Our staff and faculty have a wide range of education, training and life experiences. They are passionate about the mission of the university and care deeply for our students and each other. Click on their pics below for more information about their backgrounds and personal passions.


Margaret Anne Smith: President

B.A. (StFX); M.A., Ph.D. (QUEENS)

Margaret Anne values the connectedness and relaxed pace of community life in southern NB, and the chance to teach, write, and lead a small academic community where students, faculty, staff, and neighbours form relationships and have real conversations about the questions, ideas, and values that shape our lives together.


Matt Balcarras: Associate Dean, Professor of Psychology


Having previously taught a few courses as an adjunct faculty member, Matt joined the faculty of SSU permanently in the fall of 2019. Matt teaches biological, social and cognitive psychology, as well as advanced research methods. His previous research used ECoG and computational modelling to investigate learning and attention in pre-frontal cortex. Currently his focus is shifting to explorations of dysfunctional learning processes in mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Matt would be happy to beat you at ping-pong.

Peter Fitch: Professor of Religious Studies


Peter Fitch didn't know when he started his undergrad at the University of Western Ontario that he would end up teaching at the smallest university in Canada. But, fresh out of graduate school, Pete found himself at St. Stephen's University. Peter is passionate about building healthy leaders that will, in turn, build healthy Christian communities. His main academic focus is the History of Christian Spirituality, though he also teaches other courses in Philosophy, Biblical Studies, and Practical Theology. Peter and his wife Mary Ellen live across the street from the SSU campus. One of Peter's favorite things is sitting at his kitchen counter sharing homemade bread with whoever is visiting.

Lois Mitchell: Director of International Studies

B.P.E. (UNB); M.Sc. (WATERLOO); Ph.D. (UNB)

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.

Walter Thiessen: Academic Dean, Professor of Psychology


Walter Thiessen started his career as a counsellor as a practical expression of his lifelong interest in individual and communal pursuits for wholeness. Walter's Mennonite roots have inspired in him a great passion for issues of peace and social justice as well. Strangely, he thinks these concerns are all related and even have something to do with how we study psychology. Walter is married to Carol Thiessen, who can be found cooking up a storm in the SSU kitchen. Among Walter's favorite things are watching a really good movie or growing things in his garden.

Brad Jersak

Brad Jersak: Dean of Theology & Culture; Core Faculty (IRPJ)

B.R.E., M.A. (Briercrest); M.Div (ACTS/TWU); Ph.D. (Bangor, Wales)

Brad Jersak, a prairie boy from Winnipeg, migrated west to marry Eden. He entered ministry with her Mennonite church, where they developed a heart for peacebuilding and restorative justice. That passion led to planting a faith community for people living with disabilities, addictions and economic disadvantages. A decade later, Brad pursued Ph.D. studies in political theology at Bangor University (Wales). After grad, he found himself editing a magazine, preaching in an Orthodox monastery and teaching in the UK, where he first met Peter Fitch and Walter Thiessen.

Rachael Barham: Europe Program Leader & Lecturer (French)

B.A. (EXETER); B.Min. (SSU); M.A. (EXETER); M.Min. (SSU)

Rachael has been lecturing at SSU since she moved here from the UK with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Amelie, in 2008. She loves learning and teaching about languages and cultures, and offers related courses at SSU including French and TESL, as well as courses in the Europe program. Rachael very much enjoys being part of the SSU community and expressing some of her other passions through her involvement here: her love of travel as a Europe Program leader and logistics coordinator; her love of Ignatian spirituality through offering spiritual direction to students; and her love of food by finding any excuse to work tasty treats into her work as a lecturer and executive assistant!

Katie Gorrie: Librarian, Lecturer (English)


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.

Andrew is Director of the Institute of Religion Peace and Justice

Andrew Klager: Director of the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice

B.A. (COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE), M.A. (McMASTER), Ph.D. (U of GLASGOW), Post-Doc Research Fellowship (U of VICTORIA)

Andrew Klager holds a PhD in Religious Studies and History from the University of Glasgow and has completed continuing studies in Interfaith Conflict Resolution and Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace. He teaches at a number of universities and colleges across Canada, has given public lectures and made presentations at conferences and interfaith dialogues throughout North America, is widely published in a number of academic journals and popular media, and has published a book on Mennonite peacebuilding entitled, ‘From Suffering to Solidarity.' Andrew is married, with four wonderful children, and is passionate about peace and justice . . . and the Red Sox.

David Moore; Adjunct Professor of History

David Moore; Adjunct Professor of History

B.A. (UCSB); M.Min (SSU); Th.D. (UNISA)

Bob Larmer; Adjunct Professor of Psychology

Bob Larmer; Adjunct Professor of Psychology

B.A. (Carleton); M.A., Ph.D. (Ottawa)

Hannah Bernard; Adjunct Professor of English

Hannah Bernard; Adjunct Professor of English

B.A., M.A. (SSU)

Leland Maerz; Adjunct Professor of Philosophy

Leland Maerz; Adjunct Professor of Philosophy

B.A., B.Min., M.Min. (SSU); M.Ed. (Acadia)

Laurens M. Van Esch

Laurens M. Van Esch

B.A., M.A., M.A., Ph.D.(ABD - UTRECHT) International Studies, Philosophy

Emeritus Faculty

Professor Emeritus of History, St. Stephens University

Gregg Finley: Professor Emeritus of History

B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (UNB)

Gregg Finley's research and writing explores themes in Canadian history, church architecture and the relationship between Christianity and culture. Ask anyone and you will get the same answer, Gregg LOVES history; in particular, he is passionate about the history of Celtic Christianity. Before he joined the SSU family, Gregg taught at some of our neighbouring universities in New Brunswick, as well as holding positions as executive director of King’s Landing Historical Settlement and chief curator of the New Brunswick Museum.

