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New U of T Scarborough dean named

Professor Rick Halpern will begin his term as dean effective July 1.

Halpern has both academic, administrative expertise

by Elaine Smith

Success breeds success, so after overseeing an effective financial recovery process at New College, Principal Rick Halpern has been selected as the new vice-principal (academic) and dean at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Academic Board's appointments committee has approved the appointment of Halpern, a history professor, succeeding Professor Ragnar-Olaf Buchweitz, whose term ends June 30. Halpern's five-year term will begin July 1.

"This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth of UTSC and to play an important leadership role within the university at a time when it faces both formidable challenges and unprecedented opportunities," said Halpern. "It is clear that over the next few years, there will be a tremendous widening of intellectual bandwidth at UTSC and an institutionalization of fertile cross-disciplinary programming on a number of levels; I look forward to working with colleagues there on this exciting project."

Halpern has strong credentials, both academically and admininistratively. He earned his PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania and moved from there to the Department of History at University College, London. U of T recruited him in 2001 as the first Bissell-Heyd Professor of American Studies. From 2004 to 2006, following terms as associate director and then acting director, he has served as director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk Centre for International Studies. Halpern is a senior fellow at Massey College and since 2006 he has served as principal of New College.

Halpern is a specialist in modern U.S. history and has written extensively on race and labour in a number of national and transnational contexts. His work is situated between the social sciences and humanities, with reach into the sciences, affording him an understanding of the multidisciplinary goals of UTSC. Much of his scholarly work has been collaborative, involving work with scholars from other disciplines and international teams of researchers.

As director of the then-newly created Centre of the Study of the United States, Halpern forged a dynamic academic community by connecting academics from a number of disciplines as well as various government agencies and business groups in Canada and the U.S., helping them realize their common intellectual ground and building the profile of the new centre.

His work at New College included a restructuring of operations, staffing and student support, as well as new resource-generating intitiatives. He has been actively involved in successful advancement endeavours, alumni activities, recruitment strategy and programs and has been committed to creating a focus on students. His senior administrative experience also includes active participation in the Towards 2030 planning exercise.

"Professor Halpern brings a combination of academic qualifications, administrative experience and leadership style that fit exceptionally well with the demands of the dean's position at this exciting point in U of T Scarborough's continued development," said Principal Franco Vaccarino.

© University of Toronto Scarborough