College of Arts to Welcome Feminist Musicologist Dr. Kimberly Francis as Director of the School of Fine Art and Music | College of Arts

College of Arts to Welcome Feminist Musicologist Dr. Kimberly Francis as Director of the School of Fine Art and Music

Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

Dr. Kimberly Francis, Music professor and director of Interdisciplinary Programs, College of Arts, University of Guelph

The College of Arts at the University of Guelph is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kimberly Francis for a five-year term as Director, School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) beginning July 1, 2024. 

Dr. Francis received her PhD in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been a Music faculty at the College of Arts since 2010, where she has become an experienced academic, educator, and musician. Dr. Francis is a feminist musicologist whose research focuses on the intersections between gender and cultural engagement with an eye toward championing equitable and inclusive practices in the field of musicology. She has been quoted in the New York Times and her research has been featured internationally, including reviews in Gramophone Magazine and by Craig Norris on CBC Radio's The Morning Edition

She has most recently served as the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs for the College for three years. She has also served as the Acting Associate Dean Academic, the Acting Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies, and an affiliate of the Sexualities, Genders, and Social Change program.  

As the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs, she led the creation of five new programs including the Culture and Technology Studies co-op program; the Sexualities, Genders and Social Change Undergraduate Major; a graduate Collaborative Specialization in Sexualities, Genders, and Bodies; a Minor in Black Canadian Studies, and the first program of its kind in Canada, the Bachelor of Creative Arts, Health and Wellness, which will see its first intake of students in Fall 2024. 

When asked about stepping into the role of School of Fine Art and Music Director, Dr. Francis spoke to the impact of the Arts by saying, “the fine and performing arts are my heart and first love, despite all my curricular work outside of SOFAM, this place keeps calling to me. I have done so much work learning how the University functions as a whole. Now, I want to be a champion for things that are vital and practical: fine art and music. Especially after Covid, we need the arts to heal and face scary things with hearts wide open.” 

As an educator, Dr. Francis takes a personalized approach to teaching to allow her students to develop in ways that are unique to them. “We foster who you are as an artist and focus on how we can make you the best artist you can be,” she explains when describing the learning environment. “I try to get to know [students] and I try to make them, from day one, understand that [being an artist] is something you can do if you commit to it. I try to hold them accountable in a way where they can still achieve and continually challenge themselves. I think that’s the greatest gift you can give as a teacher. My commitment as an administrator is really to create the conditions where these kinds of classes can happen,” she notes. 

As the Director 

“There’s an appetite for returning to the arts on the part of the greater community, especially seeing the audiences who are returning to our shows in our brand-new performing arts space. The School of Fine Art and Music has been a big part of the University of Guelph’s cultural calendar, therefore, I’m really excited to come in and champion the things that speak the most to me, that I’ve spent a lifetime dedicated to, people I care deeply about, and students that are such a joy to teach,” Francis shares. 

Dr. Francis will bring a wealth of musicological expertise to her new role, and the College enthusiastically anticipates the many contributions she will make to SOFAM in this capacity.