Three-minutes with… Salwa Karboune, Associate Dean (Research)



Meet Salwa Karboune, Macdonald’s new Associate Dean (Research), a role she took on September 1. A professor in the Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry, Salwa teaches courses in food product development, food packaging, and sensory evaluation. Her main research expertise is in the design and development of new approaches for the synthesis of novel functional food ingredients to improve the quality and functionality of food products. Salwa is also the mentor of several of Macdonald’s award-winning food development teams.


Q: You are much more than a university professor. How would you describe yourself? What are your hobbies and interests and why did you become a university professor?

I am a mom of two lovely boys, a caring daughter, a sister, a happy wife (married for more than 16 years) and a devoted friend. I am dedicated to making science education stimulating and enjoyable.

As I tell my students, I am a demanding supervisor but I am a dedicated one. I would describe myself as being very determined, passionate, team driven and easy-going –and I love a challenge! I believe that learning is an endless process, and the university is the best place to be. I feel fortunate to have such a workplace and to have wonderful students and fantastic colleagues (scientists) – I learn something new every day.

“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.” ~Vernon Howard

I enjoy cooking, reading, hosting friends and being out with my two boys and have always been interested in travel, and discovering new cultures/foods. The love of travelling started in my early childhood and must have come from my father, a passionate traveller himself.

Born in Morocco, I lived in France and Belgium before coming to Canada. Living in many countries has taught me to be open to others. I have always had a passion for science, knowledge and education. I was asked many times by my students if I believed, when I was a student, that I would become a university professor. I realized that many decisions I made in my early education and career paths contributed to my efforts to succeed as a university professor. So certainly, it was the case!

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as Associate Dean (Research)?

I am tremendously proud of our Faculty’s dedication to research and of the high research calibre we have in our Faculty. I feel fortunate to be part of this Faculty and to contribute to it.

In my new role, I want to work with my colleagues in a collegial and collaborative manner to promote research excellence and to grow collaborative, complementary research programs by engaging, empowering and involving faculty members in the process.  It will be stimulating and fun to build new, active platforms where colleagues and collaborators will interact like never before.  I’m also looking forward to building and participating in mentorship programs for junior colleagues, providing top-notch research support to faculty members, promoting Faculty interests within the University, expanding our research programs internationally, and increasing our visibility and industry partnerships.

But really, my initial short-term goal is to learn more about my colleagues’ research programs. While I am very familiar with research going on in some departments, I still have a lot to learn from others; I   realize that there is tremendous multidisciplinary research taking place at Macdonald, and this is one of our core strengths.  There are tremendous opportunities for our Faculty to build on these strengths and to address challenges that will have a profound impact on society.

Q: What do you as a teaching innovator see for the future of research, especially where it relates to the student experience?

The training of students and research are inseparable components in higher education. Promoting innovative research will certainly enhance the student experience.  At the end of the day, these scholars are our future researchers, professors, and leaders.

Q: Over the last few years, you have mentored several of the award-winning food development teams. What did you learn from that experience?

Dedication and commitment are the keys to success. The first year, we entered the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Food Product Development Competition, I was told that we were wasting our time, that other universities had much richer resources for this type of activity. While this was certainly the case, the creativity of our students, our dedication and our commitment to making it happen won the day. To be honest, I enjoyed this experience as much as the students did.  Getting the product developed and into the competition was a steep-learning curve for all of us. The students grew tremendously during this project, as did I.  The bar has been set very high for this year’s students, but I believe we are all up to the challenge.

Q: What objectives have you set for yourself over the next five years?

I am hoping to continue on the same path:  to enjoy my work – to contribute actively to research and my students’ success, and to serve my Faculty – and most importantly,  to keep my family healthy and happy.

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