Engineering Dean Hrymak named new Provost

Paul Mayne // Western News

One of the university’s longest-serving deans has been tapped to lead the academic and budgetary affairs of the institution into the future.

Western Engineering Dean Andrew Hrymak will become the Provost & Vice-President (Academic), effective Aug. 1, following the approval of his appointment by Western’s Board of Governors. The current provost, Janice Deakin, steps down from the post in July.

“This is a wonderful opportunity. I am proud of, and grateful to, the many faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who have all contributed to our success at Western Engineering. And this is just the beginning,” Hrymak said. “I am looking forward, in my new role, to partnering with colleagues across campus to build on the great work Janice Deakin has done, as well as respond to the changing role and expectations all universities are facing.

“At Western, we are not only up for the challenge, but have the talent in place to make the Western Experience even stronger for everyone.”

Under Hrymak’s leadership, spanning almost a decade, Western Engineering has seen an increase in undergraduate and graduate enrolment, industry partnerships, alumni activities and outreach initiatives. He has also overseen the construction of a landmark new building, ThreeC+, as well as the WindEEE Dome at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Park. He also forged a number of cross-campus partnerships, including ones with Ivey Business School and Western Law.

“As a dean, I am impressed with Andy’s recognition of the importance of universities as thought leaders,” said Erika Chamberlain, Western Law dean and a member of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) Selection Committee. “He identified one of Western’s strengths as our capacity to tackle societal problems from a wide range of disciplinary lenses. He is committed to fostering a collaborative research culture, and he backs that up with a strong record of partnerships across Western’s faculties, including a unique dual program with Law.”

Throughout his two terms as dean, Hrymak worked with his team to increase opportunities for women in engineering through participation in activities such as Go ENG Girl, Girls Club and Hydro One’s Women In Engineering University Partnership with Ryerson University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo.

He played a key leadership role in securing a long-term research collaboration between Western and the Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology in the area of composite technologies. This joint venture – the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research @ Western – represents the first comprehensive initiative between a Canadian university and an institute of Fraunhofer.

“Andy understands the potential of this university community,” said Western President Amit Chakma. “Already a highly-regarded expert and leader within his field, he has demonstrated the desire and commitment that will make him a strong, creative leader as provost. He does not shy away from ambitious goals.”

In his interviews, Hrymak impressed the committee with “his passion for Western and his high capacity for strategic thinking. He has exceptional analytic skills, is effective at building collaborations and has an impressive track record leading change,” the committee wrote.

Further, committee members indicated he had developed outstanding strategic initiatives that have raised Western’s status as a research institution.

Hrymak holds a BEng degree from McMaster University and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. His principal areas of specialization are polymer and materials processing, computational fluid dynamics and process design and simulation.

Hrymak, who started as Engineering dean on July 1, 2009, was recruited from McMaster where he was a professor and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, as well as director of the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute.

He has held leadership positions in professional organizations, chaired major international conferences and served as an editor for two journals. He has been recognized through fellowships by the Chemical Institute of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

At Western, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) is the chief academic officer, with primary responsibilities for the academic and budgetary affairs of the university. Responsibilities within the position’s vast portfolio include senior executive oversight of all academic units, including deans; institutional planning and budgeting; academic quality assurance; faculty relations; student recruitment and registration; the campus library system; international relations; and information technology services.

Deakin, one of the longest-serving provosts among Canada’s U15 universities, announced in May she would step down from her role July 31. She has served as provost since 2010.