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Faculty of Law
UNB Fredericton

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Welcome to the Faculty of Law

UNB Law is proud to introduce two new staff members who have recently joined the team. Mark Walma has been appointed Manager of Academic Affairs and Student Services, and Nat Perry has assumed the role of Wellness Advisor. These additions to the law school promise to bring a new level of support and expertise to our academic and wellness initiatives.

Mark Walma

Mark holds an LLB from the University of Toronto as well as a Master of Arts in English Literature from McMaster University. Lawyer, author, journalist, human rights specialist, government policy analyst, and most recently, Student Services leader here at UNB, Mark brings a deep and varied experience to the Manager role and will support the Academic Affairs and Student Services team in continuing to provide an exceptional experience for students in the Faculty.

Mark is responsible for the administrative functions related to the Faculty's programs. Together with a team of five support staff—IT support, Wellness Advisor, Career Services Officer, Academic Affairs Coordinator, and General Office Administrator—the Manager ensures that the academic advice and decisions of the Faculty of Law, its Dean, and Associate Dean are implemented.

“I am excited to be given the opportunity to support an exceptional team of people committed to the success of our students and the support of the academic mission of the Faculty. We are here to support students as they face challenges—academic and personal—meeting their needs from the moment they arrive to the moment they graduate and beyond. The law school is, in many ways, an independent entity, so we want to make sure that students have people right in the building they can turn to when they need help.”

Mark and the team spend much of their time focused on academic affairs, scheduling tests and exams, supporting students who have to write makeups or have deferred exams, working with the Accessibility Center for accommodations, and much more. In addition to these day-to-day functions, Mark is also taking on several longer-term projects with Dean Marin and Associate Dean Cotter.

While only a few months into his new role, Mark is extremely positive about the direction of the law school.

“There's this feeling of optimism here—that we’re moving forward with lots of momentum. We have a strong Dean, a strong Associate Dean, and fantastic alumni, students, and faculty. There's a vision; we know where we're going and it's just really exciting. It’s even more special to be working with a group of people who support each other so strongly and are ready and willing to jump in and help out any time.”

Mark's extensive experience in both law and post-secondary institutions make him an ideal candidate for his new role. After graduating and completing his articles, Mark co-founded Fazakas Walma in the West End of Hamilton, Ontario, where he specialized in real estate, corporate commercial law, and wills and estates. Following his time in private practice, Mark shifted his focus to serving students in some of Canada's top universities. He served as the Equity Services Advisor at the University of Western Ontario and later as the Director of Human Rights and Equity at McMaster University. He was recruited to UNB in 2008 to establish the university's first-ever Human Rights Office. In his most recent position as the Assistant Vice President, Student Services, on UNB’s Fredericton campus, Mark oversaw a wide range of services that supported approximately 10,000 students from UNB and STU, including 1,000 students living in residence. He skillfully managed five divisions with a total of 135 full and part-time staff members.

“I very much enjoyed my work with Student Services. UNB is fortunate to have an amazing group of professionals supporting its students on the Fredericton campus who do extremely meaningful work. That being said, I am looking forward to a new challenge in the Faculty of Law, working with a fantastic team who can focus on a smaller group of students.”

Mark is an avid writer. Working with Emond Montgomery in Toronto, he has published a textbook on advanced residential real estate transactions, and has co-authored textbooks on corporate law, and police power and procedures. Mark also worked with his sister Lynn (an Ontario-based graphic artist and designer) to create the Abigail Massey at McAdam Station storybooks for young people that have raised tens of thousands of dollars to support the preservation and refurbishment of the historic McAdam Railway Station in rural New Brunswick.

Nat Perry

Nat brings a wealth of education, training, and experience to her new role, including a Master of Education (Counselling), Life Skills Coaching and Mental Health First Aid certification, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), as well as more than six years of experience helping students in various roles here at UNB.

“Supporting those who are ready to make positive changes in their lives is my passion. I'm here to help students who may be facing barriers or struggling with behaviour changes to move forward and achieve their goals.”

In this new role, Nat is responsible for developing and implementing a wellness strategy for the Faculty of Law. Nat creates and facilitates learning activities and workshops to promote student wellness and offers one-on-one coaching and support for students facing challenges in their personal and academic lives, as well as help in navigating the many resources available to students both inside and outside the University.

“My aim is to help our students appreciate the importance of prioritizing health and wellness as they move through law school and in their future practice. Lawyers face unique challenges, and while managing deadlines and expectations, making time to practice behaviours that support their own healthy functioning is key. By addressing mental and physical health issues, and providing skill-building opportunities for students, we can cultivate a healthier community of professionals, creating better outcomes in both their personal and professional lives.”

Much of Nat’s one-on-one coaching and support work is focused on capacity and skill building, promoting effective problem solving, and accountability coaching. She has already seen significant demand for her services since joining the law school in January.

Sometimes, students just need the opportunity to slow down for a second and get some clarity on what they are trying to achieve and if the things they’re doing are helping them achieve it. We work together, setting achievable goals and charting a course forward. I've worked with students who need help navigating conflicts, prioritizing tasks, tackling their perfectionism, and managing their home life and academics. By offering them helpful tools and facilitating meaningful conversations, my goal is to help our students not only succeed here in law school but also thrive in the profession.”

Nat has had a busy few months. She has collaborated with the Associate Dean's office and the LSS to organize regular yoga sessions at the law school. She has organized a mindfulness experience and hopes to provide weekly meditation sessions. She has created a number of wellness resources, including a SharePoint site that will be launching soon. She is also in talks with a nutritionist to organize presentations on the mind-body connection of healthy eating and its effects on stress and overall wellness.

Nat is hoping the students themselves will help shape much of the programming that will come in the fall. She plans to launch a student survey to collect feedback on recent programming and to assess what the needs and barriers are for UNB Law students.

“One of the trends I am seeing is students can confuse stress with anxiety. Stress gets a lot of negative press in our society, and it’s easy to get the impression that if you’re stressed then that may mean you’re not handling things the ‘right way’ or that it means your mental health is failing. Sometimes students just need to hear that it's okay to be stressed it’s an appropriate response to law school. Stress can help us focus, and keep us motivated. It’s when we lose the feeling of ‘this is stressful and we can do this!’ and it turns into ‘this is too stressful, and I can’t do this anymore’ and it transforms into overwhelming—that's when it becomes a concern. Stress, in many forms, will always be a part of our lives; the key is to practice keeping it manageable.”

Dean Marin sees this new position as a crucial step in UNB Law’s vision to be a student-centred law school and leader in wellness and mental health. 

“To become competent and fulfilled legal professionals, students must possess the ability to effectively cope with adversity and cultivate habits that promote both mental and physical wellbeing. We are investing in our students. It is important that they feel supported and have resources available right in the building,” he said.

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