Professor of English, St. Stephens University

Agnes Kramer-Hamstra: Professor Emeritus of English

B.A. (UWO); B.Ed. (UWO); M.A. (McMASTER); Ph.D. (McMASTER) English

Agnes Kramer-Hamstra only recently decided that she wanted to be a professor of literature "when she grew up". Drawn in by the power of story, Agnes pursued that passion all the way to the Ph.D level. Prior to her studies Agnes helped raise a few children, loving the excuse to read new and old children’s stories and songs (Fraggle Rock, Nick Parks’ Wallace and Grommit). To help put food on the table, she worked in a public library (all those books!). Agnes and her husband Andy live in St. Stephen. One of Agnes's favorite things is scouting out lakes and rivers good for canoeing and swimming. She is learning to catch (and clean) fish. Agnes retired from full time teaching in December, 2019.


Amanda DeGruchy: Facilities Coordinator

Amanda has jumped into her new role as facilities coordinator and is re-shaping our physical spaces! She also loves food and cooking, and has brought new exciting flavours to the SSU meal plan! When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her three cool kids & spending time out in the woods. (She also does an AMAZING Andy Warhol impression!)

Donna Dunsmore: Student Support

Certified Professional Coach, ELI-MP (iPEC); B.Ed. (UM)

Deanna Harris: Admissions Coordinator

B.A. (SSU)

Sarah Henderson: Front Office Reception, Development Officer & Academic Mentor


After graduating from SSU in 2011, Sarah and her husband Alex lived in Winnipeg for several years. Little did they know that a job opportunity for Alex would land them both back in St. Stephen in 2015. Two years, one home purchase, and a daughter later, Sarah has begun working back at SSU. You can find her in the front office welcoming guests, editing students' papers, and writing grant applications. In her spare time Sarah enjoys gardening, reading, dancing, and playing board games with friends.

Kathy Hull: Financial Aid Officer


Kathy Hull first got connected with SSU when she met her husband (2001 Alumni Geordie Hull) during his senior year at SSU. Little did she know that a couple kids later, and with some twists and turns, life's path would bring her to work here in the finance office. In her spare time outside of SSU, Kathy can be found restoring Todd Mansion back to life or camping and spending time outdoors with her family.

Lorna Jones: Financial Officer, Spiritual Director

B.A. (GORDON COLLEGE); M.R.E. (ACADIA); Spiritual Direction (AASEA)

Lorna Jones has been a vital part of the SSU family for many years. She came to St. Stephen in 1991 and fell so in love with the SSU community that she has never looked back! She brings many talents to our community—spiritual direction, teaching, and book-keeping, to name only a few! Lorna is known for her calm demeanor, bringing peace to all who are near. Lorna loves taking beautiful photos of her natural surroundings, as well as taking the Kadatz kids out for ice cream!

Debbie MacDonald: Associate Registrar

B.A. (SSU)

When Debbie MacDonald graduated from SSU in 2002, she asked God to show her in writing what to do next, and soon thereafter received a letter inviting her to work for SSU. From receptionist to administrative assistant, recruiting and admissions, Debbie has made her mark here in many roles, and is now guiding students along their academic paths as our Associate Registrar. Debbie’s bright and loving personality are an indispensable gift to this community, and you would be hard pressed to find a laugh more contagious than hers . One of Debbie’s favourite things is a piping hot vanilla latté.

Jacob Rose: Marketing & Communications

D.B.A. (SAIT); B.A. (SSU)

Carol Thiessen: Food Services Coordinator

Carol Thiessen is responsible for SSU's amazing home-cooked meals. She makes delicious homemade bread, soups and pies. Carol believes that meals at SSU should represent a balance between healthy, well-balanced food and sustainable, economical buying practices. Carol loves providing a place where students have the opportunity to learn basic cooking skills while singing music at the top of their lungs and banging pots and pans. Carol is a bit of a competitive person; she was once bet that she couldn't make a pie in 15 minutes. She finished it in 11 (complete with little cut-out pastry hearts). Carol and Walter host periodic movie nights at their house which is a short walk from campus. One of Carol's favourite things is playing speed scrabble with students in between meal prep.



ALAN M. SEARS, B.Ed., M.Ed. (UNB); Ph.D. (UBC) International Studies

JOEL MASON, B.A. (SSU); M.A. (TWU) Interdisciplinary


ROBERT STACKPOLE, B.A. (WILLIAMS); M.A. (OXFORD); D.Th (ANGELICUM) Catholic Studies / Religious Studies

LINDSAY McKAY, B.A. (SSU); M.A. (YORK) English

RICK COATES, B.Eng. (TUNS), M.Min (SSU) Statistics


LAURENS M. VAN ESCH, B.A., M.A., M.A., Ph.D.(ABD – UTRECHT) International Studies, Philosophy

JAMES MURRAY, BA (UNB), MA (UNB), PhD (Pittsburgh) Greek

DAVE GORRIE, BA (SSU); MEd (U of Saskatchewan); R. Psych Psychology

Board of Governors

  • Alex Henderson
  • Sheila Brooks
  • David Edwards
  • Sharon Mason
  • Wendy Gritter
  • Karen Petersen
  • Joy Benson Green
  • Catherine Renneberg
  • Judith Moses
  • Carol MacDonald