About Dr. Donna Hardy Cox, Associate Vice-President (Academic) and Dean of Students

Dr. Donna Hardy Cox was appointed associate vice-president (academic) students at Memorial University in November 2018 and started in the role on January 1, 2019. 

In this role, Dr. Hardy Cox provides vision and strategic leadership to the benefit of undergraduate students and academic programming in a number of areas, including student academic outcomes; academic program renewal and innovation; academic policy and procedures and support services for all students.

Her portfolio uses a multi-dimensional lens to understand the student experience in a student-centered way. Dr. Hardy Cox is committed to student-centered service as one of Memorial University’s six aspirations for our culture, “that students are central, and we listen and respond to those we serve.”

Dr. Hardy Cox’s formal education includes a BSW from Memorial University; a MSW from Carleton University; an Ed.D from the University of Maine – she was the second person in Canada to have this doctorate specializing in student services – and a certificate in university management from the University of Manitoba.

She has been a pioneer in the area of student services since her time as an undergraduate student. Dr. Hardy Cox was an active student leader who served as vice president on the student union at Memorial, and later was the director of student development. Here she helped with the creation of the Student Volunteer Bureau and the Glenn Roy Blundon Centre. She is empathetic to students and has continued to include their voice in the advancement of student services throughout her career.

From here she advanced through the ranks of university administration. She has held visiting scholar and honorary research associate positions; was a professional affiliate at the Centre for Higher Education Research and Development, University of Manitoba, and the founding director of its Canadian Institute on Student Affairs and Services. She was a professor and then the first female Memorial social work graduate to be named dean of the School of Social Work.

She also has more than two decades of experience designing and delivering higher education and professional development curriculum in online, distance, and face-to-face classrooms. She was central to the curriculum development and delivery of the first Canadian master of education program in student services and studies.

She was also co-editor of the books Serving Diverse Students in Canadian Higher Education and Achieving Student Success: Effective Student Services in Canadian Higher Education.

In addition to her university career, she has developed and advanced student services education through volunteerism as president of several prestigious organizations including: the national Student Affairs and Services Association, the Atlantic Association of College and University Student Services (AACUSS) and the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS).

Dr. Hardy Cox has been recognized for her leadership with the AACUSS Award for Excellence in Student Services for her leadership and contribution to the field of student affairs, as well as the CACUSS Award of Honour for significant achievement and distinguished contribution to the development and promotion of student services.