Meet Ashley Nixon, King’s new assistant dean of residence

Meet Ashley Nixon, King’s new assistant dean of residence

Ashley Nixon joins King’s as a seasoned residence support staffer who also completed a placement with Dalhousie’s Social Work Community Clinic. They work closely with the dean of students and Residence Life Services team to coordinate residence operations and student support.

Ashley NixonWhat were your impressions of King’s before you started here and how have they changed?

Actually, the main impression I initially had of King’s was of its journalism program—though I knew from my peers in social work and their friends at King’s that it sounded like a really welcoming community. When I did start, the community was 100 per cent open minded and open armed and they were excited to learn about me and my background.

I’m starting to understand what King’s small, tight-knit community means for different folks and different types of students. The community is so collaborative and unique and supportive.

I’ve been here for two months, but I feel like I’ve been here forever. I’ve been told that I feel that way because I fit in so well! It’s so nice to hear that from a community that I didn’t know a lot about prior to December 2021.

How does your experience in social work impact the way you plan to work with students?

I graduated from Dalhousie’s BSW [Bachelor of Social Work] program in May 2021 and during my degree I had a placement at Dal’s Social Work Community Clinic. During that experience I had a chance to learn what anti-oppressive social work practice looks like. Among many things, it means working in partnership with your client—in my role, this means reducing the power dynamic between myself and students and taking a student-centred approach to support them in the things they need.

There’s a continuity between social work and student support because I can help deliver educational programs about gender identity, LGBTQ+ issues and anti-racism. In social work, the anti-oppressive approach means implementing different critical social theories and recognizing systemic inequalities—and those things can help in my role here at King’s.

In your bio on ukings.ca, you mention some of the things you enjoy doing outside of work. What excites you about living in Halifax?

Being part of a military family, I moved around a lot: I spent the first part of my childhood in Greenwood, Nova Scotia and the second part of my childhood in Edmonton. I came back to Nova Scotia during high school, then got my Bachelor’s degrees from Saint Mary’s University and Dalhousie.

One of the silver linings of living in the Maritimes—where not a lot of big-ticket musical acts come through—is that you get to dive into local music, whether in Halifax or the rest of the Maritimes. You get great artists like Hey Rosetta!, Ben Caplan, or Wintersleep and they’ll play at places like the Seahorse, or the Marquee and I’ll always try to see them if I can make it.

What’s your favourite time and place on campus?

I didn’t start leaving campus after nightfall until recently, and one of the things I really like is when the lights on the trees in the quad come on. I thinks it’s such a warm, inviting light that illuminates this beautiful area where a lot of people run into each other and have conversations. It seems cozy, even though it’s so cold out these days!

Nixon will be working with the sexual health and safety officer, equity officer and student support advisor to provide coordinated support to students. They are happy to hear from the community at ashley.nixon@ukings.ca and hope to meet members of the community in person when it’s safe to do so.

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