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Dr. Wanda Costen Appointed New Dean at Smith

Posted on March 30, 2021
Dr. Wanda Costen will take over as Dean at Smith on July 1, 2021.
Dr. Wanda Costen will take over as Dean at Smith on July 1, 2021.

Kingston, Ont. – Today Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane announced the appointment of Wanda Costen as Dean, Smith School of Business for a five-year term effective July 1, 2021. This appointment follows a comprehensive search process chaired by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green on behalf of the Principal that included representation and input from faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

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

Dr. Costen brings a unique combination of experience in academia – as a Dean, senior administrator, researcher, and professor– with both a private and public sector management career. At a time when the university is embarking upon a new strategic direction focussed on its impact on the community at a local, national and international level, Dr. Costen is the embodiment of the university’s commitment to foster human talent through the cultivation of the mind and creative spirit and in doing so, create a better world. A profound goal of Queen’s and of the Smith School of Business is to prepare our students to become change makers, inspiring them with bold ambitions for a brighter future. 

“Post-secondary education is essential for improving society,” says Dr. Costen. “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.”

Dr. Costen is currently the Dean, School of Business, at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta and previously held a senior academic leadership role at North Arizona University, and academic roles at University of Tennessee, University of Nevada, and Washington State University. Dr. Costen earned her PhD in Sociology from Washington State University and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University. She completed her undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point, in only the seventh West Point class with women. In 2013/14 she was a Fulbright Scholar with the University of the West Indies – Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Dr. Costen’s research interests encompass women and leadership, strategic human resources, racial and gender inequality in organizations, managing diversity, and ethnic minority student experiences. She has consulted on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization issues in both the public and private sectors working with Aon, ATB, TD Bank, and several municipalities. Her teaching expertise includes strategy, leadership and ethics, human resource management, organizational behaviour, employment law, and diversity. In her current role as Dean, she has leveraged her experience as a trailblazer to assist other academics, implementing a new faculty search process to reduce bias in hiring while enhancing equity and yielding highly qualified candidates. Dr. Costen established a Seed Grant Fund inspiring junior faculty through support for scholarly productivity and collaborative student-engaged research. 

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

Prior to her academic career, Dr. Costen held leadership and management roles with companies including Aramark Services, Pepsi-Cola and Greyhound Lines. She served as a Platoon Leader in the United States Army based in Frankfurt, West Germany. Dr. Costen grew up in a military family and relocated around the world during her childhood.

Dr. Costen will take over from Brenda Brouwer who was appointed Interim Dean at Smith in November 2019.