Campus Life

Dr. Robert Wood appointed as new dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences

Accomplished administrator and researcher Dr. Robert Wood has been appointed dean of the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

Wood, who has served in a similar role as Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and subsequently Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs since 2011, is excited about the opportunity to continue to elevate the profile of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

“When I consider the programmatic growth of the Faculty over the past decade, the diversity of the professions, the stellar academic research taking place and the commitment to honouring the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I know that our Faculty has an exemplary future,” he says.

Wood says the Faculty is alive with activity and boasts a collegial group that is continually moving ahead with relevant, community-minded programming and research.

“I’ve always admired the energy and the work ethic of health sciences colleagues and staff.  Working together, I know that we will further elevate the identity and the impact of our Faculty,” he says. “When I first came here, they’d just transitioned from being a school of nursing to a school of health sciences. Over the years, they’ve added different professions and the research portfolio has expanded. There’s now this growing cadre of sociocultural researchers of health, such as myself, and I think we may want to start to envision what our Faculty will look like in the future.”

Wood, whose research interests span the areas of social problems, youth culture, addiction, and the sociocultural aspects of problem gambling, came to the U of L in 2000 and began teaching as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. He chaired the department in 2010, and was tenured as a full professor in 2013. He earned his BA Honours at the University of Alberta in 1995, completed a master’s at the University of Toronto in 1997 and his PhD at the U of A in 2001, all in sociology. In 2018, he was successful in his application to become a full professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, where he continues to maintain involvement in research and graduate supervision. 

“Dr. Wood has proven over the years to be a strong presence in the classroom, an excellent researcher and a forward-thinking administrator,” says Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dr. Andy Hakin. “His stewardship of the School of Graduate Studies led to impressive growth for our graduate programming and we fully expect the Faculty of Health Sciences to continue to enhance its profile under his leadership.”

Wood once admitted he never envisioned an administrative role when he began his career in academia but soon found a comfort level in the responsibilities of leadership.

“I miss teaching, absolutely, and felt it was a privilege to be a faculty member, but for me, being an administrator was the first time I really felt I was doing my best work. Administrative work is where I feel the most comfortable and I want to keep doing this kind of work,” he says. “I find it energizing and motivating, and particularly with our group in health sciences. When you’re able to initiate change in a complex organization, it’s really exciting.”

Wood will assume the dean’s role commencing July 1, 2019.