Vice-President’s Advisory Council

Lesley Balcom

Dean of Libraries

Lesley Balcom is the Dean of Libraries for the university. Her responsibilities include library resources and collections, services, scholarly technologies and copyright. She holds a BA from Mount Allison University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario. Previously, she was the Director for Learning & Research Services at UNB Libraries, and the Head of Reference. Her areas of academic interest include open access publishing, value of academic libraries, digital literacy, and research data management.

Lesley is currently on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, and Treasurer of the Council of Atlantic University Libraries. She has recently completed two terms as Board Treasurer of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and serves on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee of Coalition Advisory; a CFI-funded partnership to advance research dissemination and digital scholarly publishing in Canada.

Heather Finkle

Director, Financial and Administrative Services

Heather Finkle received her BA from UNB Fredericton, her MBA from Dalhousie and later obtained her CMA (now CPA) designation. She joined the Financial & Administrative Services department in 1998 as the Financial Analyst for the research accounts. She is now the Director of the department and oversees all financial functions, student accounts, and Human Resources. Prior to joining UNB Saint John, she was the accountant for C98 and CFBC.

David Gillespie

Director, Environmental Health, Safety & Security

David Gillespie received his BA from the University of Manitoba; Health and Safety Certification from the University of New Brunswick; and Police Leadership and Specialty training from Dalhousie University, Atlantic Police Academy and Ontario Police College. David joined the Safety & Security Department in 2007 following his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces where he served as a Military Police Officer and Deputy Commander of Security at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow, Russia.

James Kieffer

Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

James received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Ottawa and his Master of Science degree and PhD in biology from Queen’s University. Prior to joining the biology department at UNB in 1996, he was a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University. James has participated on UNB Senate and the Board of Governors, and served as department chair of biology and acting dean of science, applied science and engineering.

He teaches courses to support nursing and biology at UNB since 1996, and maintains an active NSERC research program. His area of research involves the physiology and behaviour of east coast Sturgeon. He has been the recipient of various teaching awards, including the Allan P. Stuart Memorial Award and The UNB Teaching Scholar.

Laurelle LeVert

Associate Vice-President Saint John

Dr. Laurelle LeVert is the Associate Vice President (Saint John) with oversight responsibility for a broad portfolio including Student Services, (residence life, counselling and health services, accessibility, international student support, writing centre and student success); Athletics, Recreation and Wellness; Strategic Enrolment Management, retention and student persistence; Information Services and Systems (IT network, student technology, instructional technology, desktop support), Experiential Education, and participation in UNB SJ’s health agenda as a member of the Tucker Park health cluster.

Prior to joining UNB Saint John in 2012, Dr. LeVert was the Registrar and Director of Student Services at NSCAD University and before to that held a number of student affairs roles at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of King’s College, Halifax, her Masters in Classics at Dalhousie and a Masters of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She did her PhD in Medieval Studies at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto.

Wahkuna Lisik


Wahkuna Lisik is the Registrar at UNB Saint John. She is a graduate of UNB Saint John’s Bachelor of Arts, English program and Humber’s creative writing program. Over twenty years, her roles with UNB Saint John span recruitment, advancement, and the Office of the Registrar. She is a recipient of a UNB Service Award (2003), and a UNB Saint John Honorary Class Graduate (2016).

Heidi MacDonald

Dean of Arts

Heidi MacDonald is the Dean of Arts, and a Professor of History and Politics at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. She received her BA from Mount Saint Vincent University, MA from Saint Mary’s University, and PhD from the University of New. She in an historian of twentieth-century Canada with specializations in Atlantic Canada, the Great Depression, women religious (nuns), suffrage, and youth. She has taught a variety of Canadian history and oral history courses.

Her SSHRC-funded project, Women Religious in Atlantic Canada since 1960, considers the intersection of women religious with feminism and the state in Atlantic Canada. Her publications include the co-authored monograph (with Rosa Bruno-Jofré and Elizabeth Smyth) Vatican II and Beyond: The Changing Mission and Identity of Canadian Women Religious (McGill-Queen’s, 2017), and the forthcoming We Shall Persist: Suffrage and Human Rights in Atlantic Canada (UBC Press).

