Dean Toyoda to leave Suffolk in June, CAS looking for new dean

Maria Toyoda
Courtesy of Suffolk University

Maria Toyoda Courtesy of Suffolk University

Maria Toyoda, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), will be leaving Suffolk University at the end of the year to serve as the senior vice president of academic affairs and provost of Western New England University, according to officials.

Suffolk Provost Julie Sandell announced the change in an April 1 email to students. In the email, Sandell spoke of Toyoda’s leadership of CAS and how she will be missed by the university.

“[Toyoda] has built a strong team of leaders within the College that has successfully tackled complex administrative endeavors, and she has facilitated collaborations for faculty and educational opportunities for students beyond the bounds of the College,” Sandell wrote. “She has worked tirelessly to help us navigate the challenges of the pandemic, and we will miss her partnership in all of these activities.”

Toyoda came to Suffolk in 2015 after working as the associate dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Initiatives and a political science professor at Villanova University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Her political science research focuses mainly on East Asian politics and the political economy of finance. She is also a professor in the Suffolk department of political science.

Toyoda said she decided to come to Suffolk after an interaction she had with a group of students a few years before she was selected as a dean.

“I was down in Costa Rica overseeing a study abroad program and I spent the day with a group of students that I assumed were Villanova students. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized they were not,” Toyoda said. “I asked where they were from and they said Suffolk. They were such amazing students that I had to look up Suffolk.”

Toyoda explained that when she was contacted about the open position of CAS dean at Suffolk, she thought back to that story and decided to apply.

Western New England University (WNE) President Robert Johnson said in a statement that Toyoda’s experience will be key to the future of his university.

“We are honored to have Dr. Toyoda join us at an important inflection point in the history of Western New England University,” said Johnson. “Her expertise and leadership will be instrumental as WNE stakes its position as a model for the New Traditional University, one that provides an education grounded in professional studies, enhanced by the liberal arts, and renowned for mentored research that produces graduates who are work ready and world ready.”

In an email to The Suffolk Journal, Sandell stated that an interim dean would be chosen for the 2021-2022 school year, and the university would begin searching for someone to permanently fill the position. Sandell said the search process will start this summer and will include input from students, faculty and staff.

“The search process will be led by a search committee, with the assistance of professionals who are experienced in identifying and recruiting potential deans,” Sandell said in the email. “Early in the search process, the search committee will consult with students, faculty and staff about the kind of experience and qualities we hope to find in our next dean. The search process usually takes the better part of an academic year.”

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