October 5, 2007
By Kirk Sibbald
The University has taken another step in the establishment of three new interdisciplinary schools by appointing an acting director for each.
In mid-September, Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic Ernie Barber announced that Maureen Reed from the Department of Geography, a special advisor to the School of Environment and Sustainability steering committee, will serve as acting director for that entity. Bruce Reeder from the Department of Health and Epidemiology and also a steering committee special advisor will take on a similar role with the School of Public Health. The third appointment, to the School of Public Policy, went to Peter Phillips, head of the Department of Political Studies.
All three appointments are for one year, ending June 30, 2008. The announcements were made jointly with the schools’ executive sponsors – Jim Basinger (Environment and Sustainability), Karen Chad (Public Health) and Grant Isaac (Public Policy).
The process of setting up the school operations will continue as the executive sponsors and acting directors “try to figure out who the founding faculty will be,” said Barber. That process will take place within guidelines established for various kinds of appointments to the schools, although “it is not the intention that School X will put its arms around every faculty member of campus whose academic interest relates to X,” he said. The initial appointments are important, “but who is not included is important too. We want to ensure that faculty, and the complement where they come from, feel consulted.”
Barber said details around programming in the schools will be confirmed once faculty appointments are made. That, in turn, will help define the roles of the eventual permanent executive directors. Other details, like research chairs within the schools, will follow.
Each school will receive $250,000 annually, starting in 2007-08, from the Academic Priorities Fund, and they will share $270,000 in initial scholarship funds allocated from matching funds announced by the provincial government for 2007-08. They have also each been allocated one Centennial Chair and at least one new Canada Research Chair.