April 28, 2023

Dr. Penny Pexman departing UCalgary to join Western University as vice-president (research)

Celebrating 25 years of service to the University of Calgary
Penny Pexman
Penny Pexman.

It is with mixed emotion that I share with you today that Dr. Penny Pexman will be departing the University of Calgary to begin an appointment as vice-president (research) at Western University. She leaves her roles of associate vice-president (research) and professor in the Faculty of Arts with 25 years of service to the University of Calgary.

Penny is an incredible scholar, teacher, administrator, and colleague. She will be a great addition to the team at Western and is immensely deserving of this role. I know that I speak for many when I say that she will be missed. While we are sad to see Penny go, we are thrilled that she is taking this exciting next step in her career.

This appointment is a homecoming for Penny — she completed her BA, MA and PhD at Western before joining us at UCalgary as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in 1998. Since then, Penny has risen in her faculty, becoming a full professor in 2006 and holding roles of associate head of the Department of Psychology, and associate dean (research and graduate education) of the Faculty of Arts.

Penny is an internationally recognized researcher in cognitive development, psycholinguistics, and cognitive neuroscience. She founded the Language Processing Lab at UCalgary in 1998, and for the past two decades her research has been funded by both Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), including NSERC’s prestigious Discovery Accelerator Supplement in 2008. She has served on multiple national grant adjudication panels, including NSERC Discovery, Research Tools and Instruments, and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship committees.

Penny is a celebrated researcher and teacher, having received much deserved recognition throughout her career including eight teaching and mentorship awards, the Killam Annual Professorship, and the Mid-Career and Richard C. Tees Distinguished Leadership Awards from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science. Penny is also an elected Fellow of both the Canadian Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, and co-founded Women in Cognitive Science Canada.

In 2018, Penny was named an associate vice-president (research). During her time as an AVPR, she has been director of the Postdoctoral Program, chair of the Associate Deans Research Council, and served as our institutional SSHRC leader, acting as point of contact between SSHRC and the University of Calgary.

In our time as colleagues, I have known Penny to be a thoughtful, inspiring leader, who is greatly respected and admired by her peers. I know she will be an exemplary U15 VPR, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to serve alongside her at UCalgary.

Penny’s last day at UCalgary will be Aug. 31, 2023.

Please join me in congratulating Penny on her new appointment.

Dr. William Ghali
Vice-President (Research)