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Professor Sarah Finkelstein is appointed the Chair of Earth Sciences for a five year term from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2026


In a memo to the Department of Earth Sciences and Academic and Administrative units, Melanie Woodin, Dean of Arts and Science announced the appointment of Professor Sarah Finkelstein and the next Chair of Earth Sciences.


Melanie Woodin, Dean


Appointment of Chair, Department of Earth Sciences

 I am pleased to announce that the Agenda Committee of Academic Board has approved the appointment of Professor Sarah Finkelstein as Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences for a five-year term from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2026.

Professor Sarah Finkelstein holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, an M Phil from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD from the University of Toronto (2004). She held an NSERC post-doctoral fellowship prior to joining the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor of Geography in 2006. Professor Finkelstein was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. She transferred her appointment to the Department of Earth Sciences in 2012. Professor Finkelstein holds non-budgetary graduate cross-appointments to the Departments of Geography and Planning, A&S, and Physical and Environmental Sciences, UTSC.

Professor Finkelstein is a paleoecologist and paleoclimatologist with research interests in long-term wetland development, carbon cycling in wetlands, using pollen and other microfossil proxies for tracking long-term environmental changes, and the application of paleoecological knowledge to land use planning and to minimizing climate risks. Her research, consistently funded by NSERC and other granting agencies, has focused primarily on ecosystems of Arctic and Boreal Canada, most recently the extensive peatlands of the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands. She has published nearly 60 peer-reviewed articles over the course of her career. Professor Finkelstein has also served as President of the Canadian Quaternary Association (2013-2015) and has been a Research Associate, Royal Ontario Museum (2015-2020).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the current Chair, Russ Pysklywec, who is completing his second term as Chair in June. In his ten years of service as Chair, Professor Pysklywec built the new Earth Sciences department, inspiring colleagues to coalesce around a new vision for the discipline and curriculum, increased undergraduate enrolment, developed global field learning programs, and fostered an inclusive and welcoming community, while continuing to excel in his own teaching, research and professional service. His dedication, good humour and collegiality have made an indelible mark on the department. Please join me in thanking Russ Pysklywec for his service.

Please also join me in welcoming Professor Finkelstein to her new role.