J. Mark Walton - professor of pediatric surgery
J. Mark Walton, a professor of pediatric surgery, has been appointed as the inaugural associate dean of faculty affairs for the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.
This is a new position that will provide guidance to the Faculty's dean and vice-president on faculty issues, professional development and engagement.
As such, Walton will oversee a strategy aimed at furthering the success, well-being and academic advancement of faculty members.
"It is both exciting and a little unnerving, as I want to meet people's expectations," said Walton, who starts the five-year appointment on July 1. "I think it will be great interacting with faculty members, as well as with the leadership in the deanship and chairs. We have a great opportunity here to further build on McMaster's reputation."
After training at the University of Alberta, Dalhousie and Ottawa, Walton joined McMaster in 1993 as an assistant professor of surgery and associate member of pediatrics. He became a professor of surgery in 2007.
He is an active staff member at the McMaster Children's Hospital of Hamilton Health Sciences, and serves as a courtesy staff member at Credit Valley Hospital and St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.
Among his notable academic contributions to McMaster is his role as assistant dean of postgraduate medical education for 12 years from 2004 to 2016. During that time the postgraduate medical program grew to more than 60 accredited training programs and more than 1,000 postgraduate residents and fellows.
"This seems like a natural extension of that position, as I dealt with residents, training programs and faculty," Walton said. "I learned a lot during those years that will help me shape this position and make it my own."
He says that his years of experience in both the halls of McMaster and hospitals have helped him gain a thorough understanding of the factors of workplace culture.
"I want to ensure people across our network feel valued," said Walton. "I also want to see widespread inclusiveness, equity, diversity, and a focus on aboriginal and indigenous health. I hope we can bring awareness to those matters and push them forward."
He notes good communication is key to keeping his finger on the pulse of the faculty.
"In order to have credibility, I have to be accessible and listen to the challenges some of the faculty members have," Walton said. "I have always had an open door policy no matter what role I have been in. I pride myself on being a good listener and I always have time to hear good ideas."
Paul O'Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said the new position was created to keep workplace culture at the forefront.
"We recognize there is an opportunity for someone to oversee our Faculty's core values," said O'Byrne. "As associate dean, faculty affairs, Dr. Walton will promote and champion an environment of professionalism, inclusivity, fairness, equity and diversity."
Susan Denburg, associate vice-president academic of the Faculty of Health Sciences, championed the role. She said Walton is well-suited for its varied responsibilities.
"Dr. Walton is someone who bridges the Faculty and hospital environments well. He has a high degree of credibility and experience in the areas of professionalism and inter-professionalism," she said. "His extensive experience, interpersonal skills, respect for diversity and positive approach make him a good fit for this new position."