June 30, 2021Print | PDF
Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed Michael Woodford as the acting dean of the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work. Woodford will serve as acting dean beginning July 1, 2021 until the dean search is completed and the successful candidate commences their appointment.
Woodford currently serves as professor and associate dean of Laurier’s PhD program in social work. As associate dean, he implemented several key initiatives, including the PhD Student Learning Series and PhD Research Colloquium. He first joined the Laurier community in 2014 as associate professor. He has served in various service roles, including as faculty colleague of the Gendered Violence Taskforce, and worked closely with colleagues to implement Laurier’s gender inclusive housing and washrooms initiatives.
“I look forward to welcoming Dr. Woodford to his new role and seeing his skills as a leader thrive,” said Tony Vannelli, vice-president: academic. “We are grateful for his support during this time of transition for the faculty.”
Prior to joining the Laurier community, Woodford served as assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan and held several other roles at that time, including as faculty fellow of the National Center for Institutional Diversity. Woodford was also previously a visiting professor at the University of Toronto.
“Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work is engaged in ground-breaking research and teaching that promotes social justice, inclusion, and wellbeing among marginalized communities. As acting dean, I am honoured to continue working closely with FSW students, staff and faculty as we work toward reconciliation, decolonization, and dismantling racism and other oppressive systems that affect health and wellbeing,” Woodford said.
Woodford worked as a front-line social worker, administrator and consultant in the non-profit, public and private sectors before starting his career in higher education. With research interests in the social exclusion/inclusion, wellbeing and resilience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, Two-Spirit, and other gender and sexually diverse people (LGBTQ2S+) people, he is widely recognized for his expertise in LGBTQ2S+ microaggressions and victimization; LGBTQ2S+ campus climate; and wellbeing, mental health, academic development and resilience among LGBTQ2S+ youth. His work also addresses LGBTQ2S+ inclusive healthcare, LGBTQ2S+ attitudes and HIV prevention among vulnerable groups.
Woodford’s numerous research projects have been supported through grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and other sources. A popular contributor to internationally renowned journals including Diversity in Higher Education, the Journal of College Student Development, Medical Education and Sexuality Research and Social Policy, he is also a six-time recipient of Laurier’s Merit Award in recognition of outstanding/superior performance in teaching, research or other scholarly activities.
Woodford obtained his PhD in social work from the University of Toronto and his MSW in social policy and administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Woodford succeeds current Faculty of Social Work Dean Dawn Buzza, who finishes her term.
“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Dr. Buzza for her outstanding service,” said Vannelli. “She is a valued member of our university and her contributions to the faculty were impactful during her tenure as dean.”
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