Campus Life

Dr. Robert Wood named Interim Vice-President (Research)

Dr. Robert Wood is set to take over the lead role in expanding the research footprint of one of the country’s top research institutions as the newly appointed Interim Vice-President (Research) at the University of Lethbridge.

Dr. Robert Wood assumes oversight of an ever-expanding research portfolio at the U of L.

Wood has served the U of L as a dean for nearly a decade; first as the Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and more recently as the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He assumes oversight of an ever-expanding research portfolio at the U of L. Consistently ranked among the top research institutions in the country, the University just opened the Science Commons in the past year, Canada’s foremost science teaching and research facility.

“I have been at the U of L for 20 years, and over that time it has been truly remarkable to see the trajectory of growth we have experienced with respect to the scope, quality and impact of our creative activity and research,” says Wood. “This trajectory of research elevation is supported by talented colleagues, students and postdoctoral fellows spanning every academic discipline. In my capacity as the Interim Vice-President (Research), I look forward to cultivating and mobilizing research success in every Faculty, school and campus in our vibrant university.”

Wood’s own research interests span the areas of social problems, youth culture, addiction and the sociocultural aspects of problem gambling. He says he feels “particularly fortunate to have stewarded a collaborative research program that has made significant national and international impacts on the policy and prevention environment related to problem gambling.”

Wood came to the U of L in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. He was promoted to associate professor in 2006, and then to the rank of professor in 2013.  In 2018, his academic position migrated to the Faculty of Health Sciences, where he eventually assumed the role of dean, and where he continues to supervise graduate students. He earned his BA Honours at the University of Alberta in 1995, an MA from the University of Toronto in 1997, and his PhD at the University of Alberta in 2001, all in sociology.

“Dr. Wood has a great breadth of experience that will serve him extremely well in this role,” says Dr. Erasmus Okine, provost and vice-president (academic). “As an accomplished educator, researcher and now administrator, he has the broad perspective that is essential in guiding a complex research portfolio at a comprehensive institution such as the U of L.”

Wood’s experience goes far beyond the walls of the University as he has represented the U of L in a number of external roles. He has served as president of the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies (WCDGS), secretary-treasurer for the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) and as a Western Regional representative on the board of directors for the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Administrators (CAPA).

“I have always maintained that graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are the engines of research at a comprehensive university. They advance the frontiers of knowledge through their creative activity and their research. My external administrative service allowed me to gain a deep and a nuanced perspective on how graduate student and post-doctoral researchers are supported at other Canadian universities, as well as best practices for creating an overall university experience that allows them to thrive,” he says.

Wood has extensive knowledge and experience in managing and structuring multi-million-dollar budgets to achieve strategic priorities. He is also keenly supportive of the University’s continued push to foster industry and stakeholder connections that will advance research programs on campus while also creating meaningful change in the local community and beyond.

“The U of L has long embraced our president’s vision of being a community-engaged university.  For me, this means the work we do as academics, both in teaching and research, should have a meaningful and transformative impact on our communities and our broader society,” says Wood. “I look forward to supporting our researchers in forging stronger external industry, stakeholder and community connections that will be mutually beneficial. I am particularly committed to supporting connective research and creative activity that will honour the Calls to Action of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and which will advance our University objectives related to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Wood’s role as Interim Vice-President (Research) is for 13 months and commences June 1, 2020. The recent administrative appointments have filled a number of vacancies created with the departures of some key U of L senior leadership personnel who advanced to other Canadian post-secondary institutions.