Dr. Gwen Chapman came to the University of Guelph in 2016 to serve as Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS), a role she held until she was named U of G’s Interim Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in August, 2020. Previously, Dr. Chapman was at the University of British Columbia where she was a professor in Food, Nutrition and Health and served as Associate Dean Academic of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Program Director of Food, Nutrition and Health.
Over the course of her academic career, Dr. Chapman built a research program exploring how people’s everyday food practices are shaped by socially constructed notions about food, health, bodies, and social roles. She is one of a handful of nutrition researchers worldwide whose study of food habits draws upon theoretical and methodological approaches from the social sciences, particularly in the use of qualitative research methods, rooted in sociological and anthropological traditions. Dr. Chapman’s research provides in-depth understanding of the processes through which social determinants such as gender, age, class, ethnicity and region produce nutrition and health inequities.
Much of Dr. Chapman’s research has been team-based and highly interdisciplinary. She has authored or co-authored 70 journal articles and is co-author of the book Acquired Tastes: Why Families Eat the Way They Do, based on an extensive study she co-led involving over 100 Canadian families from 10 communities across the country. Since moving to the University of Guelph, she has worked on collaborative research exploring how participation in a family-based health intervention influences gender relations and health work in heteronormative families, specifically parents’ roles, responsibilities, and actions regarding their own and their children’s health.
Dr. Chapman is an innovative educator and was an early adopter of blended teaching techniques that combine on-line and in-class teaching, as well other active learning approaches such as problem-based learning and community based experiential learning. Her excellence in teaching was recognized by UBC through the awarding of a Killam Teaching Prize.
Dr. Chapman’s leadership at CSAHS lead to numerous advancements in interdisciplinarity, internationalization, and inclusion. A new PhD program in Social Practice and Transformational Change was introduced, as well as a Masters in Conservation Leadership and a BA in Justice and Legal Studies.
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