Lisa Shapiro is returning to the Department of Philosophy where she will take research leave before resuming teaching.

FASS News, Faculty, Philosophy

Lisa Shapiro concludes role as FASS Associate Dean

June 01, 2020

On April 30 Lisa Shapiro wrapped up her five-year term as an Associate Dean for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).

Shapiro began her time in the dean’s office in January 2015 as Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies. In 2018 the portfolio split, and she became Associate Dean, Research, and in Summer 2019, Associate Dean, Research & International, mirroring the portfolio of the VPRI.

Shapiro focused on supporting FASS researchers and helping people both inside and outside the Faculty understand FASS research. In her role, she also rebooted two endowed visiting scholar programs (Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History and Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellowship program) and supported the VPRI’s efforts to transform institutional research support.

“It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with the team in the Dean’s office over the past five years,” Shapiro says. “The staff in the Dean’s office and across FASS are deeply committed to students and the educational mission. I have learned so much about research faculty are undertaking. And I’ve learned from Deans John Craig and Jane Pulkingham and the other Associate Deans about building systems to ensure the Faculty is truly guided by principles of equity and inclusion, and about keeping FASS academic programs vibrant and meaningful. It has been very rewarding.”

In Spring 2020, Shapiro served as Acting Dean, juggling considerable responsibilities, particularly over the last two months during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and SFU’s rapid transition to remote instruction in Spring 2020.

“Spring Semester is always a very busy time in the dean’s office, but this year was historic due to the complications brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Catherine Murray, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programming, Learning and Teaching, Student Experience. “As acting dean, Lisa provided strong emergency leadership while showing a great amount of compassion, care and concern for the students and faculty in a very uncertain time. FASS benefitted from applied ethics in action from an absolutely dedicated leader bringing the age old traditions of Philosophy and critical thinking to fairness in protecting our collective academic mission.”

Dean Jane Pulkingham, who was on leave during the Spring 2020 semester, returned on May 1.

“When I began my tenure as Dean of FASS, Lisa was a key part of my leadership team,” says Pulkingham. “Lisa and I first worked together as fellow Associate Deans, and as Dean, I am very grateful to her for renewing her term as Associate Dean. Lisa is a firecracker intellectually and personally and I learned a lot from her and really appreciated her frank contribution and insights when engaged in thorny planning discussions and problem-solving, and general leadership as part of the executive team. I also appreciate the other side of Lisa that is easy-going, and attentive to the importance of sociality, and I will miss her habit of making room in a busy day to reach out and catch-up.”

Of all her accomplishments during her time in the dean’s office, Shapiro is most proud of the development of the faculty research profile in the online Visualizing FASS Research tool.

“The research visualization tool started from a simple question I was asked: what is the research strength of FASS?” Shapiro says. “Although I could point to specific departments with strong research, there was no way to identify the research strength of the Faculty as a whole.”

She set about answering that simple question by gathering information on what FASS faculty members were working on. It was a considerable task as FASS has over 300 faculty members, most of whom are active researchers.

Shapiro worked with the team at the Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics (VIVA) to develop visual tools to be able to grasp at a glance, and then explore, the research topics that faculty are engaged with, and other key elements of that research, including community engagement, geographic focus, and international collaborations.

Shapiro is returning to the Department of Philosophy where she will take research leave before resuming teaching. Her research concerns philosophy of mind, emotions as forms of knowledge and arguments for women’s education in the history of philosophy. She will be working on a book, tentatively titled Learning to be a Thinking Thing, which brings these themes together and is part of a larger project of retrieving the work of women philosophers and integrating them into the history of philosophy:

Professor Maite Taboada will be Acting Associate Dean, Research and International, through the Summer 2020 semester.