Karl Cottenie
Dr. Karl Cottenie

Following an announcement from the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Dr. Karl Cottenie has been appointed associate dean (graduate studies) for a three-year term that began July 1.

Cottenie joined the Department of Integrative Biology in 2005, and has served as its graduate program coordinator for the past eight years. “In that capacity, he led multiple initiatives that earned him respect within his department and beyond,” says Dr. Ben Bradshaw, assistant vice-president (graduate studies).

Bradshaw highlighted specific projects of Cottenie’s including a mentorship program, with graduate students serving as mentors, to help senior undergraduates better see opportunities in graduate studies; the restructuring of the department’s graduate studies website to make graduate program requirements and processes more transparent, and ultimately improve program governance; and a quantification of gender bias in the department’s ranking of graduate student scholarship applications, which resulted in changes in review and adjudication processes.

“I especially look forward to working to address barriers that graduate students from underrepresented communities experience during their studies, and thereby build upon that which I sought to achieve at the departmental level,” says Cottenie.

As a key element of his research program, which focuses on freshwater community ecology, Cottenie has advised over 20 graduate students. He has served on advisory committees of more than 40 others. As shared on his personal research website, Cottenie views the supervision of graduate students as an adaptive science, and one that benefits from explicit attention to expectations of both student and advisor.

In addition to contributing to supervisory excellence across campus, Cottonie will promote professional development opportunities for graduate students, especially through the use of Individual Development Plans, and the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion across graduate studies, from recruitment and admissions through to graduate policies and procedures.

Bradshaw, who chaired the search committee tasked with recommending a candidate to provost Dr. Gwen Chapman, expressed his appreciation to the committee, whose members were:

  • Nicole Berardi, president, Graduate Students’ Association
  • Petrina Hammond, records officer, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Leonid Brown, associate dean, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Sally Hickson, interim associate dean, College of Arts
  • Dr. Graham Holloway, professor, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, College of Biological Science

A celebration of outgoing associate dean, Dr. Teresa Crease, will be scheduled for later this fall. Members of the graduate studies community will be welcomed to express their appreciation for her outstanding service over the past six years.