Dr. Jane Alcorn (PhD), the new dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, has been at USask since 2001. (Photo: Josh Schaefer)

Jane Alcorn accepts new challenge in USask Pharmacy and Nutrition

With a background in veterinary medicine and pharmaceutical sciences, Dr. Jane Alcorn (PhD) brings a unique combination of education and experience as the new dean of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.

By Kieran Kobitz

A faculty member of the college since 2001 at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), Alcorn officially began her five-year term as dean on July 1, 2019.

“After an extensive and comprehensive search, Dr. Alcorn stood out as the top candidate during the search process,” said Dr. Tony Vannelli (PhD), provost and vice-president academic.

Alcorn saw the opportunity to become dean as a new challenge and a chance to help facilitate ongoing changes to the college’s programs and with faculty and staff development. While Alcorn is neither a pharmacist nor a dietitian, she has worked extensively with both divisions.

“I plan to help create a place where all faculty, staff and students are proud to be a part of and proud to contribute to,” said Alcorn. “It’s important to me to ensure supports and programs are in place to produce high-quality results at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

Alcorn is well-qualified for her new role after serving as associate dean, research and graduate affairs, in the college since 2016. During that time, Alcorn played a key role in helping establish the Cannabinoid Research Initiative of Saskatchewan (CRIS), an interdisciplinary research team exploring the application of cannabinoids and derivatives with humans and animals for health, disease and disorders. CRIS features researchers from across campus, as well as other Canadian and international research institutions.

Alcorn has also worked to enhance the college’s graduate programs to increase student engagement, and to introduce self-assessment of competencies and more rigor to the programs. In 2016, she was awarded the university’s Distinguished Graduate Supervisor Award.

Previous to her time as associate dean, Alcorn served as university veterinarian from 2011 to 2016. That role helped her prepare for her deanship as she developed relationships across the university, as well as learned to become more objective in her decision making.

“I learned how to remove my own bias and opinion from a situation, and make decisions that are best for the institution as a whole,” Alcorn said. “It’s important to let your experience guide you, but not blind you.”

Alcorn serves as a board member for the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and previously was a director with the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences. As part of her new responsibilities as dean, she serves on the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan board, as an observer on the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals council, and will work to increase engagement with the Saskatchewan Dietitians Association and Dietitians of Canada.

Alcorn replaces Dr. Kishor Wasan (PhD), who concluded his five-year term as dean in June.