Dr. Shannon Dea

Dean of Arts, University of Regina

Shannon Dea’s scholarship spans sex and gender, abortion rights, equity, pedagogy, academic freedom, and the history of ideas. She has a broad range of leadership experience in both community organizations and universities.


The Agenda: Freedom of Expression on Campus

November 30, 2017 panel discussion on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on the topic of freedom of expression on campuses.

Innovate: Creating Accessible Learning Environments

A Council of Ontario Universities video offering tips on creating learning environments and instructional design that is accessible to all learners.

Discover: An Educator's Introduction to the AODA

A Council of Ontario Universities video introducing educators to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and discussing the basics of accessible instruction.

A Short History and Philosophy of the Sexes

A public lecture on the history and philosophy of biological sex. How many sexes are there? It turns out that the question is more puzzling than you might think.

Using Learn Quizzes to Help Scaffold Active, Critical Reading Skills

Looking for a way to get students reading and reflecting on course texts before they come to class so that they're better prepared to participate in class discussions? Shannon Dea uses LEARN's quiz feature to scaffold active, critical reading skills. She'll share examples of this from her second year Philosophy/Women's Studies course.

Rape Culture and Trans People

A 15 minute lecture about rape culture and trans people. The lecture was delivered at the University of Waterloo in September 2016 as part of the Faculty of Arts' Rape Culture Teach-a-Thon.

Canadian Scholars Boycott U.S. Conferences

CBC News, February 1, 2017Television

URL: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/867718211641

Suhana Meharchand interviews Shannon Dea about Canadian academics' boycott of travel to the U.S. in light of President Trump's travel ban on citizens from selected Muslim countries.

Why words like 'policeman' and 'repairman' could soon be obsolete

CBC The Morning Edition K-W, July 19, 2019Radio/Podcast

URL: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1573413443951/

This is one of 12 CBC Radio 1 interviews across the country that I did on this topic.

Provincially ordered policy on free speech at Ontario colleges and universities

CBC Ontario Morning, December 18, 2018Radio/Podcast

URL: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15650872-ontario-morning-tuesday-december-18-2018-part-2

Story starts at 33:05. (This is one of 10 CBC Radio 1 interviews across the province that I did on this topic.)

Reclaiming B!#ch?

Matt Gurney interview with Shannon Dea about New York Magazine cover featuring Bill Cosby sexual assault accusers

SiriusXM National Post Radio, July 28, 2015Radio/Podcast

URL: http://cl.ly/3A3W0z2P2z15

Campaign against campus appearance by far-right activist Faith Goldy raises over $12,000

Are University Campuses Where Free Speech Goes to Die?

The Role of Faculty Associations Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Free Speech and the Battle for the University

Has #MeToo lost focus?

#MeToo: Taking it lightly?

Look Both Ways Before You Ban Abortion

Why is Algonquin supporting Saudi Arabia's gender Apartheid?

Canadian academics boycott U.S. conferences over Trump ban

Toronto Star, January 31, 2017Print

URL: https://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2017/01/31/canadian-academics-boycott-us-conferences-over-trump-ban.html

Academics around the world are boycotting international conferences in the U.S. in response to Trump's Muslim travel ban.

Why words like 'policeman' and 'repairman' could soon be obsolete

The uproar over taking "man" out of "manhole"

Dispatches on Academic Freedom

University Affairs, June 1, 2019Online

URL: https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/dispatches-academic-freedom/

Professor Dea's ongoing monthly online column in University Affairs, the official magazine of Universities Canada.

How can leaders, including teachers, chairs, deans, etc. respond to failure in a way that nurtures the will to try again?

What do mistakes and setbacks teach us?

Four strategies to help students feel safe(r) making mistakes

How can we cultivate the courage to take risks and embrace challenge in teaching and learning? Why should we do so?

Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo, January 12, 2016Online

URL: https://uwaterloo.ca/arts/blog/post/how-can-we-cultivate-courage-take-risks-and-embrace

Electronics in the classroom – time to hit the “escape” key?

Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo, January 6, 2015Online

URL: https://uwaterloo.ca/arts/blog/post/electronics-classroom-time-hit-escape-key

Canadians take to Twitter to report ‘barbaric cultural practices’ to government

University of Waterloo spending $1M on pay equity for female faculty

Beyond the Binary: Thinking About Sex and Gender
by Shannon Dea
Broadview Press
May 15, 2016
9781554812837 / 1554812836

How many sexes are there? What is the relationship between sex and gender? Is gender a product of nature, or nurture, or both? In Beyond the Binary, Shannon Dea addresses these questions and others while introducing readers to evidence and theoretical perspectives from a range of cultures and disciplines, and from sources spanning three millennia. Dea’s pluralistic and historically informed approach offers readers a timely background to current debates about sex and gender in the media, health sciences, and public policy.

Curriculum vitae

For my full scholarly publication history, click here for my curriculum vitae.

URL: https://uwaterloo.ca/scholar/sjdea/cv


Shannon Dea is the Dean of Arts at University of Regina. Her recent research spans academic freedom and related issues, equity and accessibility in higher education, sex and gender, harm reduction, abortion, and history of philosophy. She is the author of Beyond the Binary: Thinking About Sex and Gender (Broadview: 2016), and of numerous articles and book chapters. Shannon is the creator and author of Dispatches on Academic Freedom, a monthly University Affairs column. She regularly engages with the media and the public, especially on issues related to academic and expressive freedom, or gender and social justice.


Distinguished Teacher Award | Professional

University of Waterloo's highest award for excellence in teaching.

Leading Women Building Communities | Personal

Ontario Women's Directorate award for women and girls who are having a positive impact on their communities.

Past Talks

President's Luncheon on Academic Freedom

University of Waterloo, March 12, 2018


Sabrina L. Hom, Hypatia Reviews Online

...Shannon Dea contributes something wonderful and surprising: a new perspective on the entrenched and calcified debate over the morality of abortion. Dea points out that--as anyone concerned with the moral considerability of nonhuman animals or of the environment well knows--fetuses may be morally considerable without being persons. Dea calls for a "harm reduction" approach to abortion, arguing that we should concern ourselves with the lives and suffering of both women and fetuses, "and that such concern is consistent with the view that abortions ought to be safe and accessible" (290) because safe and legal abortion effectively minimizes harms for all concerned. Dea's article is strongly argued, and by grounding her argument in the well-established public health paradigm of harm reduction, she provides a refreshingly practical and evidence-based approach. Her article would be a good fit for humanities classes discussing abortion and morality, but also for classes in public health or public policy. I look forward to teaching it in my moral philosophy classes in the future.


Mia, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Thank you again for coming this weekend. It was truly so invaluable and wonderful to have you. We enjoyed your talk so much and your companionship, contribution and advice throughout the conference and talks was so very much appreciated by all the students. We've never had a guest speaker as involved, charismatic and instrumental as you were. So I thank you again.


  • academic freedom
  • university governance
  • gender
  • sex
  • early modern philosophy
  • Baruch Spinoza (philosopher)
  • Charles Sanders Peirce (philosopher)
  • American pragmatism (philosophical school)
  • women and racialized people in the history of philosophy
  • feminism
  • history of ideas
  • history of philosophy
  • LGBTQ issues
  • women
  • harm reduction
  • abortion
  • equity
  • accessible teaching and learning
  • university teaching and learning
  • sex and gender


  • University of Waterloo
    Philosophy, Russian
    B.A. (Hons.), 2002
  • Queen's University
    M.A,, 2003
  • Western University
    Ph.D., 2007