12 highlights from our year

Welcoming our new dean

The summer of 2021 brought in a new era at Smith as students, staff and alumni welcomed Wanda Costen as the school’s new dean—taking over from Brenda Brouwer, who served as interim dean for 18 months.

Costen is known for her collaborative approach to leadership, drawing on her experience in private industry, the military and higher education in both the United States and Canada.

Before joining Smith, she held senior academic leadership roles at universities across North America, including MacEwan University in Edmonton, where she was dean of the business school, and Northern Arizona University. She also held faculty positions at the University of Tennessee, University of Nevada and Washington State University.

Costen’s research interests include managing diversity, racial and gender inequality in organizations, women and leadership, and strategic human resources.

“Post-secondary education is essential for improving society,” Costen said upon her appointment. “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.”

Before her academic career, Costen held leadership and management roles in sales, operations and human resources for several global organizations and Fortune 500 companies. She has also consulted on equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization issues in both the public and private sectors, and she has partnered with organizations to help them develop diversity initiatives and training programs. She earned a PhD in sociology at Washington State University, an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“Dr. Costen’s appointment is an incredibly important one for the university and we are excited to welcome her to Queen’s,” said Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick 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.”