Wanda Costen takes over Smith School of Business deanship

Queen’s hires new Dean of the Smith School of Business

The search for a dean began in the fall.
Journal File Photo

Queen’s has found its new Dean of the Smith School of Business: Wanda Costen.

Costen will begin her five-year term on July 1. She has previously worked as a dean, senior administrator, researcher, and professor, and has had careers in both the private and public sectors. She is currently the dean of MacEwan University’s School of Business in Edmonton, Alberta. 

“Post-secondary education is essential for improving society,” Costen said in a March 30 press release. “I believe business education has a responsibility to develop talent with the capabilities and desire to address social problems, while creating economic sustainability in their communities.”

“Our role is to create learning experiences that challenge students’ world views, biases, and beliefs to develop open-minded, courageous leaders willing to take risks for the greater good.” 

Mark Green, provost and vice-principal (academic), chaired the search process, including consultations with faculty, staff, students, and alumni. At Senate on Nov. 3, Green said the hiring committee would be “honest and frank” with candidates about the racism at Smith, brought to light by the ‘Stolen by Smith’ Instagram account.

READ MORE: ‘Stolen by Smith’ Instagram account details systemic violence at Queen’s business school

The first phase of the search took place in the fall, with the University advertising the position throughout Canada and across the world. The interview process took place during the winter term. 

“After interviewing a broad range of interested candidates, Dr. Costen’s leadership skills and passion for business education and research stood out,” Green said in the press release. “She also has a track record of fostering funding and partnerships while building cross-campus and community collaborations.”

Previously, Costen has held academic roles at the University of Tennessee, University of Nevada, and Washington State University, and a senior academic leadership role at North Arizona University.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, her Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, and her PhD from Washington State University. 

“Dr. Costen’s appointment is an incredibly important one for the university and we are excited to welcome her to Queen’s,” Principal Patrick Deane said in the press release.

“She possesses a depth and breadth of experience which includes both academic and leadership skills that will be transformative as the Smith School of Business continues to develop and enhance its reputation for business education.”

Costen has completed research in the subjects of women and leadership, racial and gender inequality in organizations, managing diversity, strategic human resources, and ethnic minority student experiences.

In her previous work, Costen has consulted on issues of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization. At MacEwan University, she implemented a faculty search process to reduce hiring bias and enhance equity.  

READ MORE: Following months of student advocacy, Smith School of Business releases EDII Strategy & Action Plan

“We congratulate Dr. Wanda Costen on her appointment and look forward to working with her on ensuring the execution of the Smith EDII Strategy and Action Plan,” Reform Smith wrote in a statement to The Journal. “[We] will continue to advocate for accessibility, transparency, and accountability, while working with Dr. Costen and Smith administrators.”

“Through meaningful collaboration, we are determined to ensure that students, especially those from equity-deserving communities, are able to thrive at the Smith School of Business. Dr. Costen’s appointment is an opportunity for our school to make historic strides in equity and inclusion, and we are hopeful about Smith’s potential to create lasting change.”

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