John Sylvestre, Vice-Dean, Research

As the first year of my mandate as Vice-Dean, Research, comes to a close I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Faculty of Social Sciences. With over 270 researchers in the Faculty, across 9 units, studying topics ranging from neurons, to behaviour, to relationships, to neighbourhoods, to national and international issues, it has been an almost overwhelming challenge to understand all that goes on the Faculty. I want to thank each of you who have stopped by the office to let me know about what you do, who have invited me to your functions, who have informed me of your needs or accomplishments, and who have expressed words of support. There remains much more work to do to meet more of you to ensure that we are doing all we can in the Research Office to support you.

One initiative we have launched is a renewal of our Strategic Plan for Research. We have begun with small discussion groups to meet directly with researchers at various stages of their career, and from across the Faculty, to hear about their ideas for how to strengthen research in the Faculty, including improving our internal funding competitions. I will use this information to begin work in the fall with the Faculty Research Committee to consult more widely with our colleagues and to revise our strategic plan.

Another focus of my first year has been to consult with our Faculty Research Centres and Institute. The Centres and Institute are key investments of our Faculty to bring researchers together, to plan and develop collaborative research projects, and to mobilize knowledge. We had productive discussions on how to better link their efforts to the goals of the Faculty as well as to provide better support to them. There is more work and discussion to come, but it is clear to me that the Centres and Institute are remarkably vital and productive and an essential part of the research life of the Faculty. I wish to congratulate and thank the Directors in particular for their efforts.

As I look forward to the coming year, I hope to work with the Faculty Research Committee and other colleagues to launch new projects to increase our successes in Tri-Council funding, to access funding from a wider range of sources, and to better promote the research done in the Faculty. I invite you to participate in these initiatives but also to share with me your thoughts of other actions that we can consider.

Making the transition into the role of Vice-Dean more manageable has been the stellar support provided by the office administrators: Sophie, Ginette, Sylvie, Madeleine, and Marianne. Prior to taking on this role, I had no idea of the challenges faced and the work accomplished by the personnel on a daily basis. I want to thank them for all the work they do, and for the support they have offered me. On a final note, I want to acknowledge the efforts of my predecessor, Rose Anne Devlin. Her excellent administrative skills ensured that I was able to inherit an office that is running so well despite the remarkable growth of the Faculty over the years.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has a remarkable legacy of achievement in research. Yet, it is clear that greater successes lie ahead of us. I thank you for this opportunity to work with you to help realize them.

John Sylvestre, Vice-Dean, Research

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