J. Sheldon MacLeod

Associate Vice-Provost Student Affairs and Services

Sheldon is responsible for the counselling and health centres, residence life, conference services, learner accessibility, international student support, writing centre, financial aid, and student success. He is also an Associate Consultant with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) specializing in strategic enrolment management and student affairs, the Special Initiatives Director with the Council on Articulations and Transfers of New Brunswick (CATNB), a certified leadership coach with the Maxwell Team, and an adjunct lecturer in organizational management at Crandall University, where he formerly served as Assistant Vice-President & Registrar.

Sheldon holds an honours degree in Theology from Master’s College & Seminary and a graduate degree in education and leadership from St. Francis Xavier University. In 2017, he received an honorary doctorate for his work in higher education and religious leadership and in 2019, the AARAO Leadership & Service Award for his work with enrolment and student services in Atlantic Canada.

Michel Rod

Dean of Business

Michel has a life/medical sciences (pharmacology/toxicology) background but became interested in pursuing a commerce degree following his experiences in helping to establish a joint venture in London, England in the early 90s. Michel joined the Sprott School of Business from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand where he was Undergraduate Program Director and Senior Lecturer in the School of Marketing and International Business. While completing his PhD, he was Manager, Intellectual Property Development and Director of the Office of Industry and International Research Relations in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary where he was involved in facilitating technology commercialization.

His PhD work looked at collaboration amongst pharmaceutical industry, government and university partners in the health sector and he was the recipient of a multi-year doctoral fellowship from the Institute of Health Economics in Edmonton. Michel maintains a research interest in the ‘triple helix’ of academic-industry-government interaction. Additional interests include the application of discourse analysis to the study of business-to-business inter-organizational relationships, the role of cultural intermediaries in the globalization of wine consumption – especially in Asia, policy issues related to commercializing university-derived intellectual property, the impact of effectual thinking/decision-making in establishing entrepreneurial ventures, as well as the antecedents and outcomes of front line service worker burnout.

He has over 100 peer-reviewed articles in business (marketing, management, policy) and medical journals and conference proceedings. As a keen advocate of multi/interdisciplinary research, Michel has worked with researchers and co-supervised students in Industrial Design, Architecture, and Food Sciences.

Kevin Simpson

Director, Facilities Management

Kevin Simpson received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from UNB in 2006 and continued on with his education, receiving his Masters in Business Administration from UNB in 2008. Kevin began his career at UNB in the fall of 2012, taking on the role: Director of Facilities Management. Kevin began his working career in the private sector, working for JD Irving for six years. At Irving, he worked as a project engineer on the engineering team and then moved over to maintenance, working as a mechanical maintenance supervisor. Kevin also holds a Six Sigma Green Belt in process improvement.

At UNB, Kevin is responsible for overseeing all maintenance on campus, project management, utilities, snow removal, maintenance of grounds, cleaning, and mailroom services. Kevin also serves as the Vice-President of Professional Development for AAPPA (Atlantic Chapter of APPA (Leadership in Educational Facilities)) along with being named the professional development liaison for ERAPPA to APPA. Kevin takes great pride in the work he and his team do at UNB to ensure that students, faculty, and staff have adequate facilities that enables them to be their best.

Michael Van Zyll de Jong

Dean of Science, Applied Science & Engineering

Mike received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Toronto and his Master of Science degree and PhD in fisheries from Hull International Fisheries Institute at the University of Hull in the UK. Prior to joining the UNB in 2017, he was an associate professor of applied ecology and served as director of the Environmental Policy Institute in the School of Science and Environment at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Mike is an applied ecologist that collaborates across disciplines to develop, synthesize, and communicate robust, relevant science that can inform inland fisheries management and policy development. His areas of concentration are in recreational fisheries assessment; river restoration and forestry impacts; policy development and decision making.