President, Chief Academic Officer, Professor of Literature

Dr. Margaret Anne Smith joined the SSU leadership team at SSU in 2020, and transitioned to the presidential role a few months later. A BA from St Francis Xavier University (home of the cooperative movement) developed her love for community and justice, and ignited her passion for education. 

Director of Operations and Communications, Professor of Psychology

Dr. Matt Balcarras first came to SSU in 2002 as a student, and returned in 2019 as a faculty member and Dean of Arts. In his new role as Director of Operations and Communications he is responsible for Finances, HR, Marketing, Recruiting, Admissions, Facilities, Communications, and Kitchen Staff. A computational neuroscientist, Matt is excited to continue teaching biological psychology and to return to active research.

Dean of Theology & Culture, Professor of Religious Studies

Brad Jersak, a prairie boy, migrated west to marry Eden (1986). Brad served as a pastor and church planter for twenty years, where he developed a heart for restorative justice for people with disabilities, addictions and economic disadvantages. In 2009, Brad began Ph.D. studies in political theology at Bangor University (Wales). After graduating, he was invited to teach at Westminster Theological Centre (UK), then at SSU and IRPJ, eventually becoming Dean of the Theology & Culture program.

Faculty Blog

September 23, 2020

Fireside Chat – Dr. Margaret Anne Smith

June 6, 2020

Education Grounded in Community Engagement

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Professor of Psychology

Walter has combined a long tenure of teaching and administration at SSU with a local counselling practice and involvement at St. Croix Church. Lately his main research interests are studying compassionate, contemplative healing and developing a new model of spiritual maturing. Among his favourite activities are gardening, reading and encouraging students to watch and discuss good films. He also loves to cook with, and eat with, his wife, Carol.

Director of International Studies, Professor

Lois Mitchell has been involved with SSU for a number of years now. She brings a wealth of experience to her role, having taught sociology at Memorial and UNB, and, more recently, courses on global issues and citizenship at Crandall University. Lois has travelled extensively and is involved with the Canadian Baptist Ministries as well as the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. In the classroom (and out), Lois challenges students to think deeply about faith and justice, sustainability, globalization and cross-cultural engagement. She and her husband Dale live on Deer Island.

Professor of Religious Studies

Peter Fitch began teaching at SSU in 1979, three and a half years after the university opened its doors. From 1995 until 2019 he served as the Dean of Ministry Studies, SSU’s graduate program in Theology. His main academic focus has been the History of Christian Spirituality, though he has also taught courses in Philosophy, Biblical Studies, and Practical Theology.

Lecturer, Librarian, Student Accessibility

Katie works in SSU’s small but mighty library and teaches creative writing. She did her BA at SSU and her MFA at UBC. She runs a little print journal called The Filid Chapbook, which often gets to feature amazingly talented SSU alumni. Katie lives in St. Stephen with her son, and loves spending her life in a place where trees outnumber humans so dramatically.

Lecturer, Europe Program Leader

Rachael has been lecturing at SSU since she moved here from England with her family in 2008. She loves learning and teaching about language, culture, and religion, and offers courses related to these areas of interest at SSU – including French, TESL, the weekly School of Contemplation, and courses on the Europe travel study program, for which she is a program leader and logistics coordinator.

Adjunct Faculty

David graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). He was appointed to a church in Santa Barbara. After 10 years with this church, David was invited by Foursquare to take the leadership of one of their churches. He continues to serve both churches. His Master’s degree is from St. Stephen’s University and his doctorate in theology from the University of South Africa (UNISA) David and Diane have been married for 42 years and have 5 adult children.

Assistant Professor of History

After studying history and philosophy in Utrecht (the Netherlands), and working with several peace organizations in Europe, the Middle East and on Turtle Island, Laurens moved to St. Stephen in 2019. Laurens loves to reflect on how the study of the past relates to the pursuit of justice in the present, and is particularly interested in the power of story, religion and commemorative practices within emancipatory social movements.

Professor of Religion and Peace Studies, Director of the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice
Andrew is Director of the Institute of Religion Peace and Justice

Andrew Klager holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Glasgow (2011). He has spoken at many conferences and interfaith dialogues and is widely published in journals and books in research fields as diverse as peace and conflict studies, Anabaptist-Mennonite studies, interreligious peacebuilding especially in Egypt, peace theology, history of Christianity, early modern European history, the Church fathers (especially St. Gregory of Nyssa), and Eastern Orthodox theology. His main area of research is on the inner transformation of a peacemaker.

Adjunct Faculty

No biography available.

Adjunct Faculty, Director of Program Development & Innovation

Hannah has been running the halls of SSU since she was five years old! She completed a B.A. in Literature and History, Honours First Class, in 2000 at SSU, and then returned to earn a M.A.I.S. in Literature, Psychology and History in 2005. Currently, Hannah is beginning a new role at SSU as the Director of Program Development and Innovation.

Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Robert Larmer is Chair of the Philosophy Department of the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, having been a member of the department since 1986. He has taught many different areas of philosophy, but his primary research interests are in philosophy of religion.

