New Dean of FCAT aims to prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion within the faculty

Carman Neustaedter hopes to create a student council to improve student experience

Photo courtesy of SFU News

Written by: Jaymee Salisi, News Writer

Carman Neustaedter has been named Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology (FCAT). Previously a professor and director for the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), Neustaedter started the position on December 1, 2020.

In an interview with The Peak, Neustaedter explained that this new role has a broader scope in comparison to his previous position as director of SIAT as he is “now responsible for five schools and programs that are within FCAT.” As a result, he said this has expanded his level of thinking in regard to how the school operates. 

Neustaedter emphasized his goals of prioritizing equity, diversity, and inclusion within the faculty. He said that his experience on the university’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Council provided him with a broader perspective in how he now sees the world, expressing his view that “[SFU] is behind” in efforts of reconciliation and decolonization.

He hopes to prioritize these endeavors by “addressing Indigenous student recruitment and retention, decolonization of the curriculum within all of [the faculty’s] programs, adaptation and reworkings of structures and policies within units, and much more.” 

Additionally, Neustaedter stated that he will continue to “work in FCAT on complex topics related to [equity, diversity, and inclusion] such as anti-racism.” He added that he aims to “make all students feel safe, comfortable, and accepted at SFU as their true selves.”

Currently in the process of creating a Dean’s Student Advisory Council, Neustaedter plans to consult students directly about how the student experience could be improved. 

“One of the most important things to me has always been the student experience and connecting with the students,” he said.

With a background in the field of human-computer interaction, telepresence, and family communication technology, Neustaedter studies social culture, user behaviours, group collaboration, and ubiquitous and mobile technology design. His work spans computer science, social psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. 

Neustaedter began working at SFU as an assistant professor in 2010. When he became a faculty member, he took on leadership roles within human-computer interaction. His involvement within the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) led him to become the SIAT director — and now the Dean of FCAT.

He welcomes students within the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology who may be interested in being on the Council to email him directly at carman@sfu.ca.