Stan Shapson steps down from role as interim president of SSHRC

After spending almost one year as the “part-time” interim president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Stan Shapson (right), vice-president research & innovation at York University, is stepping down from the role of interim president so that he can focus his energies on implementing the new University Academic Plan (UAP).

After consulting Lorna R. Marsden, York president and vice-chancellor, Shapson made the announcement at the in-camera session of the SSHRC Council on June 16. He sent his official notification to federal Industry Minister Maxime Bernier last week.

“I wish you to know that I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to serve as Chair [of SSHRC Council] and Interim President, since the work of SSHRC is fundamentally important to the activity of researchers and to Canada’s position in the global Knowledge Society,” wrote Shapson in his letter to the minister.

During the past two years the council has overseen a strategic review of SSHRC’s work and has begun a transformation aimed at ensuring the creation and mobilization of new knowledge to enhance the quality of life for Canadians, both economically and socially.

“These past few months have been challenging since my work at York has certainly not diminished,” said Shapson in speaking about his decision. “The new UAP and its focus on research provides an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize our energies and transform the University, and I want to ensure that as we begin this important planning cycle I have the time necessary to commit to implementation, consultation, reflection on our goals, long-range planning and re-organization.”

Shapson took over as interim president fo SSHRC on Sept. 2, 2005 after president Marc Renaud’s term ended. A full search for a new president of SSHRC is underway.

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 meets regularly to set policy and program priorities, allocate budgets and advise the minister of industry and Parliament on research policy in these areas.