University logo on paved tile

Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences

Victoria Barham, Dean

I always like to tell our incoming students that their undergraduate degree is their first real job: that whatever path in life they subsequently follow, the CV they will use every time they apply for a new position will always mention the fact that they completed their undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa. What I hope – and I believe this hope is shared by the overwhelming majority of professors and staff in the Faculty – is that our students in the Faculty of Social Sciences will find that their studies are not merely personally rewarding, but also intellectually transformative. Pursuing an undergraduate education leads to the acquisition of knowledge, and also to the development of personal values, to the development of skills that help new graduates land paid employment and that also help our alumni succeed in the workplace twenty years after completing their degree.

We ask our students to invest themselves in their studies; in return, we work hard to offer a rich learning environment, with opportunities to take courses on a huge variety of different topics, with a mix of large lecture halls and small classroom environments, seminars, international study opportunities, as well as more practicum-type classes where students learn by getting involved in research projects on campus, or undertaking placements in the community. Students’ lives are enriched by the diverse student body, which includes students from all Canadian provinces, from large cities and from small towns, from First Nations communities that have been established in this land for thousands of years, as well as by contact with international students who arrived in Ottawa only very recently.

Our undergraduates have countless opportunities to participate in clubs, sports, and other activities organized by their student associations. And, of course, we are so very fortunate to be able to offer our students the opportunity to study in both official languages.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is a pretty amazing place. Welcome to our community!

Victoria Barham

Victoria Barham, Dean

Role of the Dean at the Faculty of Social Sciences

The dean is the titular head of the Faculty whose main functions are determined by his or her dual role as chair of the Faculty Council and chief executive officer of the Faculty. As chair of the Council, the dean carries out his functions in accordance with Senate and Faculty Council regulations. He or she is also ex officio a member of all the Faculty Council committees. As chief executive officer of the Faculty, the dean acts in conformity with The University of Ottawa Act, the regulations of the Board of Governors and the by-laws of the Faculty.

More specifically, the dean is responsible for:

  • the day-to-day administration of the Faculty budget as approved by the Board of Governors;
  • preparing itemized budgetary estimates for the following year in accordance with the academic development plan approved by the Faculty and the Senate;
  • presenting recommendations to the Joint Committee of the Senate and the Board of Governors, prepared by the Committee on Teaching Personnel of the Faculty and dealing with appointments, renewal or non-renewal of contracts, promotions, various types of leave, and tenure.
  • communications between the Faculty and the rest of the University and, more specifically, for ensuring that the members of the Faculty are kept informed of the proceedings and decisions of the Senate and its committees as well as the proceedings and decisions of the Faculty Council and its committees;
  • preparing the annual report on Faculty activities;
  • discharging such other responsibilities as may be assigned.

More informally, one could say that the dean is the Faculty CEO, responsible first and foremost as an academic for excellence in teaching and research, but also for the overall management of the Faculty. Today's dean is also deeply involved in public relations and fund-raising, while at the same time maintaining traditional roles related to protocol and diplomacy.

The term of office is normally five years.

Contact information

Victoria Barham
Social Sciences Building, Room 4031
Phone: 613-562-5903
[email protected]