After 11 successful years on faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering, Professor Ken Elwood (PhD ’02, P.Eng.) will be leaving UBC to pursue exciting new opportunities at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he will take on a newly created position as “Chair in Earthquake Engineering”. Professor Elwood first joined UBC Civil Engineering as an Assistant Professor in 2003, and achieved the rank of Full Professor in 2013. As a student, Professor Elwood completed his BASc at UBC, making for a strong connection with the University and Vancouver. Citing this connection, Professor Elwood expresses the difficulty of his decision; but looks ahead to New Zealand’s unique opportunities in earthquake engineering, something he confesses he “just can’t pass up.”
Professor Elwood’s new position at the University of Auckland was developed in part to help the New Zealand Government address the recommendations arising from the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, an inquiry into the failure of buildings that occurred during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. As someone who experienced the destruction and aftermath of that earthquake first-hand (while attending a conference on seismic upgrading in Christchurch), Professor Elwood is keenly aware of the challenges facing Christchurch and is honored to contribute to the development of this research program.
Professor Elwood expresses appreciation for the opportunities he has enjoyed at UBC over the past 11 years; and likewise, his colleagues are deeply appreciative of the significant contributions he has made to the Department. Professor Vaziri, Department Head, calls this move “a great loss to our Department and University,” but wishes great success for Professor Elwood in his future endeavors. Looking ahead, Professor Elwood envisions a strengthening of ties and a further exchange of ideas, knowledge, and even students and visiting faculty between UBC and the University of Auckland, as a positive outcome of his departure.