at MSVU, I spent the last decade providing direct service to students and families, but am thrilled to be returning to academia full time! Many of my current research and teaching interests evolved from my clinical experiences and are related to the relationship between biological and cultural bases of behaviour and learning, and using evidence-based practices and educational neuroscience to inform inclusive and culturally responsive policy. In partnership with my students, I strive to develop and deliver local, community-based, barrier-reduced psychological and educational services. Wela’lioq/Thank you.

Dr. Irene Ogada, Assistant Professor, Applied Human Nutrition [G]

Irene joins the Department of Applied Human Nutrition at MSVU where she has been a part-time instructor since 2019. She is an educator who has studied and worked with students in diverse settings. She has taught at Dalhousie University and St. Francis Xavier University in Canada, as well as at Kenyatta University in Kenya. She holds a PhD (Food, Nutrition & Dietetics) from Kenyatta University, a Master of Food Science and Nutrition from Gent University, and a Master of Public Health (Health Promotion & International Health) from Maseno University. Her research has been focused on understanding the determinants of maternal and child nutrition, and designing relevant interventions to address these determinants, in low-and middle-income countries. She is currently working to explore the social determinants of health and nutrition among immigrant and refugee women and children in Canada. She believes that understanding these determinants through participatory research can contribute to the development and implementation of relevant and responsive interventions. She is excited to be part of the MSVU family.

Jillian Ruhl, Laboratory Instructor, Applied Human Nutrition [H]

You may recognize Jillian as the campus beekeeper, but she is also a two-time Mount alumnus, having received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from MSVU, both in Applied Human Nutrition. Jillian worked as a Chemical Analyst II at Maxxam Analytics before attaining her master’s and becoming a Registered Dietitian. She has worked in many roles, including various research assistantships, teaching part-time at MSVU since 2015, being a Food Service Supervisor at Nova Scotia Health, and co-owning a small bake shop. As an avid forager, beekeeper, and gardener, her main interests surround the provision of food from the ground up. Her thesis focused on the use of wild edible plants in food tourism, exploring the value of hyperlocal, land-based foods for business owners and their practices. Jillian also has an interest in dietetic education and the student experience and co-authored the first Critical Dietetics textbook, along with other publications. With the goal of shaping nutrition discourse, she served on the board of directors for World Critical Dietetics and helped steer its designation as a nonprofit organization. As the new Faculty Supervising Dietitian for the Internship Education Program and Laboratory Instructor in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Jillian is excited to guide the next generations of dietitians and nutrition professionals towards success. Jillian is devoted to helping learners achieve the best educational experience possible in their journey of becoming competent, confident, and fulfilled professionals. Her greatest teaching achievement is training her dog to sing half an octave!

Dr. Ellen Shaffner, Associate Professor, Communication Studies [I]

Ellen has spent two years working in the Department of Communication Studies in a term position and is excited to be joining MSVU on a more permanent basis. She holds a PhD in Management from Saint Mary’s University and teaches primarily in the area of communications management within public relations at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research focuses on organizational history, discrimination and diversity at work, and intersectionality in public relations. She also works in the area of inclusive pedagogy. Ellen is an active member of the Academy of Management, the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada and the Canadian Public Relations Society. She was the 2022 recipient of the Alumni Early Career Teaching Award at MSVU.

Dr. Daniel Wadden, Assistant Professor, Business and Tourism [J]

Danny received his PhD in Business Administration (Marketing) and an MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.  He is a fellow of the AMA-Sheth Doctoral Consortium and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.  Prior to joining MSVU, he taught marketing at Saint Mary’s University where he was heavily involved in the Sobey School of Business Learning Outcomes Initiative and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accreditation process. Danny’s research interests focus on consumer choice processes, creativity in marketing management, and service interactions. In particular, his research studies emotional reactions to service failure and recovery efforts. His dissertation looked at possible negative firm consequences of unintentionally engendering consumer felt guilt. Outside of academia, Danny serves on the Board of Directors of Teachers Plus Credit Union.

Dr. Dora (Yun) Wang, Assistant Professor, Business and Tourism [K]

Dora received her PhD in Management (Marketing) at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in 2021 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University. Her research interests focus on digital marketing, marketing analytics, business-to-business marketing, and consumer health behaviour. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, and Journal of Strategic Marketing. She is excited to be teaching Principles of Marketing, Applied Marketing, and Marketing Research in the upcoming year. She looks forward to collaborating with students on the study of business practices and helping students develop marketing knowledge and skills, while having fun.