Brock University today announced that Carol Merriam will become the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.Merriam has been serving as Interim Dean of the Faculty since March 2015. She will continue that appointment until June 30, and then on July 1 begin a five-year term as Dean of Humanities.“I am delighted that Dr. Carol Merriam will be transitioning from Interim Dean to Dean, it has been a pleasure working with her over this past year” said Neil McCartney, Brock’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, who made the announcement.Brock’s Faculty of Humanities is a great community of scholars, teachers, and learners with an exciting future ahead. I’m proud to be a part of it.A Professor of Latin language and literature with a research focus on Augustan poetry, Merriam is also an experienced academic administrator, having served as Brock’s Associate Dean of Humanities from 2011-15 and Chair of the Department of Classics from 2004-07.Merriam, who joined Brock as a part-time instructor in 1994, is herself a graduate of Queen’s University (BA Honours and MA) and Ohio State University (PhD).“I have really enjoyed the year I have spent as Interim Dean of Humanities, and am honoured to have been selected for the permanent position,” said Merriam. “Brock’s Faculty of Humanities is a great community of scholars, teachers, and learners with an exciting future ahead. I’m proud to be a part of it.”In her eventful past year as Interim Dean of Humanities, Merriam was responsible for overseeing the completion and opening of the new Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts in downtown St. Catharines. That $45-million project was a huge milestone for the University, representing not just Canada’s most modern centre of excellence for arts education, but an unprecedented off-campus collaboration between Brock and its host communities.Humanities is one of the largest of Brock’s seven academic Faculties, encompassing eight different departments and five centres of research and study. Looking into the future, Merriam acknowledged the recruitment issues facing all universities because of shrinking demographics, and particularly challenges for the Humanities.“But Brock has a lot to offer,” she said, “and this is especially true in Humanities. It is an exciting time to be telling that story, and helping all of our units forward to live up to their full potential.”
Lecturers have been warned not to pressure students into avoiding classes ahead of the latest round of strikes.Students at Sheffiled University have told The Telegraph how they have been physically blocked from attending classes and made to turn away, while a department head at Sussex University wrote to students urging them to respect their peers’ decisions about whether to cross picket lines. Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said that any suggestion that students are being intimidated when trying to attend classes is “completely unacceptable”. Julia Coulson, a first year student at Sheffield University, told how she was blocked from entering through the main entrance to a faculty building before her seminar, so was forced to use a back entrance, and then was shouted at on the way out.“The lecturers were stood by the gates in a line, about 15 of them…they were asking me not to go [to my seminar], not to cross the picket line,” she said.“I then tried to go and two of them moved and stopped me from going. I felt awful, I felt like such a criminal for going to something that was on.” Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said that any suggestion that students are being intimidated when trying to attend classes is “completely unacceptable” In his email, Professor Andrew Cornwall, head of the School of Global Studies, enclosed a complaint from a student who wrote to express how distressing she found being heckled by her lecturers and peers as she crossed a picket line.The student explained that she needed to enter the university to visit a therapist she was seeing about a recent sexual assault, adding: “I find it completely unacceptable that by attending these services and having to cross the picket line I could be faced with a query as to why I’m not supporting the strike”. “I had my seminar at 9am and there were these people picketing in front of Elmfield not letting anyone in,” she said.“I wanted to get through to get to my seminar but was stopped and asked to leave and to not attend my seminar, as a solidarity with teachers affected by the pensions cuts issue.“They were holding each other’s hands, so there was literally no gap where I could get through them, so I ended up going home.”Meanwhile, a department head at Sussex University wrote to students to urge them to be “respectful” towards one another during the strikes, and asked them to consider the issues raised in an email he received from a concerned student. A spokesperson for UCU said said they are “grateful for the fantastic support we have received from students throughout the action so far”.They added: “Picketing is a legal right and our members are encouraged to put their point of view robustly but politely. In addition to students and many politicians, we have welcomed a number of vice-chancellors to picket lines.” UCU has threatened to go on strike for another 14 days during the summer exam term Dasha Pervuhina, a 21-year-old student at Sheffield University said that she was physically blocked from entering the Politics department Mr Gyimah said: “I have been clear that students should not lose out on the education they are paying for. In the first instance universities should look to provide additional lectures where they are missed due to strike action.”Where a student’s experience has been seriously affected, universities should consider offering compensation, as some, like King’s College London, have already started looking in to.”This week Universities College Union (UCU) threatened to go on strike for another 14 days during the summer exam term, meaning that students at universities across the country face having their final-year exams scaled back or even cancelled altogether.Members of UCU, which represents lecturers and campus staff, are in a dispute with Universities UK (UUK), the vice-Chancellor membership body, over controversial pension reforms which they claim would make them £10,000 worse off each year in retirement.The National Union of Students has urged members to join their lecturers on the picket lines, despite fears that the walk out will harm their exams. A spokesperson at the University of Sheffield said that they have told lecturers that it is not acceptable to harangue students who wish to attend their classes and seminars during the strike action. “No student or member of staff should feel intimidated about crossing any picket line,” the spokesman said. “We have worked closely with both UCU and the Students’ Union who have communicated this clearly to their members and we will continue to ensure this is the case.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.