Meet the new Associate Dean and Heads and Directors in Arts

The Faculty of Arts welcomes one new Associate Dean and two new Heads and Directors in 2023-2024.

New Associate Dean


Dr. Laurie McNeill
Associate Dean, Students

Dr. Laurie McNeill is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of English Language and Literatures. Her research in auto/biography studies focuses on the production and reception of life narratives and testimony in digital and archival spaces. She is co-author, with Sonja Boon, Julie Rak and Candida Rifkind, of The Routledge Guide to Auto/Biography in Canada; co-editor, with Kate Douglas, of Teaching Lives: Contemporary Pedagogies of Life Narratives, and with John David Zuern, Online Lives 2.0, a special issue of the journal Biography and Comic Lives, a special issue of A/b: Autobiography Studies. Since 2015, she has been leading initiatives at UBC and institutions across Canada related to rethinking academic integrity policy, procedure, and pedagogy, including as principal investigator of the “Our Cheating Hearts?” TLEF project.

Over the past ten years, Dr. McNeill has held several leadership roles, including Chair of the Coordinated Arts Program, Chair of Arts Studies in Research and Writing, and Chair of First-Year Programs. She also served as Director of First-Year and Interdisciplinary Programs, Acting Director of the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, and Associate Head Undergraduate in the Department of English Language and Literatures. Dr. McNeill is a recipient of the 2021 Killam Teaching Prize and the 2022 Tricia Bertram Gallant Award for Outstanding Service – International Centre for Academic Integrity.

In the role of Associate Dean, Students, Dr. McNeill will provide leadership and strategic direction while working with staff in the areas of Arts Academic Advising, Work Integrated Education and Careers, Community Engaged Learning, Student Recruitment, Admissions, and Awards and Financial Aid to deliver on the Faculty’s commitments to students. 

New Heads and Directors


Dr. Luisa Canuto
Acting Head, Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (July 1-December 31, 2023)

Dr. Canuto founded and coordinated the Italian Program for UBC Extended Learning; she was also a Manager for UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology for more than 10 years and developed and facilitated numerous educational programs for Faculty members and UBC Academic Leaders. Her current role as Peer Review of Teaching program coordinator for the Faculty of Arts also reflects her ongoing commitment to educational leadership.

Her research interests and publications include the use of educational technologies in the classroom, the impact of evidence-based strategies and techniques, the integration of experiential learning opportunities, curriculum program renewal and the scholarship of teaching and learning. 

An invited speaker for workshops and seminar presentations, she regularly presents at national and international conferences on the topics of the scholarship of teaching and learning, intercultural competence, educational technologies and pedagogy.

Dr. Lea Caragata
Director, School of Social Work

Dr. Lea Caragata blends academic and research interests with her commitment to public policy change and community development. Her book Not the Whole Story: Challenging the Single Mother Narrative is an illustration of her participatory and activist work. Additionally, her climb of Mount Kilimanjaro was a fundraiser for an innovative wilderness program for abused women run by Outward Bound Canada.

Dr. Caragata’s areas of research and specialization include gender, poverty, and marginalization including an international context. Her research has examined welfare and labour market changes, critical constructions of resilience, and the provisioning roles played by children and youth in low-income families. Other research has focused on citizenship, social movements, gender, and social exclusion.

Her current research includes a large partnership grant with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on precarious labour in BC and research on the rollout of the $10/day child care initiative.

Dr. Kevin Milligan
Director, Vancouver School of Economics

Dr. Kevin Milligan is a Professor of Economics, and is also affiliated with the CD Howe Institute and the National Bureau of Economic Research. Since 2011, he has served as co-editor of the Canadian Tax Journal.

His research spans the fields of public and labour economics, with a focus on the economics of children and the elderly, as well as other tax and labour market policy topics.

Dr. Bruce Rusk
Acting Head, Department of Asian Studies (September 1, 2023-April 30, 2024)

Dr. Bruce Rusk’s primary areas of research and teaching are the cultural history of early modern China, from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. Recently, he co-edited a history of Chinese literature through the lens of information management practices, Literary Information in China: A History, and has translated (with Dr. Chris Rea) a second volume of the seventeenth-century Book of Swindles.

Dr. Rusk’s current research project concerns practices of authentication and material culture, in particular the forgery of artifacts and texts that purport to authenticate them.