News Release

Dr. Lorna Marsden to Serve as Expert Panel Chair on Women in University Research

The Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lorna Marsden as Chair of the Expert Panel on Women in University Research. Dr. Marsden is the author of several scholarly publications in the field of economic sociology and social change in Canada. As a respected sociologist and academic, Dr. Marsden’s appointment is a demonstration of the Council’s proven ability to attract the best minds from Canada and abroad.

Dr. Marsden is President Emeritus and Professor at York University in Toronto; and former President and Vice-chancellor of York University, and Wilfrid Laurier University. From 1975-77, Dr. Marsden served as President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and remains a member of the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women. She was named one of Canada’s 100 most Powerful Women each year from 2003-2007 and is now in their Hall of Fame. Read her full bio on the Council’s website.

After the notable absence of female representation in the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program, the Minister of Industry, in March 2010, struck an ad-hoc panel to examine the program’s selection process. Based on the panel’s finding that the lack of female representation was not due to active choices made during the CERC selection process, it was suggested that an expert assessment of gender equity within the wider university context and talent pool be undertaken by a third-party body. The Council was therefore asked to assemble an expert panel to conduct an evidence-based assessment on women in university research.

As Chair of the Expert Panel, Dr. Marsden will work with the Panel to examine which factors influence the career trajectory and statistical profile of women researchers in Canadian universities. This assessment will address the question posed by the Minister of Industry to the Council:

What policies and what societal, cultural, and institutional (e.g., universities, funding agencies), economic and/or other relevant factors (as determined by the Council’s Expert Panel) influence the career trajectory of women researchers in Canadian universities and underlie gender disparities observed in Canadian university researcher’s statistical profile, by discipline area, rank, duty/position/stature, salary, tenure, research funding and/or any other relevant indicators (as determined by the Expert Panel)?

The full composition of the Expert Panel will be announced on the Council’s website in early 2011.