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After 30 years at McMaster, Dean of Social Sciences Charlotte Yates is ready to turn a new page. Following a lengthy series of interviews, Yates was recently offered the position of Provost and Vice-President of Academics at the University of Guelph.

The decision to accept the post as the University of Guelph’s highest academic officer was a difficult one for Yates.

“I have a deep commitment to McMaster and in particular to the Faculty of Social Sciences. I have many close colleagues who I will miss seeing day-to-day,” she said. “I will [also] miss the Social Sciences students who I think are doing wonderful work, and are set to change the world in which we live. There are so many times during the year when I connect with the students and am inspired by their tenacity, integrity and intelligence.”

In particular, Yates said she would miss the Department of Labour Studies, a department she was instrumental in starting. Yates also said she would miss her meetings with graduate students at the Westdale café My Dog Joe.

Looking back on her three decades at McMaster, Yates identified three accomplishments of which she is especially proud. Throughout her time at McMaster, she has worked with members of the greater Hamilton community and helped groups typically not engaged by a university environment find a place at the university. She has also been an instrumental force in the planning of the new L. R. Wilson Hall, and while she is somewhat disappointed that it will not be complete until after she has left McMaster, she plans to visit when the building opens.

As evidenced by her support of Wilson Hall, Yates has always stressed the relevance of the Social Sciences.

“I believe that I have built recognition of the incredibly important research, teaching and citizenship contributions made to McMaster University by the Faculty of Social Sciences,” she said. Yates’ contributions to her faculty are numerous. One of her more notable publications was a 2014 report on the equitability of McMaster’s treatment and inclusion of female faculty members.

While Yates will miss many parts of Hamilton and the McMaster community, she is also looking forward to taking on her new role.

“I knew I was ready for a new challenge, and the position of Provost at U of G offers me that opportunity at a university whose values and mission are consonant with my own,” she said. “At Guelph, I will be working with an amazing group of faculty and staff, many of whom are accomplished women. This is an exciting opportunity for me.” She is also excited to work with the U of G community on current issues of importance to faculty, staff, and students.

Yates has ties to McMaster that no job change can sever. However, her desire to work through the challenges that come with her new position as the University of Guelph Provost prove she is the right person for the job.

“My impression of the University of Guelph is that it has a certain kind of magic that revolves around a deep commitment to community and a sense of belonging amongst students,” she said. “I want to understand and contribute to that magic.”

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