Meet Dean of Arts intern Branden Olsen (’17)
9/13/2016 11:01:24 AM
Deans’ office offers new opportunity in experiential learning

Dean_of_Arts_internThere is a new face in Centennial Hall this year. Fourth-year Music student Branden Olsen is the first Dean of Arts intern, working with Dr. Elizabeth Wells this past summer and upcoming academic year.

Supported by the Campbell-Verduyn Fund, the new student position in the Dean’s office is the first of its kind at Mount Allison and one of the first in Canada. Olsen will be working with Wells on research and arts-related events throughout the year.

“I was interested in pursuing studies around academic administration, in addition to my Music degree,” says Olsen, a fourth-year voice student from Quispamsis, NB. 

“Dr. Wells and I discussed different opportunities and came up with the idea of an internship. It’s my first ‘admin’ type job that isn’t completely focused on Music and I am learning so much in this role.”

Olsen will be assisting Wells with a number of Arts-related events and initiatives on campus, giving him valuable experiential learning opportunities.

“Working with Branden in my new position as Dean has been a great experience,” says Wells. “I look forward to continuing our research on the fourth-year experience, his work on academic administration, and upcoming events and activities.”
Olsen_Dean_of_Arts_internUpcoming activities include building a Dean of Arts social media presence and organizing a Dean’s Summit, which will welcome academics and students from around the region to campus. He will also be organizing the newly-formed Students’ Council for the Dean of Arts, which will see student representatives from a variety of departments.

“The Students’ Council will mirror our established faculty group of department heads, giving us another important perspective first-hand in our Arts students,” says Wells. “Working with Branden has enabled me to take on these kinds of projects and hear directly from more students in this new role.”

Wells and Olsen will also be organizing events in the University and wider-community, including a Rotary talk and potential involvement in regional and national teaching conferences. Wells is a national 3M Teaching Fellow and this year established the International Federation of National Teaching Fellows, connecting teaching fellows from around the world.

Along with working in the Dean’s office, Olsen performed in the Halifax Summer Opera Festival this year, with fellow Mount Allison Music students D’Arcy Blunston (’16) and Dominic Williams (’17).

Olsen is also heavily involved in the community, as a board member for the Sackville Early Music Festival, President of the Mount Allison Music Student Society, as choir director for St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, and also teaches voice and piano.

You can reach Olsen at:

Photo captions: Branden Olsen with Dean of Arts Elizabeth Wells in her office.
Olsen performing at this year’s Halifax Summer Opera Festival.