I was honoured and proud last fall to accept the position of interim dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, a faculty that is home to some of the top researchers in the world, talented professors, hard-working students and, of course, a team of support and administrative staff that is deeply committed to a quality student experience.
The Faculty of Social Sciences prides itself on being the largest faculty at the University, with some 10,000 students, nearly 270 regular professors and over 370 part-time professors (all categories combined). Our Faculty provides fertile ground for innovation and research, as evidenced every day by the achievements of our researchers, which have a direct impact on the social, political, economic and environmental challenges of this ever-changing world. A world that, as Marshall McLuhan eloquently called a "global village" back in 1964, is constantly being strengthened by this evolving globalization.
Thus, it is hardly surprising that the work of our researchers and their impact has earned them a place as recognized experts valued by professional media organizations. Last year alone, our research generated over 615. It goes without saying that these spotlights on our achievements and discoveries enable the Faculty and even the University to position us not only nationally but also internationally.
That said, we are not content to sit back on our successes. Since taking up my position, I've been busy reviewing our processes, policies and systems with the aim of optimizing our resources and improving our practices. As such, I would like to thank the members of the Executive Committee and the Faculty Council for their support in implementing the many new initiatives and programs that all contribute to sustaining the Faculty’s continued growth. To name but a few, expanding our decision-making bodies to include representatives of our research centres and institutes and our part-time teaching staff, rolling out a Master’s in public and international affairs for senior officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo as a pilot-project, preparing for the launch of a social work PhD program in English, as well as creating one-year, course-based professional Master's degree programs.
As well, improvements were made to the tools and resources available to the undergraduate and graduate studies offices to help us provide the best services possible to all students, and fully integrate international students who come to our Faculty from all over the world.
The year ahead will also be challenging. The University is in the midst of major institutional change; in other words, the transformation will also take place at the faculty level.. For instance, the University has adopted a new funding formula, to which we must adjust as it evolves. In addition, the organizational structure of the central administration has been re-though regarding the academic sector. We will therefore remain alert to further changes in this structure and what they mean for our operations. But whatever they are, I am committed to keeping all members of our Faculty informed of any developments and to working closely with all units to ensure a smooth transition and protect our interests.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the outstanding work of all members of our faculty family and the generous contribution of our donors and alumni. You are all instrumental in our success, and, as dean, I am indebted to you for this. It is a privilege to work alongside people of your calibre, and I look forward to continuing to lead the Faculty on the road ahead for the coming year.
Faculty of Social Sciences