Remembering Rod Dobell

Rod Dobell

Republished with permission from the Centre for Global Studies.

We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our colleague and friend, Dr. Rod Dobell. At the Centre for Global Studies, we are feeling grief and gratitude. Grief because of the huge loss of intellect, guidance, eldership and friendship. Gratitude because we were blessed to have known and been shaped by such an incredibly kind and generous human being. Our thoughts and love go out to Rod’s family and to all of you who share in this loss. 

A.R. (Rod) Dobell was born in Vancouver, BC and took BA and MA degrees at the University of British Columbia in economics and mathematics before going on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his PhD in economics. After a five-year appointment as Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University, he returned to Canada as Associate Professor of Mathematics and Political Economy, and subsequently Professor of Political Economy, at the University of Toronto. There he served as a member of the founding faculty of the Institute for Policy Analysis, directed a research project that analyzed and recommended a system for financing post-secondary education in which students' loan repayments depended on their future earnings, and developed some of the first working models for longitudinal microsimulation methods in the analysis of social policy.  

Rod then alternated between academic work and public policy, with six years in the Government of Canada (including appointments as Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Finance for long-range economic planning and as Deputy Secretary for Planning in the Treasury Board Secretariat). This was followed by two years (1976-78) at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as Director of the General Economics Branch, seven years as Director of the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria, and a seven-year term as President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. He returned to the University of Victoria in 1991 to take up the first appointment to the Francis G. Winspear Chair for Research in Public Policy, an appointment he held until 1997. In fact, he was among the founding faculty at the UVic School of Public Administration, serving as its director from 1977-1984. He was also an advisor to the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance since its beginnings in 2000, a role he continued until 2022. 

Read the full tribute on the Centre for Global Studies site.