Maite Taboada says that the best part of her Associate Dean’s position is the teamwork in the Dean’s office.

FASS News, Faculty, Linguistics

Maite Taboada wraps up Acting Associate Dean term

August 31, 2020
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Professor Maite Taboada finishes her eight-month term Acting Associate Dean, Research & International for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) on August 31. This was Taboada’s second stint in the role having served previously from September to December 2018.

“I joke that I’m going to take up a career in acting because I seem to be stepping into these acting roles,” she says. “I told myself, because I had done it before for a few months I knew what I was getting into. But none of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. COVID-19 has made it even more intense than I expected.”

Although she’s leaving the Dean’s office and returning to the Department of Linguistics, Taboada’s life will remain intense for a few months more. In September she is juggling teaching online with kids at home.

Taboada’s research spans the areas of discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics and computational linguistics. Her current work focuses on the analysis of online comments, combining insights from corpus linguistics, computational linguistics and big data. She is the director of the Discourse Processing Lab at SFU.

“Maite did a superb job of supporting our faculty members as Acting Associate Dean, Research and International,” says FASS Dean Jane Pulkingham. “My moniker for her is the ‘Mighty Maite’! During this time of unprecedented transition, Maite contributed greatly to our ability to adjust as nimbly as we have to working off-campus. Among other things, I am particularly grateful to Maite for her leadership role in rolling out the FASS Safety Plan. This is a period when all hands have been on deck, working together within, across and between our various portfolio responsibilities, to enable staff, faculty and students to continue in their work and studies. Maite stepped up to the challenge ‘and then some,’ approaching her acting appointment with full energy and commitment.”

Though she is stepping down from her administrative role, Taboada remains concerned about the consequences for research collaborations that require people to be in the same room. And she is empathetic with those in the SFU community whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic.

“I’ve heard of many, many cases of people with personal challenges, with work-life balance, with concerns about relatives, especially elderly relatives near and far,” Taboada says. “And instructors trying to support students who are also going through difficult times. Everybody just keeps going. It’s really been quite remarkable to see.”

In September, Professor Mary-Ellen Kelm of the Department of History assumes the position of Associate Dean, Research & International.