Appointment of Professor Brian Cantwell Smith as Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies

PDAD&C #62, 2002-2003


TO:   Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
Faculty, Staff and Students of the Faculty of Information Studies
FROM:   Shirley Neuman, Vice-President and Provost
DATE:   June 4, 2003
RE:   Appointment of Professor Brian Cantwell Smith as Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies
cc:   The Bulletin

I am very pleased to announce that the Academic Board has approved the appointment of Professor Brian Cantwell Smith as Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies for a five year term, from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2008.

Professor Smith is a Canadian, originally from Montreal and Toronto, who received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT, studying in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. Smiths experience following his Doctorate has been as wide as it has been varied. He has held senior administrative and research positions at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and both academic and administrative positions at Stanford University, University of Indiana at Bloomington and at Duke University. His work is highly interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary, his scholarly interests ranging from Computer Science to Philosophy and from theory to application. Professor Smith has earned the highest respect of scholars in these fields; few people have gained the respect that he has across these intellectual boundaries or have the ability to move from theory to application as seamlessly as he does.

During the time he spent at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) he was responsible for the design and development of reflective and meta-level architectures, and the creation and management of two research areas and he participated on committees to set the overall PARC strategic research directions. His academic career began when he joined Stanford University as the founder and principal investigator for the Center for the Study of Language and Information and was an Associate Professor (consulting) in both the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Computer Science. During the time he spent at Indiana University after leaving Stanford, Dr. Smith was Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Assistant Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Professor of Informatics and a Fellow of the Center for Social Informatics in the School of Library and Information Sciences. He is currently at Duke University as Kimberly J. Jenkins University Professor of Philosophy and New Technologies, Director of the Centre for Reflection on Science and Technology and Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Computer Science.

Professor Smith also has an impressive record of teaching and research. He has been or is currently primary supervisor of seventeen Ph.D. students and six postdoctoral and visiting scientists, he has managed eight research projects (including one with an annual budget of $6 million) and is the holder of one patent. He is the author of ten technical reports, more than 35 articles and three books, including a seven-volume series entitled The Age of Significance: An Essay on the Origins of Computation and Intentionality, which has been accepted for publication by MIT Press. This work will reconstruct the foundations of computation, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. It will be published simultaneously on paper and on the world-wide-web, the latter at a rate of one chapter per month year-round for six years.

Professor Smith has an established reputation as an original, inventive thinker, an inspiring and supportive teacher and mentor and a very able administrator. His great breadth of knowledge has enabled him to work highly effectively in multidisciplinary settings. His colleagues speak of him as a true visionary who is able to get others enthused about ideas and working towards a shared vision. I have every confidence that he will be a superb leader for the Faculty of Information Studies and within the University of Toronto. While his appointment will be primarily in FIS, he will be also cross-appointed to the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Computer Science and the Program in Communication, Culture and Information Technology at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.