The recently appointed associate dean of Fanshawe’s St. Thomas/Elgin Regional Campus has a message for local businesses in Elgin County: the College is open for business.

“I hope to work closely with local businesses as we unlock the potential of our students and the communities we serve,” says Melanie Neerhof, who accepted the position in August 2021. “Building those connections leads to co-placements that provide exceptional learning opportunities, industry leaders helping ensure programs meet evolving student and employer needs and the closing of labour gaps in the community.


Melanie Neerhof, associate dean of Fanshawe's St. Thomas/Elgin Regional Campus

Neerhof has spent her first seven months at the helm establishing priorities for 2022 and beyond. At the top of the list is growing enrolment by introducing new programs to the campus, starting with a pair of programs created by Fanshawe’s Lawrence Kinlin School of Business. Bookkeeping Essentials and Human Resources Essentials will be offered in St. Thomas beginning this May.

“Those programs will be delivered in a flexible way to give working professionals an opportunity to enhance their skillset,” she says.

Neerhof has been with Fanshawe for 10 years, holding a variety of roles within the Faculty of Access, Language and Regional Campuses. She most recently served as the operations manager for the College’s regional campuses (July 2019 to December 2020) and acting associate dean for the School of Access Studies and Regional Deliveries from January to April 2021.

Melanie holds a Master of Arts in Leadership Studies from the University of Guelph and a Diploma in Education from Western University.

"Through her approachable, collaborative style and her strong communication skills, Melanie has demonstrated an ability to achieve successful outcomes for students while nurturing a strong sense of team," says Susan Cluett, dean of Fanshawe’s Faculty of Access, Language and Regional Campuses. "I look forward to working with Melanie to build on the successes of the St. Thomas/Elgin Regional Campus."

Melanie replaces Donna Gates, who was in turn filling in after Ross Fair’s retirement in December 2020.

"I am excited for the opportunity to continue the success of our campus," says Neerhof. "I am going to actively engage in ensuring our campus is creating the best possible learning environment while meeting the needs of our community."