Office of the Dean | College of Arts

Office of the Dean

Welcome to the College of Arts, a lively and vibrant community of world class teachers and researchers committed to excellence in graduate and undergraduate education. The College of Arts is a diverse place, home to the Performing and Fine Arts and the Humanities, including Modern and Ancient Languages, English, Theatre, History, European Studies, Music, Visual Arts, Philosophy. We’re also home to the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BAS) Program, as well as other interdisciplinary programs which connect these various fields.

The College of Arts is at the heart of the University of Guelph. A third of all undergraduate students at the University of Guelph are in the BA program. From the first year BA to the final year of the PhD, the College of Arts offers a wide range of opportunities for excellent training in the fundamental knowledge skills needed for the world beyond the university. We also offer an array of courses of interest to students in the sciences, the social sciences, and beyond.

Students in our College learn the core skills that are essential to an education in the liberal arts: analytical thinking and critical engagement, compassion and collaborative thinking, historical and conceptual contextualization, inspired and compelling communication, and creativity and imagination. We also learn about the concepts and the arguments that make our world the place it is today. This isn’t just about appreciating old ideas. University level study in the arts and humanities is also about justice and  social change, and about making the world a better place in the future. Facts alone rarely move or persuade people to action. They’re necessary, but without stories, ideas, drama, and music, they’re not enough. This is just one of the many ways in which the Fine and the Performing Arts and the Humanities are central to the University of Guelph’s vision to improve life.

The College of Arts is also committed to the education of global citizens, working locally, nationally, and internationally to improve the world. You will need the skills and the knowledge we offer as you step into your future to become true citizens of your local and global communities. We offer curiosity-driven learning, knowledge applied to practical problems, knowledge transfer, and the use of new digital tools as part of our shared experience in the College of Arts.

Our award-winning scholars, researchers, and artists, recognized by honours and awards for the quality of their teaching and research, are ready to share their experience with you and the excitement that accompanies learning on the leading edge of discovery. We invite you to join us in this endeavour.

Samantha Brennan, Dean, College of Arts


About the Dean

Dean samantha Brennan


Samantha Brennan (PhD Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993) began her term as Dean of the College of Arts in January, 2018.

As a feminist philosopher and ethicist, Brennan’s research spans a wide range of areas in contemporary theoretical and applied ethics, including rights; moral issues within families, such as children's rights, parental obligations, and family justice; feminist ethics; and the moral and political value of equality. Her ongoing research interests also include gender identity and sexuality, workplace ethics, and the moral significance of human mortality.

Brennan is a co-founder and co-editor of Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, a peer reviewed, online, SSHRC funded, open access journal.  She is also Past President of the Canadian Philosophical Association, Brennan also has a long-standing commitment to public engagement, maintaining an extremely active presence on social media across a wide range of platforms. Brennan co-founded the Fit is a Feminist Issue blog, which connects thousands of readers with feminist ideas about fitness.

Brennan came to Guelph from Western University, where she served for eight years as Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Brennan was also a  Professor of Women's Studies and Feminist Research, a  member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Political Science and at the undergraduate level taught in Western’s School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities and their Digital Humanities program.  Brennan has held visiting fellowships at The Australian National University, the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics.

Born in England, Brennan grew up in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. She completed an Honours BA at Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College.