Gwen Chapman became Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences in February 2016. Prior to that, she was Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of British Columbia, where she had served as Director of the Food, Nutrition and Health program and Associate Dean Academic in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. In those roles, she was active in supporting the use of learner-centred educational approaches, leading curriculum review and renewal processes, and renewal of laboratory and informal learning spaces.
Gwen completed her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto in 1992. As a faculty member at UBC since 1991, she built a research program exploring how people’s everyday food practices and concerns are shaped by socially constructed notions about food, health, bodies, and social roles. Gwen has been particularly interested in people’s understandings of ‘healthy eating’ and how those understandings are shaped by where people live, and their gender, age, social class, an ethnic background. Gwen was co-leader of a multi-site qualitative study of family food practices in rural and urban communities across Canada that culminated in the 2015 publication of the book “Acquired Tastes: Why Families Eat the Way They Do”. Gwen was also a core investigator of Think&EatGreen @ School, a SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance project promoting food literacy and healthy, sustainable food systems in Vancouver schools.
Gwen has taught a variety of applied nutrition courses, including community nutrition and research methods. She was an early adopter of blended teaching techniques that combine online and in-class learning, as well as other active learning approaches such as problem-based learning and community based experiential learning. Gwen’s achievements in teaching were recognized by UBC through the awarding of a Killam Teaching Prize.