Stan Shapson appointed acting president of SSHRC council

Stan Shapson (right), York’s vice-president research & innovation, has been appointed acting president of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) governing council. Shapson will assume these temporary duties while continuing his role as vice-president research & innovation at York. He has been a member of the SSHRC council since 2001 and has chaired the Research Support Committee, one of six SSHRC committees.

Elected by the SSHRC council as vice-chair at its last meeting, Shapson will assume the additional responsibilities of acting president on Sept. 2. Outgoing SSHRC council president Marc Renaud’s term ends on Sept. 1.

Shapson will play a pivotal role in SSHRC’s transformation plan, which was approved by SSHRC’s council in March 2005. The transformation plan will improve the way social sciences and humanities research is funded, carried out, and used and understood by Canadians.

“Communicating the importance of research in the social sciences and humanities is a strategic priority,” said Shapson. “I will also focus on launching a series of pilot projects this fall in three key transformative areas including knowledge mobilization, cluster research and international collaborative research. Each is integral to SSHRC’s vision for transformation into a knowledge council.”

SSHRC is a federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the social sciences and humanities. Created by an act of Parliament in 1977, SSHRC is governed by a 22-member council that reports to Parliament through the minister of industry. Six council committees chart the direction of SSHRC and ensure that grants and fellowship programs meet the needs of Canadians. SSHRC council promotes and assists research and scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. It meets regularly to set policy and program priorities, allocate budgets, and advise the minister of industry and Parliament on research policy in these areas.

Shapson is one of Canada’s foremost authorities in research into the use of technology in the field of learning. He has published widely and served as lead researcher for several large-scale national and provincial research projects. He led the launch of the Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) program, a CANARIE-funded broadband applied research initiative, which facilitates professional development in the use of broadband networks as teaching tools.

In addition to being the Chair of SSHRC’s Research Support Committee, Shapson is also a member of the executive of the Ontario Council on University Research (OCUR) and is Chair of the Board of the Optical Regional Advanced Network of Ontario (ORANO).