Dr. Sheila Embleton, FRSC, is a Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics, York University. She was VP Academic & Provost (2000-2009), Associate Dean of Arts (1994-2000), Chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (2004-2008) and of the National Vice-Presidents Academic Council (2006-2007). Since January 2023, she has been Interim President & Vice-Chancellor at Laurentian University of Sudbury.
Her academic background and graduate work is in both mathematics (BSc, MSc, U of Toronto) and linguistics (PhD, U of Toronto). Her areas of scholarly interest are historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, mathematical/statistical methods in linguistics, and onomastics; she has published extensively in all these areas. Her areas of language specialization include English, German, Germanic, French, Romance, Russian, Slavic, Finnish and Finno-Ugric. She is best known for applications of mathematical and statistical methods to linguistic problems broadly, with early work mostly in methods of tree reconstruction for families of related languages. Her current research is mostly on dialectometry (statistical methods applied to dialect study), with particular application to British, Finnish, Romanian, and Chinese dialects.
She is Past-President of the Canadian Society for the Study of Names, the American Name Society, the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, the Linguistic Association of Canada and the US (LACUS), the International Quantitative Linguistics Association, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, the Canada India Education Council, and the Canadian Friends of Finland Education Foundation. She is currently Executive Director of LACUS and President of the Academy of Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada, member of the Ontario Geographical Names Board (Chair), and formerly of Mitacs, Mprime Networks, Canadian Bureau for International Education, TOEFL (Princeton, NJ), TOEFL Committee of Examiners, and the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences (Chair 2015-18).
She has won many awards for her academic contributions, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (for promoting academic and cultural ties between Canada and Finland), Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA, London), Senior Fellow of Massey College (U of Toronto), Invited Member of Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura (Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki), and the Bernice Schrank Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers.