New AVPA Named

October 09, 2007 - Campus Bulletin

Psychology professor Serge Desmarais, associate dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS), has been appointed associate vice-president (academic). His five-year term begins Dec. 1.

Desmarais was chosen following an open and consultative process, says provost and vice-president (academic) Maureen Mancuso, who chaired the search committee. The committee presented three candidates to the University community in September, and feedback from faculty, students and staff was used in the selection process.

“Serge will be an energetic and outstanding AVPA,” says Mancuso. “He is enthusiastic and passionate about students, having been a teacher for more than 20 years, and as a psychology professor, he brings unique experiences and training in working with people to the position. I am very pleased to have him take on this new role.”

Desmarais will be responsible for the content, administration and delivery of all undergraduate programs, including those at the regional campuses and the University of Guelph-Humber. He will also supervise the program review process as required by the provincial government, as well as the launching of new initiatives and the internationalization of the curriculum.

He will chair the Council on Undergraduate Academic Advising and the Enrolment Co-ordinating Committee and oversee the Office of Open Learning, Teaching Support Services, and academic advising and counselling.
Desmarais says he’s “delighted” by the appointment.

“It’s going to be a demanding job, of course. The University has tremendous challenges and opportunities when it comes to undergraduate academic issues, and I think it’s a good time for us to have a dialogue about how to take what we do so well and adapt it to the contemporary reality of undergraduate teaching.”

The 21st-Century Curriculum Committee started the process with its campus-wide report on undergraduate curriculum, he says.

“The AVPA position gives me the opportunity to continue the discussion. We must make more efforts to extend the engagement of a broad range of students. We should be asking them how they learn, what they do and how they’d like to see things change. It’s a conversation I look forward to having.”

A U of G faculty member since 1995, Desmarais holds the Canada Research Chair in Applied Social Psychology. For the past decade, he has been researching issues related to social justice in the workplace, income and income entitlement, gender issues and interpersonal relationships. Besides his academic work, he is an active consultant to both public and private organizations.

Desmarais earned his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in social psychology from the University of Waterloo and taught at Wilfrid Laurier University and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax before joining U of G. At Guelph, he has served as acting department chair and acting CSAHS dean.

He is the author of a number of scholarly papers, co-author of two introductory psychology textbooks and former associate editor of Canadian Psychology. He has also received teaching awards from the U of G Faculty Association and CSAHS.

Although Desmarais doesn’t officially begin until Dec. 1, he will be dedicating one day a week to addressing curriculum-related issues associated with his new position, says Mancuso.

“This was made possible through the generous support of dean Alun Joseph and will allow us to continue the momentum started by the reports of the 21st-Century Curriculum Committee.”

In making the announcement, she also thanked members of the search committee for their hard work and commitment to their task and the University community for its participation.

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