The Fine Arts Faculty searches for successor
Allan Gilliland will step down as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications (FFAC) after an eight-year tenure that saw expansive growth and major transitions. MacEwan University will chair a nine-person committee to seek out a suitable successor, who oversees an atypical school with extreme variety. After an administrative leave, Gilliland will return to the classroom as a music professor.
When asked about the transition, Gilliland says he feels good even though it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“I can only do it for 10 years and this is my eighth year, and I was just kind of weighing where I am in my career and how much time I want to have back teaching. It just made sense for this to be my last year.”
In 2017, Gilliland oversaw the faculty’s transition from MacEwan’s former Centre for Fine Arts and Communications near Jasper Place to its current home at Allard Hall. The change represented the final move in centralizing all MacEwan campuses in one downtown location.
“I had no idea about the change management that you have to deal with when you move into a new building,” Gilliland says, “I think there’s a book in there somewhere.”
“It’s important that the new dean doesn’t have to know all the disciplines — because I don’t — but you’ve got to have an appreciation.”
Allan Gilliland, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.
In addition to the faculty’s move, he oversaw major growth in the faculty which hired 30 new professors over the last seven years and expanded each two-year diploma program within the FFAC into fully realized bachelor’s degrees. He says he inherited the process from the previous dean.
Finding a suitable replacement for Gilliland will be a tough process for MacEwan. The FFAC is an outlier amongst academic institutions with very specific focuses like Music Theatre Performance, Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, and Journalism.
“It’s important that the new dean doesn’t have to know all the disciplines — because I don’t — but you’ve got to have an appreciation,” Gilliland says. “You’ve got to understand that stuff so that you can support it and protect it because it’s all really important.”
While the university will also conduct its search outside MacEwan, Gilliland says they might not need to.
“There are definitely people in the building [Allard Hall] that could certainly do the job and do really, really well.”
Photo from MacEwan University Academic Department