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Memorial appoints new vice-president (academic)

Jan. 26, 2011

Memorial University has named Dr. David M. Wardlaw as its new vice-president (academic) and pro-vice chancellor. Dr. Wardlaw’s appointment was approved by the Board of Regents on Jan. 25, and he will begin a five-year term in the role on Aug. 1, 2011.

Dr. Wardlaw is a professor of chemistry and currently the dean of science at the University of Western Ontario. He has a B.Sc. and a PhD from the University of Toronto, and served as department head of chemistry at Queen’s University from 2002-06 before joining the University of Western Ontario. 

He brings tremendous experience in academic administration, a strong background in science and science promotion, together with a commitment to student learning initiatives and community engagement.  Under his leadership, the Faculty of Science at Western was ranked first among large, research-intensive Canadian universities in the October 2010 Globe and Mail Report Card student survey.

“Dr. Wardlaw will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to Memorial University,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor, and chair of the search committee. “The search committee was very impressed with his leadership abilities and commitment to advancing excellence in teaching and scholarship and also by his dedication to students and involvement in the wider community.

“One of my first priorities has been to fill key senior positions and I believe that Dr. Wardlaw’s blend of experience and interests represents a tremendous opportunity for the university and the province,” Dr. Kachanoski added.

At Memorial University the vice-president (academic) and pro-vice-chancellor is a member of the Board of Regents and has primary responsibility for academic matters, ultimately being responsible for the programs of some 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students across a wide range of disciplines.

The position reports directly to the president and works in close collaboration with the other vice-presidents, deans, directors and other members of the senior management team of the university.

Dr. Wardlaw was selected following an intensive search by a committee that represented the university and the community. In addition to his appointment as vice-president (academic) and pro vice-chancellor, Dr. Wardlaw will also become a member of Memorial’s Department of Chemistry.

The university is in the final stages of a search for a vice-president (Grenfell Campus), also a member of the university’s senior leadership team.

Biographical notes – Dr. David Wardlaw
Dr. David Wardlaw is the dean of science and professor of chemistry at the University of Western Ontario. He was born and raised in southern Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto where he obtained a B.Sc. in 1976 (chemical physics) and a PhD in 1982 (theoretical chemistry). He was a NSERC postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1982-84. In 1984, he was awarded a NSERC university research fellowship and accepted a position at Queen’s University as an assistant professor. Dr. Wardlaw was promoted to associate professor in 1989 and to professor in 1994. He served as head of chemistry at Queen’s from 2002-06. In July 2006 he was appointed to a five-year term as dean of science at the University of Western Ontario. He has held short-term visiting scientist positions at the Argonne National Laboratories in Chicago, at Emory University in Atlanta and at the National Research Council in Ottawa.
During his academic career, Dr. Wardlaw has made significant contributions in research, teaching and academic leadership. His areas of research specialization are chemical physics, chemical reaction dynamics and computational chemistry and he has published more than 60 refereed articles in these areas. He also has a track-record of initiatives and achievement in improving the teaching and learning environment at universities, with a focus on improving the student learning experience. As an academic leader, he has been recognized for his balanced approach to the development of both the teaching and research missions of the academy. Dr. Wardlaw is also committed to engaging K-12 students in project-based science. In this regard, he has been associated with Youth Science Canada (YSC) since 1999, serving as the YSC National judge-in-chief for the Canada-Wide Science Fairs from 2004-10, and has served as chair of the Board of Youth Science Ontario from 2005-11.


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