Laurier appoints new deans in faculties of science and education

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

On June 10, 2019, Wilfrid Laurier University appointed two new deans in the faculties of education and science, with Maria Cantalini Williams, who will be starting her term as the dean of the Faculty of Education on July 1, and Anthony Clarke beginning his term as the dean of the Faculty of Science on August 1.

“We have a very meticulous process of how we hire deans, so it’s a committee made up of faculty, staff and students. They’re elected to sit on those committees. Both of the faculties are unique in their respective ways; our faculty of education is fairly small, less than 10 faculty members, and science is one of our fastest growing faculties in the university,” said Robert Gordon, provost and vice-president: academic at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“We hired a search firm to help us recruit the best candidates available, we had an exhaustive process where we met with a number of the individuals, and for both of the searches we had people come and give open presentations to our university community. Through that rigorous process and feedback from faculty, staff and students we selected the two new deans.”

Cantalini Williams has worked with Laurier in their faculty education for a number of years now, as she was associate dean of the Laurier-Nipissing concurrent education program for six years on top of being a director of the program and teaching in the Bachelor of Education and graduate studies programs.

Clarke, however, previously resided at the University of Guelph, as he is currently a professor in molecular and cellular Biology. Clarke has an in-depth background in administrative roles including assistant vice-president of graduate studies and program quality assurance, interim associate vice-president: academic, associate vice-president of research services and interim dean of the college of biological science.

We hired a search firm to help us recruit the best candidates available, we had an exhaustive process where we met with a number of the individuals, and for both of the searches we had people come and give open presentations to our university community.

— Robert Gordon, provost and vice-president: academic at WLU

“In the education search, we had a graduate and an undergraduate student who participated actively, as well as in the faculty of science search we had a current 4th year student and a graduate student on our committee, they played important roles being involved in selection, when we brought a short list of candidates to campus, they were part of the discussions that took place as it’s an important part of what students do is helping make the best choices for other students,” Gordon said.

These new deans will be working both directly and indirectly with students as they overlook each faculty for the next five years, including budgeting, programming, admissions and other tasks.

“The dean’s role is multifaceted; they do everything from helping manage the budget, to supporting enrollment, to really providing leadership in terms of the vision for the faculty and academic programming. The key is certainly for the dean to play an important role in how the student experience moves forward for every student at Laurier,” Gordon said.

“Undergraduate, graduate, international or domestic, the dean is really in many ways the key ambassador for that faculty in terms of making sure that everyone understands the importance of supporting the student experience and making sure that when there are issues, they are finding solutions to those problems.”

Cantalini Williams will succeed Colleen Willard-Holt, who is completing her tenth year and second term with the faculty as she was appointed the inaugural dean in 2008, and

Clarke will succeed Kenneth Maly, Laurier associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who was elected as Laurier’s acting dean of science from July 2018. Both of the new deans will complete five-year terms in their positions.

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