Board of Directors

Dr. Gary Wilson

Dr. Gary Wilson, President

Gary N. Wilson, PhD
Associate Professor, Political Science
University of Northern British Columbia

Gary N. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia. He is also the Coordinator of the Northern Studies program at UNBC. Gary teaches comparative politics, including courses in comparative northern development, and politics and governance in the circumpolar north. His research focuses on Inuit multilevel governance and regional politics in northern Russia and Canada. Gary has been involved in ACUNS as the representative for UNBC since 2007, and was elected to the Board in 2009.

Dr. Hugo Asselin

Dr. Hugo Asselin, Director

Hugo Asselin, PhD

Professor, Humanities and Social Development & Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Forestry
École d’études autochtones
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Hugo Asselin holds a BSc in biology, a MSc in forest ecology, and a PhD in palaeoecology. Now a professor at Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, he holds the Canada research chair in aboriginal forestry. His research themes are ecology and palaeoecology of the boreal forest and forest tundra, as well as social and aboriginal forestry. When he was a PhD student at Université Laval’s Centre d’études nordiques, Hugo was part of the organizing committee of the 6th ACUNS National student conference on northern studies (2000). Hugo has served on the ACUNS Board of Directors since 2007.


Dr. Audrey Giles, Secretary-Treasurer

Audrey Giles, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Human Kinetics
University of Ottawa

Audrey Giles is an applied cultural anthropologist who is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. She first started going to the Arctic and sub-Arctic for summer jobs during her undergraduate years at Queen’s University. While there, she became increasingly interested in the intersections of physical practices (i.e., sport, recreation, leisure), gender, and Aboriginal cultures. She then went to the University of Alberta for graduate school, during which time she conducted her research in the Deh Cho region of the NWT. After completing her doctorate in 2005, she accepted a position at the University of Ottawa, where she and her fantastic graduate students conduct research with Aboriginal communities in northern Alberta, the NWT, and Nunavut. Audrey has been heavily involved in promoting northern studies and particularly issues that pertain to equity within the discipline. She has served on the Canadian Northern Studies Trust committee for five years, has been the University of Ottawa’s representative to ACUNS for four years, has facilitated the Northern Scientific Training Program process at the University of Ottawa for four years and was the Co-Chair of the 2003 ACUNS International Student Conference.



Dr. Ken Caine, Director

Ken Caine, PhD
Assistant Professor, Environmental Sociology
University of Alberta

Ken Caine is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta. As an environmental sociologist he explores social practices, power dynamics, and institutional change in the context of environmental governance and natural resource management in the western Arctic of the Canadian North and in other circumpolar regions. Ken has professional experience as an extension forester with the Government of the Northwest Territories and as a natural resource extension specialist with a research and extension cooperative in Northern British Columbia. He is currently a member of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute’s Northern Advisory Committee, and was past Chair of the Institute’s Grant Adjudication Committee.

Karla Jessen Williamson

Dr. Karla Jessen Williamson, Director

Karla Jessen Williamson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations, College of Education
University of Saskatchewan

Karla Jessen Williamson, is Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations University of Saskatchewan. She is a kalaaleq – an Inuk born and grown in Greenland. She received her primary education in Greenland, and attained her high school education in Denmark. Since moving to Canada, Karla undertook Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in her third language (English) through the University of Saskatchewan. Her Master’s thesis dealt with Inuit child-rearing practices as these relate to Inuit relationship to the land in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Her Doctoral studies at University of Aberdeen in Scotland involved studying gender relations in post-colonial Greenland Inuit community. The study undertaken is from an egalitarian point-of-view, offering insight on how Inuit organized their knowledge as it relates to Inuit construction of gender. Since then has published a book titled Inherit my Heaven (2011), number of articles and book chapters, and she has edited the Journal of Indigenous Studies. She has actively adjudicated in the review committees for all three national granting councils, applying her extensive knowledge on research and processes as they involve Inuit and other Aboriginal peoples in Canada and elsewhere. Karla was Executive Director of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary, as the first female Executive Director since its inception in 1945. Karla teaches on matters dealing with Canada’s multiculturalism, antiracism and paradigm shifts and epistemologies, resilience, foods and sovereignty as these relate to Aboriginal education. She chairs the University of Saskatchewan’s Northern Studies Training program, and initiated Beadwork Group that looks for ways to further Aboriginal education. She is also a published poet both in kalaallisut and in English.

Dr. Kevin Turner

Dr. Kevin Turner, Director

Kevin Turner PhD
Assistant Professor, Geography
Brock University

During Kevin’s PhD studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, he was the first student to join the ACUNS Board of Directors.  Kevin is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Brock University.  His research focuses on assessing drivers of spatial and temporal variability in northern lakes.  His research approaches integrate use of water isotope tracers, remote sensing and spatial analysis.  Kevin’s involvement with ACUNS dates back to 2009 when he was a co-chair for the 9th International ACUNS Student Conference on Northern Studies.  He was also selected as a recipient of the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research (PhD).


Dr. Gabrielle Slowey, Director

Gabrielle Slowey, PhD
Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – Department of Political Science Director, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University
Inaugural Fulbright Chair in Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College

Gabrielle Slowey (UofT, UNB, UofA) is the Director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and an associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at York University (Toronto, ON) where she teaches courses in Canadian, Aboriginal and Arctic Politics. Her research investigates the intersection between governance, resource extraction, indigenous development, the environment and the state in multiple regions (Northern Alberta, Northern Quebec, Yukon, NWT, Ontario, the United States, Australia and New Zealand). Her current research concentrates on pressures to develop shale gas reserves and investigates the variation in response by local communities. She is the author of Navigating Neoliberalism: Self-Determination and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (UBC Press, 2008) and numerous book chapters.


Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, Director

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, PhD
Carleton University

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox earned a BA in Political Science at the University of Alberta and completed her MA in Political Science at the University of Alberta. She has since worked for Indigenous peoples’ organizations in the NWT on self government and related political development initiatives. She received a PhD from Cambridge University in 2005.

Stephanie holds appointments as Adjunct Research Professor with the University of Carleton School of Public Policy and Administration and with the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, and Research Associate at the Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland.  She is author of the critically acclaimed Finding Dahshaa: Self-Government Social Suffering and Aboriginal Policy in Canada (UBC, 2009).

Currently, she is Implementation Director overseeing the technical team establishing the self government Treaty-based Deline Got’ine Government.  She also works with NWT Indigenous governments as a governance advisor and negotiator, and is Scientific Director overseeing the establishment of a CIHR-funded NWT health research support unit. She is also Project Director for a major research grant application on Treaty Implementation with the Land Claim Agreements Coalition. She lives in Yellowknife with her husband and two sons.