Adjunct Faculty

While Cara calls St. Stephen her hometown, she has explored opportunities of work and study throughout Canada from Vancouver to Montreal before finally finding her way back to New Brunswick. Following an ECE Certificate, Cara became a SSU alumnus (BA, 2011) before receiving her MA in Child Studies from Concordia University.

Adjunct Faculty
Nadya in the library

Dr. Nadya Pohran completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, for which she conducted ethnographic research at a Christian ashram (spiritual retreat centre) in North India. Academically, she specialises in Hindu-Christian studies and the Anthropology of Christianity; outside of academia she has performed consultant work for a healthtech start-up.  When not occupied with her research projects, Nadya enjoys gardening, painting, and doing a variety of outdoor activities.

Adjunct Faculty

No biography available.

Adjunct Faculty

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Dave was one of the first six students at SSU. He has a B. Ed and M. Ed from the University of Saskatchewan, and has also studied at Simon Fraser University and Regent College on the UBC campus.

Adjunct Faculty

Rick is an adjunct faculty member who, when he is not teaching statistics, runs a St. Stephen based technology company called Jackets Creative Consulting Inc. In his spare time, Rick likes to make ambient/electronic music. You can check out his music on Soundcloud.

Adjunct Faculty

No biography available.

Adjunct Faculty

No biography available.

Adjunct Faculty

No biography available.


Dean of Students, Adjunct Faculty

Naomi has been the Dean of Students at St. Stephen’s University, since 2020. She came to work at SSU after over 10 years in private practice as a Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a M.Div.Counselling, from Tyndale University, College and Seminary. Naomi enjoys her work with the SSU student body, and brings a mental health focus to her role as chief advocate for student life and well-being.

Student Life Assistant, Facilities Coordinator

Kara graduated from SSU in 2019 with a BA in International Studies and Psychology. She enjoys hearing stories from people’s travels and adventures closer to home. She is passionate about creating spaces where those stories can be told, whether it be through a spontaneous chat or over a homemade meal. If you are ever looking for Kara, she is probably out hiking, working on her photography skills, or sharing coffee with a friend.

Associate Registrar

Once a former SSU graduate, Debbie MacDonald has imprinted herself in a variety of roles at St. Stephen’s University since 2004. Debbie now guides students as the Associate Registrar, finding avenues for students to explore on their academic path.

Admissions Coordinator

Originally from Waterdown, Ontario, Deanna Harris is a 2018 SSU alumna and has worked in the Admissions and Recruiting department since then. She is excited to chat with students about their future plans and to share in their excitement when they arrive at SSU for the first time. Deanna is a rookie gardener, textile artist and loves to read and daydream about her future pets.

Finance Aid Officer

Kathy first started working for St. Sephen’s University in the finance department back in 2013. Most of the time you can find her in her office buried under a pile of sticky notes and mounds of student loan forms. But when the paperwork slows down and SSU needs some extra help with renovations; you can find her happily balancing on a ladder while mudding or painting with her headphones in.

Advancement Officer

Christopher has spent his career in public service inspiring donors and volunteers to give generously of their time, talent and treasures. As a senior fundraising executive with Post Secondary institutions across Canada, he offers a unique understanding of our funding challenges at SSU. Chris currently volunteers his time between three local charities and is an avid student of the game of golf.

Financial Officer

Lorna Jones is one of the few ‘native New Brunswickers’ among the SSU staff, having grown up in Woodstock, another lovely small town with a river flowing alongside! She has always lived in the Maritimes, other than her 4 undergrad years in New England, and settled in St. Stephen in the early 90’s.


Whitney spends her time discussing what St. Stephen’s University has to offer high school students as the recruiter. She has an extensive background in senior sales leadership in telecommunications which serves as her foundation in her role at SSU. Whitney is a competitive aerialist and enjoys spending time with her two senior dogs.

Food Services Coordinator

Carol Thiessen has been cooking up homemade goodness in the kitchen at SSU for nearly twenty years. She deeply values the blending of healthy cooking, thrifty shopping and great taste and loves to pass on those values and skills to students. She is also easily talked into playing a game of euchre or Dutch blitz if she has a free moment. Originally from Winnipeg, Carol has raised her family here in St. Stephen.

Food Services Associate

Jess and her family moved to St. Stephen in the summer of 2020 and they all look forward to what lies ahead. You can find Jess working in SSU’s kitchen with a heart to offer nourishment and care. She has always said that setting a table is one of her favourite things and she is happy to be doing so for students far from home.

Marketing Coordinator

Jacob Rose identifies opportunities to share the story of Canada’s smallest university through media design and the curation of SSU’s online spaces. With marketing experience in the food & beverage, events and arts sectors, Jacob brings a dynamic edge to the university’s team. In addition, Jacob Rose is an accomplished singer-songwriter with 2 albums and is the bassist in a local folk band.

Emeritus Faculty

Professor of English, St. Stephens University

Dr. Agnes Kramer-Hamstra

Professor Emeritus of English Literature

Professor Emeritus of History, St. Stephens University

Dr. Gregg Finley

Professor Emeritus of History

Board of Governors

  • Carol Macdonald (Chair)
  • Alex Henderson
  • Sharon Mason
  • Wendy Gritter
  • Karen Petersen
  • Joy Benson Green
  • Catherine Renneberg
  • Judith Moses
  • Laurens van Esch