Extension of Professor Lorraine Ferris as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance

From: Leah E. Cowen, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives 
Date: December 9, 2022
Re: Extension of Professor Lorraine Ferris as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance

I am delighted to announce that the Executive Committee of the Governing Council has approved a one-year extension to Professor Lorraine Ferris’ second term as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024.

The Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance provides academic leadership and manages the Research Oversight and Compliance Office (ROCO) that comprises human and animal research ethics, financial reporting and audit, and environmental health and safety. The AVP addresses the University’s institutional response to allegations of research misconduct and works with academic divisions around educational programs regarding research integrity and the responsible conduct of research.   

Given the increasing demands related to research oversight and compliance since 2020, there is a need for operational continuity within ROCO and stability in leadership as U of T emerges from the pandemic. A one-year extension will ensure that leadership level staff in critical portfolios are in place and able to benefit from Professor Ferris’ tremendous knowledge and experience. It will also afford additional time to consider a future strategy for the portfolio.

Since joining VPRI in 2013, Professor Ferris has demonstrated exceptional leadership at managing the increasing and complex external requirements. Her leadership during the pandemic was exemplary as she collaboratively managed the challenges and complexities of the changing regulatory requirements within an often emotionally charged atmosphere. Under Professor Ferris’ leadership, the practices within ROCO continue to be seen by regulatory agencies as standards that other institutions across Canada should aspire to. 

In considering this extension, I reached out to key University community stakeholders. The comments received were uniformly positive with colleagues describing Professor Ferris as a wise and strategic leader who is highly valued, respected, and trusted.

I am deeply appreciative that Professor Ferris is willing to continue as a key advisor to the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation to fulfill the mandate of supporting a world class research institution. It further demonstrates her commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our faculty, staff and students and to the effective and compliant operation of the university’s research enterprise.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Ferris and thanking her for her continued service.