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The dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science has accepted a new role at York University

Amir Asif will become vice-president of research and innovation at York University on May 1, 2020
November 26, 2019
By A. von Finckenstein

The current dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, Amir Asif, will be leaving Concordia on May 1, 2020, to take on the role of vice president, research and innovation at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

“This appointment is well-deserved recognition of Dean Asif’s strategic vision and his strength as a leader,” says Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic. “I am happy for Dean Asif but sad for Concordia. During his five years at Concordia, Dean Asif has contributed in significant ways to the success of the Gina Cody School. He will be missed.”

In 2014-2015, Asif played a key role in the University’s strategic directions process, which in turn led to the creation of the faculty’s strategic plan. Aptly named, “Inspiring a New Generation of Engineers and Computer Scientists”, the plan aims to propel the Gina Cody School to a position as a world leader in training the next generation of engineers and computer scientists to advance integrated technology.

An important outcome of the plan was the creation of Concordia’s Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. Launched in May 2017, it was the first university department in Quebec and the second in Canada to offer students the opportunity to examine new chemicals and materials on a continuum for improved sustainability and a greener world while seeking to provide greater opportunities for women, members of visible minorities and Indigenous students.

During Asif’s time as dean, the Gina Cody School experienced continued growth and momentum. In collaboration with departmental chairs, Asif developed a five-year strategic enrolment plan for the Faculty that saw student enrolment in engineering and computer science grow by 35 per cent and the faculty complement by more than 40 per cent. In addition, 10 new academic programs and nine interdisciplinary research centres focusing on next-gen technologies were established during his deanship.

Asif was also instrumental in attracting research funding to Concordia by establishing successful collaborations between the public and private sectors — examples of which are the Mitacs-Ericsson Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA) research initiative in Montreal, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities (CERC), and the NSERC Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Network.

Overall, research funding in engineering and computer science increased by more than 50 per cent during Asif’s term as dean.

In 2018, the faculty was renamed the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science as part of the largest gift ever received by the university.

More recently Concordia was ranked among the top 10 best programs in both engineering and computer science disciplines in Canada in the Maclean's 2020 University Rankings.

“Clearly, the world is sitting up and taking notice,” Whitelaw says. “We are proud of everything the Gina Cody School has accomplished under Amir’s leadership.”

The search for a new dean will be launched shortly. An interim dean will be appointed in the coming weeks.

“I will always be thankful to Concordia for the leadership opportunity it provided me,” Asif says. “In the five months before my departure, I assure you that I will double my efforts to ensure a seamless transition with no impact whatsoever on our ongoing academic journey towards excellence.”

“Moving forward, I will remain an active ambassador for the university. I also think that there is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties between Concordia and York as two of the most forward-looking universities in the country.”


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