Office of the Dean

About the Office of the Dean


David Bird, Associate Dean Research

David completed his PhD in 2004 in the area of Plant Molecular Biology. He completed two Post-doctoral fellowships, one at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of Dr. Larry Fowke and a second under the supervision of Dr. Lacey Samuels at the University of British Columbia. He claims to be dismally undertrained to be an Associate Dean, but through hard effort and careful study of his peers, David strives to maintain an acceptable level of competence and aspires to approaching proficiency. 




chelsey-schafer.jpgChelsey Schafer, Academic Advisor

Chelsey is an alumna of Mount Royal University, graduating from the Bachelor of Arts program in 2016, and has been on campus in various capacities since 2010. Beginning her work in university administration and academic advising in 2014, Chelsey strives to break down barriers and debunk postsecondary life for her students, with a strong focus on creating academic plans that work for them, no matter where they are at in their academic journey. Chelsey views her interactions on campus as opportunities to grow and strongly believes in the pursuit of lifelong learning.  




carla-slavik-1.jpgCarla Slavik, Faculty Governance Coordinator

Carla came to Mount Royal a decade ago after spending numerous years in the Corporate Banking world, as well as time away from the workforce to raise her family. Since coming to Mount Royal Carla has had extensive experience in various departments in Science and Technology. Carla joined the Dean’s office in 2015 and is enjoying her role as the Faculty Governance Coordinator in Science and Technology, supporting the Dean, department Administrative Assistants, faculty and students.

Phone: 403.440.8771
Fax: 403.440.6788


Jessica-Carswell-headshot.pngJessica Carswell, Faculty Finance Officer

Jessica is excited to join the Mount Royal community. Jessica is an accountant who has worked for more years than she wishes to admit, in industry, health care, and not-for-profit/charitable organizations. Jessica also has a science degree and technology background and is excited to support faculty, staff and students in the Faculty of Science and Technology. As the proud mother of an assistant professor, Jessica admires the dedication, passion and commitment shown by those who choose a career in academia.

Phone: 403.440.5940
Fax: 403.440.6788


Ciara-cropped.pngCiara Spaan, Academic Advisor

Ciara is an alumna of Mount Royal University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts - Sociology in 2020. Ciara has been a fierce advocate for Mount Royal students, volunteering in multiple capacities since 2015, and is consistently striving to make post-secondary academics accessible and engaging. Post graduation, Ciara was able to quickly maneuver the private and public sectors of post-secondary education before returning. She looks forward to utilizing her experience in timetabling, curriculum development, program consultation, and student advocacy to create a thriving environment for all students, staff, and faculties. Ciara continues to build relationships both internally and externally to make sure that all students have the extraordinary experience she had. 




Melanie Rathburn, Associate Dean, Academic

After completing biology degrees at Trent University (BSc), University of Georgia (MSc) and Queen’s University (PhD), Melanie began teaching in 2005 and then moved to Calgary in 2009 to start at MRU. Melanie loves travelling, especially if it includes scuba diving, and she shares these experiences with students in her biology and general science classes. Melanie is actively engaged in field research with interests in biodiversity, animal behaviour and ecology. She also has research expertise in the scholarship of teaching and learning with a particular focus on the development of intercultural competence, the role of service learning, and understanding how students develop critical reading skills. As the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Melanie’s role is to work with various departments to support program and curriculum development, and help advance other Faculty-wide academic initiatives.


Jonathan Withey, Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology

Jonathan holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chemistry from the University of Oxford. He has been Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology since January 2017. Jonathan is responsible for the overall administration of the Faculty, in collaboration with an excellent leadership team and wonderful colleagues. His primary objective is to advance the interests of the Faculty by creating an environment where all students and employees can thrive.