Senior Advisory Committee

Dann Downes

Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts

Dann Downes is the Acting Dean of Arts, and a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. He received his BA from the University of Ottawa, MA from Carleton and PhD from McGill University in Communication. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Law at McGill and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He teaches courses in media theory, popular music, intellectual property and media ecology.

Dr. Downes has published articles on copyright and transproperty, the new media economy and the role of media in the construction of community and personal identity. His research interests include D.I.Y. culture and handmade electronic musical technology and the role of intellectual property in the regulation of cultural industries and popular culture.

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) where she has oversight responsibility for a variety of areas including Student Services, (residence life, counselling and health services, accessibility, international student support, writing centre and academic coaching); 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).

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 6 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 there 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.