After five months of searching, the University of Toronto has announced that it will appoint Cell and Systems Biology Professor Melanie Woodin as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, replacing Political Science Professor David Cameron, who has held the position since 2013. Woodin will begin serving her five-year term on July 1.
Speaking to U of T News on February 27, Woodin said that she was “incredibly honoured and humbled” to be appointed. “We have outstanding faculty members who are working at the forefront of their research disciplines and have an incredible dedication to undergraduate and graduate students. My primary role is to ensure I’m supporting those faculty members so they can be supporting the students to have the best educational experience they can.”
Woodin holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology from U of T, followed up by a PhD from the University of Calgary in 2001, and postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley. At present, she heads the Woodin Lab, which researches neurological diseases like Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known ALS. Woodin founded the lab in 2004 under the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, formerly named the Department of Zoology.
Last October, she was named the faculty’s inaugural Vice-Dean Interdivisional Partnerships, tasked with managing relationships between academic divisions in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the rest of the university. Woodin was supposed to serve a three-year term until 2021, before her latest appointment was announced.
According to a report from U of T News, Woodin will focus on building upon the faculty’s interdisciplinary nature and providing students with opportunities to learn from experts across the social sciences, life sciences, and humanities.
Cameron, who was appointed interim dean in 2013 after Meric Gertler was named president of U of T, will complete his term in late June. During his time in the faculty’s top spot, Cameron implemented a number of new initiatives, such as the Milestones and Pathways programs and the expansion of the Advancing Teaching & Learning in Arts & Science program. He also spearheaded a commission that recommended the creation of an Indigenous college at U of T.