The following is a message to the community from York President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton and York Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps:
It is with very mixed feelings that we are announcing that Dean Ananya Mukherjee-Reed of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies will be leaving York University to take up an exciting new leadership opportunity as provost and vice-principal academic at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan Campus in Kelowna B.C., effective Nov. 1, 2018.
Ananya has been a member of the York community since 1995; and prior to her appointment as dean of LA&PS in 2015, she served as chair of the Department of Political Science and as associate vice-president research. She is the founding-director of the International Secretariat of Human Development (ISHD) at York; under her leadership, ISHD has collaborated with leading international institutions such as the International Labour Organization, Geneva and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva.
Ananya has provided outstanding leadership as dean of York University’s largest and most diverse Faculty, at a key time in its development, as it has continued to consolidate and build on strengths. Building on the Faculty’s commitment to social justice, she has supported the development of programs such as Indigenous Studies and Black Canadian Studies, as well as the recruitment of tenure stream faculty in numerous departments whose areas of scholarship include race, indigeneity and inclusion. She has been an energetic and dedicated advocate for the Faculty, while contributing to important institutional initiatives and discussions around the advancement of our academic priorities. Under her leadership, LA&PS has seen significant complement growth, with 70 new tenure stream appointments as of July 1, 2018 (with a plan to surpass 100 new appointments by 2020). These appointments have bolstered the Faculty’s research and teaching remarkably in a very short period of time.
LA&PS has also experienced significant enrolment growth (domestic and international) and enhancement of student quality across a wide range of programs (Cognitive Science, Economics, Information Technology and Politics to name a few). The renaming of the Bachelor of Administrative Studies as the Bachelor of Commerce was an initiative which immediately began to attract increasing numbers of high-achieving students to the Faculty and re-engage its alumni.
Deeply committed to the goal of enhancing the academic experience, Ananya launched several major initiatives for undergraduate students. She undertook a major expansion of experiential learning initiatives with a broad range of government and community partnerships. Yet another notable new initiative is the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence which provides undergraduate students with unique opportunities to work with faculty on research projects.
York’s new campus at Markham was another project to which Ananya’s contribution is substantial. The very recent Senate approval of the Master of Science in Management Practice to be offered at Markham by the School of Administrative Studies is a critical step for graduate programming at Markham. Last but not least, Ananya has proactively developed and nurtured an excellent team for LA&PS and we look forward to working with them in the coming days.
Ananya’s contributions and leadership have also been recognized externally, for example with her naming recently as one of the five brilliant women from academia by Canadian Immigrant magazine; in 2016 she received the Pioneer of Change award for Excellence in Social Impact from Skills for Change, Toronto.
Opening in 2005, UBC Okanagan is home to 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 1,200 faculty and staff. As provost and vice-principal academic, Ananya will provide leadership and direction in planning, policy development and resource management to a diverse group of faculties and schools: Arts and Sciences, Creative and Critical Studies, Engineering, Education, Health and Social Development, Graduate Studies, Management and Medicine. She will serve simultaneously as a key member of the UBC system executive with the president, the deputy vice-chancellor and vice-presidents. It is an exciting opportunity at one of the world’s top public research universities; and even though we will miss her at York, we are very pleased for Ananya.
We will have opportunities in the coming days to publicly celebrate Ananya’s contributions to York University. In the meantime, please join us in thanking her for her outstanding leadership and in congratulating her and wishing her all the best in her new role at UBC Okanagan.
An announcement will be made shortly with regard to the Interim Deanship; and we will be consulting with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Council in the near future with regard to the process going forward.