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SIS Opening Announcement from the Dean

December 22, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

The past few years have been difficult for the Faculty of Science as all members of the Faculty – faculty members, staff and students – have worked hard to understand our operations and use our resources more efficiently in a challenging environment. This work will continue as some challenges remain and others will come. Despite this, we have continued to strive to develop our students’ potential, explore the boundaries of scientific knowledge, and contribute to our communities. I thank you for your continued dedication and hard work to fulfill the Faculty’s vision as identified in our Academic Plan:  to make McMaster’s Faculty of Science the leading Faculty of Science in Canada.

The year 2016 will see us reaching a tangible and significant milestone in achieving that vision – the creation of the School of Interdisciplinary Science (SIS). Creating the School was a key recommendation of the Faculty of Science Academic Planning Committee, which was struck in fall 2013 and reported in the fall of 2014. The Committee saw the School as a way to strengthen interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, and spread effective new pedagogical techniques and classroom approaches throughout the Faculty.

Scheduled to open January 1, 2016, the School will aim to be a national and international centre for interdisciplinary science education. Its inaugural Director, Maureen MacDonald, Kinesiology, and her team, have been hard at work over the fall to have SIS ready for its opening. The establishment of the School is the culmination of many hours of hard work from many people in the Faculty and University. I thank them for their efforts.

SIS brings together four Faculty programs: Honours Integrated Science, Life Sciences, Medical Physics and Medical Radiation Sciences. It will be home to a large percentage of our undergraduate students. It will also bring together faculty members and staff from different departments and backgrounds, and I am very excited and pleased with the very positive and energetic approach all of these people bring to the School.  The School was created with the mandate to foster exploration and discovery while emphasizing experiential, collaborative and student-centred learning. I look forward to seeing SIS develop as its members seek innovative ways to prepare students for 21st century careers by integrating core academic subjects, the latest research discoveries, interdisciplinary themes, and essential skills development with effective instructional approaches. I also look forward to seeing the results of these efforts influence and strengthen the Faculty’s other Units.

The new School of Interdisciplinary Science will be located in General Sciences Building, Room 105, come January 4, 2016. A website should be available soon. We will provide more details about SIS as they become available.

Thank you again for your contributions throughout the year.

Happy holidays and all the best for 2016.

Robert Baker
Dean of Science