Dean Jonathan Schaeffer appointed for second term

Bold vision and strategic leadership supporting faculty-wide success points to continued growth.

Jennifer Pascoe - 16 December 2016

With a bold vision to "shape the future," Jonathan Schaeffer, Dean of the Faculty of Science, has experienced the extreme highs and lows associated with leading the University of Alberta's largest undergraduate faculty.

"Jonathan Schaeffer is a determined, purposeful, and energetic leader." -Steven Dew, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), University of Alberta

Always with his eye on the long-game--the soaring success of the Faculty he proudly calls the "crown jewel" of the U of A--Schaeffer has had to make some tough decisions over the past four-and-a-half years, most notably shepherding the Faculty through the turmoil of massive budget cuts in 2013. However, with Schaeffer's well-established track record of succeeding in the face of adversity, that formidable opponent didn't stand a chance against the world-renowned expert in computer games and artificial intelligence.

"Jonathan Schaeffer is a determined, purposeful, and energetic leader," says Steven Dew, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) of the University of Alberta. "Under his leadership, the Faculty of Science developed an ambitious strategic five-year plan illustrating Jonathan's commitment to innovation in teaching and learning, research excellence and knowledge transfer, undergraduate and graduate recruitment, retention, and completion; community engagement; and administrative and financial change."

A successful mix of inspiration and perspiration

Appointed July 1, 2012, Schaeffer challenged his team with what he affectionately calls "big hairy audacious goals," pushing the nearly 300 faculty members and hundreds of staff in seven departments beyond their comfort zone to aim higher and continually strive for success.

With what he calls a mixture of inspiration and perspiration, Schaeffer has pioneered some major initiatives for the Faculty of Science--to name a few, Glyconet, part of the national Network of Centres of Excellence, twelve massive open online courses offering University of Alberta expertise to students anywhere around the world for free, tripling the size of science summer camps to inspire the next generation of scientists, and more than doubling annual fundraising from $6M to $14M.

Throughout his tenure, Schaeffer has shown an unwavering commitment to providing a competitive edge to the more than 6000 undergraduate and 1100 graduate students. As a result, Faculty of Science graduates are well positioned for future success in the global community. With his reappointment for a second term, Schaeffer will serve as Dean until June 30, 2022.