Appointment of Professor Melanie Woodin as Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science (PDAD&C #59)

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Date: February 27, 2019
Re: Appointment of Professor Melanie Woodin as Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science (PDAD&C #59)

I am delighted to announce that the Agenda Committee of Academic Board has approved the appointment of Professor Melanie Woodin as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2019.

Professor Woodin currently serves as Vice-Dean, Interdivisional Partnerships at the Faculty of Arts & Science. Her keen insight into administrative challenges and her collaborative approach to issues has revitalized the Faculty’s key relationships with its partners across the three campuses by making academic priorities and the student experience the guiding principles for success. Professor Woodin’s achievements include partnering on developing enhancements for the Commerce program shared with the Rotman School of Management, a multi-faceted collaboration with the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering to improve the quality of math teaching in first year, and continued collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine to enhance learning for life science students. Professor Woodin’s commitment to strengthening and building relationships has helped the Faculty advance its academic goals by positioning it as an interdisciplinary hub for teaching, learning, and research across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Prior to her role as Vice-Dean, Professor Woodin served as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Issues and Academic Planning at the Faculty of Arts & Science, and Director of the Human Biology Program.

Professor Woodin is an internationally recognized neuroscientist and scholar renown for her multi-disciplinary approach to understanding how neurons in the brain communicate. She made the fundamental discovery that electrical activity in the brain promotes the plasticity of inhibitory synapses, which when impaired contributes to the development of numerous neurological disorders and diseases.  Professor Woodin’s research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Simons Foundation for Autism Research, and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Society of Canada. Most recently she was named as one of five researchers at the University and its affiliated hospitals to receive a New Ideas Award, as a part of Medicine by Design’s strategy to accelerate regenerative medicine for her innovative work using a gene therapy approach to delay the onset of symptoms in neurodegenerative disease. She is the Chair of the Advocacy Committee and a Board Member of the Canadian Association of Neuroscience and has served as a Scientific Officer for CIHR.

As the University’s largest Faculty, and one of the most comprehensive and diverse academic divisions in North America, Professor Woodin’s exceptional leadership skills and breadth of experience will be crucial to the Faculty’s continued success in the years ahead. Please join me in congratulating Professor Woodin on this appointment.