New dean of science & engineering begins in September

Nick Cercone (left) has been named York’s next dean of science and engineering.

Professor and dean of computer science at Dalhousie University since 2002, Cercone brings a wealth of administrative experience to his new position at York. Prior to Dalhousie, he was Chair of computer science at the University of Waterloo; associate vice-president research and dean of graduate studies at the University of Regina; and Chair of computing science at Simon Fraser University. In these positions, he initiated new programs and enhanced faculty complement.

“Dr. Cercone is known as a builder of both programs and faculty and we expect he will do great things at York,” says York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden. “We greatly look forward to having him on board in the new academic year.”

“I’m quite excited,” said Cercone in a telephone interview from Halifax yesterday. The fact that York is a relatively young university, and that it has melded science and engineering, appeals to the administrator who has seen the benefits for students of such synergies. “I’m known as a bit of a builder and I hope to enable department chairs to realize their ambitions,” he said.

Cercone’s research interests include artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, knowledge discovery and data mining. At York, he will hold his academic appointment in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

He comes to York on Sept. 1, but will be dropping in to meet faculty administrators during the summer. Associate Dean Paula Wilson has agreed to serve as acting dean in July and August. Current Dean Gillian Wu’s term ends June 30.

York’s Board of Governors confirmed Cercone’s appointment at its meeting Monday.

Cercone holds degrees in engineering science and computing science. He received a BS degree in engineering science from Ohio’s Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1968, an MS degree in computer and information science from Ohio State University in 1970, and a PhD degree in computing science from the University of Alberta in 1975. He worked for IBM Corporation in 1969 and 1971 on design automation.

Author of over 300 refereed publications, Cercone co-founded the international journal Computational Intelligence, is editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Knowledge and Information Systems, and serves on the editorial board of six journals. He is a past president of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence, the Canadian Society for Fifth Generation Research and the Canadian Association for Computer Science. He has served on the Canadian Genome Assessment & Technology Board, the CANARIE Board, CanWest, the Institute for Robotics & Intelligent Systems (IRIS) research committee, the Saskatchewan Research Council Board, and the Regina Economic Development Authority (information technology).

Cercone also serves on committees of the Natural Science & Engineering Council of Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Council, Communications and Information Technology Ontario, and US-based National Science Foundation. In 1996 he won the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Society’s distinguished service award.