Suárez tapped to lead non-STEM efforts

Western professor Juan Luis Suárez has been named Associate Vice-President (Research), a position university officials envision providing unprecedented support for scholarship in the social sciences, arts and humanities, Research Western announced today. Luis Suárez’s five-year term begins July 1.

“This role puts us more in line with other major, research-intensive universities in having that layer of expertise and support. There has been some concern that some areas at Western were not as strongly represented,” said John Capone, Vice-President (Research).

“Scholarship and research in non-STEM disciplines is different than in the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas. Having someone who is immersed in that way of thinking is important from the university’s perspective, at the leadership level, so we can best foster scholarship and research in those areas.”

The newly created role will work in collaboration with Computer Science, Biology and Statistics & Actuarial Science professor Mark Daley, who holds the same title in the Office of the Vice-President (Research) and represents the STEM side of the research coin at Western.



Suárez, a professor in both Modern Languages and Literature and Computer Sciences, holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from McGill University, and a PhD in Philosophy from the Universidad de Salamanca. He holds a number of other advanced degrees, including an executive MBA.

Suárez came to Western in 1999 and was promoted to full professor in 2007. An internationally recognized scholar in his field, his research interests are on 16th– and 17th-Century globalization, current sectors affected by digital innovation, and on cultural analytics and digital humanities. He is currently the director of the CulturePlex Laboratory, which explores how culture affects the spread of ideas and changes the ways people think and behave.

“Juan Luis is a creative, multidisciplinary collaborator who has established extensive and wide-ranging, international connections,” Capone noted. “Much of his multidisciplinary work involves using big-data analytics, digital innovation and engagement with companies and organizations to help them better understand and adjust to the digital world. He is also an entrepreneur, having developed software tools for creative industries, and was the co-founder of Milao Language, a language learning start-up.”

Suárez’s role also aims to foster collaborative partnerships in different areas, “which is not easy to do sometimes,” Capone continued.

“Juan Luis has a strong background in his areas of expertise, but it extends beyond that into areas that add much to the depth of the work he is doing. He’s developed partnerships not only locally but internationally and he’s got a strong external profile,” Capone added.

“One of the key areas of the role is to foster that inclusiveness across the university, to ensure there are places to go for everyone to seek assistance and support in what they’re doing, to value what they’re doing, and to guide them also into opportunities.

“The big questions we’re facing in the world are going to involve input from multiple areas and not only within universities, but from external communities, globally with governments, the private sector, and if we’re going to have an impact and make a difference, this is key.”