New dean to lead UVic Engineering and Computer Science

Mina Hoorfar stands facing the camera with trees and a flowering bush in the background.
Mina Hoorfar visits the University of Victoria campus ahead of her official July start date.

2021 June – Mina Hoorfar, an academic leader and engineer known for her inspired teaching, highly collaborative approach to research, and strong advocacy of equity, diversity and inclusion, has been appointed as the next dean of UVic’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.

Hoorfar begins her five-year term on July 1. She joins UVic after 15 years as a professor in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO), leading the unit of more than 2,000 students and about 65 faculty over the last six years.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Hoorfar to the UVic community,” says Vice-President Academic and Provost Valerie Kuehne. “Her considerable experience, valued perspectives and strong leadership will be considerable assets to the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, to Deans’ Council, and to the University of Victoria as a whole.”

Hoorfar is recognized as a top researcher and educator in advanced thermofluidics, partnering with industry on high-impact research and real-life solutions. As head of UBC’s Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Laboratory, Hoorfar’s work has led to advancements in energy, health and the environment in areas such as: monitoring water quality to detect pathogens; enriching natural gas with hydrogen to reduce its carbon footprint; and developing wearable sensors to track disease.

With her highly effective and engaging approach, Hoorfar has consistently gained recognition for her teaching through numerous awards. She’s a trusted mentor to her students, and has lived experience addressing issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion—having faced challenges herself, especially in the early years of her education.

Hoorfar earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, then moved to Canada in 1998 to pursue a Master’s and PhD at the University of Toronto. She has collaborated and worked at research labs around the world, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford and UC Berkeley. In 2020, Hoofrar became President of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME), where she is also a fellow.

Over the years, Hoorfar’s work has been recognized with many awards. A few of these include: the CSME Emerging Technologies Medal (2021); from BCBusiness, BC’s Most Influential Women (2018); the President’s Teaching Award of Excellence from Engineers and Geoscientists BC (2017); and UBC’s Researcher of the Year (2016).

“I look forward to taking on this important role at one of Canada’s leading schools of engineering and computer science. The faculty is in a tremendous period of growth and the plans to expand our teaching, learning and research spaces will propel us forward. I’m passionate about working to build on our niche strengths and to position the faculty to attract top students and researchers. My vision is to make UVic Engineering and Computer Science top in its class.”

Kuehne thanked and acknowledged Peter Wild for his many contributions during his past three years as acting dean. Wild championed the faculty’s name change, from the Faculty of Engineering to the more inclusive Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, which will be rolled out this summer and early fall. Wild also played a critical role supporting equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives within the faculty, and provided effective and steady leadership throughout the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

2021Jun07 AT