Academic Leadership Team

Meet our dean, associate deans and directors at the Faculty of Nursing

Dr. Sandra Davidson, PhD

Dr. Sandra Davidson, PhD

Dean, UCalgary Nursing


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Karen Benzies Associate Dean, Research

Dr. Karen Benzies PhD, RN

Associate Dean, Research

Dr. Benzies is a Professor with the Faculty of Nursing, and Adjunct Research Professor with the Department of Pediatrics, at the University of Calgary.  She received a PhD from the University of Alberta and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Stockholm University and the University of Ottawa.  She leads a program of research in early parent and child relationships with a focus on children at risk for developmental delays, including behavior problems. 

Kathryn King-Shier, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs

Dr. Kathryn King-Shier, PhD, FESC, RN

Associate Dean, Graduate Programs

Dr. Kathryn King-Shier is a professor and the Guru Nanak Dev Ji Dil Research Chair, jointly appointed to the Faculty of Nursing and Department of Community Health Sciences at UCalgary, and a Visiting Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast.

She earned a BScN from McMaster University and a Masters and PhD in Nursing from the University of Alberta before undertaking post-doctoral training in the Faculty of Medicine, Division of Cardiology (EPICORE Centre) at the University of Alberta. King-Shier was appointed to the University of Calgary in 1999 and was supported by Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions for 13 years. She has held competitive research funding from bodies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Heart and Stroke and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

She is known for her multi-methods program of research that focuses on the influence of ethnicity and sex/gender on cardiovascular disease symptoms, access to care and prevention activities. As one of Canada’s leading cardiovascular nurse scientists, she has served on the Institute Advisory Board for CIHR’s Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and numerous peer-review committees for CIHR and Heart and Stroke. She currently is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing and the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

Catherine Laing, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs

Dr. Catherine Laing PhD, RN

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs

Dr. Catherine Laing’s program of research is in the field of paediatric oncology. Having an extensive background in clinical, educational, and administrative areas in this field, her doctoral research was a hermeneutic study related to understanding the meaning and effects of children’s cancer camps for the child with cancer and the family.

Dr. Laing’s current research interests lie in understanding the therapeutic value of digital storytelling with pediatric oncology patients, and she is also working on incorporating the methodology of social return on investment in the healthcare setting where questions of social value are present. She is active at the local, national, and international levels of paediatric oncology nursing.

Zahra Shajani, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Practice Education

Zahra Shajani, RN

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Practice Education, Undergraduate Programs

Zahra Shajani is a tenured, senior instructor at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. She is currently the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Practice Education. She has been at the faculty since 2006 starting as a sessional instructor in clinical practice. 

She has a broad range of experiences in family nursing, community health, maternal child health, and medical nursing. She has been a co-investigator on funded projects on nursing education, focused on the science of learning and the science of teaching. 

Shajani has presented at national and international conferences including Canadian Association School of Nursing and National League of Nursing. She has co-authored a chapter in Canadian textbook of community nursing and family nursing book. Her research interests include faculty development, family nursing, maternal and child health, nursing practice simulation learning. Shajani also serves in internal committees within the Faculty of Nursing as well as within the external Aga Khan Institutions. 

Tracey Clancy, Assistant Dean, Faculty Development

Tracey Clancy, RN

Assistant Dean, Faculty Development

Tracey Clancy is a tenured, senior instructor within UCalgary Nursing who took on the new role of assistant dean, faculty development on July 1, 2019. She has been teaching students in clinical practice since 1996 and joined the faculty as a full-time instructor in 2008.

She is an inaugural member of the Teaching Academy at the University of Calgary, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include the scholarship of teaching and learning in nursing and higher education, educational leadership, faculty development, peer mentorship, co-teaching, teaching presence, authentic learning and self-authorship.

Clancy's practice experience is in oncology, hematology, bone marrow and stem cell transplant, in addition to an advanced nursing practice role within the Advanced Vascular Access Service at the Foothills Medical Center. She serves as a parent volunteer with the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Victoria with an interest in exploring what characterizes the self-development of nurse educators, Clancy holds a MN (2008) and a BN (1996) from the University of Calgary, having completed her nursing diploma from the Foothills School of Nursing in 1988.

Sandra Goldsworthy, Associate Dean, Teaching, Learning and Technology

Dr. Sandra Goldsworthy PhD, RN, CNCC(C), CMSN(C), CCSNE

Director, Blended and Online Learning Technology

Sandra Goldsworthy joined the University of Calgary in December 2014 as associate professor. Her track record includes more than 30 years of teaching experience in clinical practice settings and in college, university and interprofessional contexts. She has a reputation as a mentor and team builder and is experienced in online curriculum development and implementation.

Goldsworthy has been recognized by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning as one of 10 inaugural Teaching Scholars. She and her research team are actively leading national and international research initiatives out of the faculty’s Clinical Simulation Learning Centre.

Jacqueline Smith, Director, Mental Health and Wellness, UCalgary Nursing

Dr. Jacqueline Smith PhD, RN

Director, Mental Health and Wellness

Jacqueline Smith has been an assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary since July 2017. She is passionate about education, prevention and early intervention research in the context of adolescent and young adult substance abuse. Her research promotes mental health and wellbeing for all children and families. Jacqueline teaches undergraduate level courses and supervises graduate students with interest in addiction, mental health and narrative inquiry. She is an associate member of the Mathison Centre and the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI). She is currently serving as Vice President of the Canadian Chapter of the International Nurses Society of Addiction. Jacqueline embraces community partnerships and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network and sits on the Advisory Committee for Drug Free Kids Canada.