Tom Dickinson was born and raised in Toronto and did his undergraduate training at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario. Upon completing an Honours BSc in Biology, Tom pursued an MSc at the University of Calgary, followed by doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. After receiving his PhD, Tom conducted post-doctoral research and taught at the University of Toronto. In 1989 he was hired by Cariboo College to be part of the transformation of that institution into the University College of the Cariboo (now known as Thompson Rivers University).
Throughout his academic training Tom has been interested in the behaviour and ecology of animals, principally birds. He is most well known for his research in animal communication, especially the evolution and function of vocalizations.
Since coming to TRU Tom has taught a broad diversity of courses ranging from general biology at the first year level to senior courses in conservation biology and evolution. He has also supervised several graduate students.
Tom is well known for his active community service, serving on the executive of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists for over a decade and representing the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists on the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Planning roundtable for 18 years. During this time Tom has made significant contributions to the conservation of land in provincial parks and the management of a variety of endangered species.
In 2003, Tom was given leave from his faculty position for three years to act as the University’s first Associate Vice President (Research) and helped develop the University’s Canada Research Chairs and the University’s Leading Edge Endowment Fund Chair program. After a short return to faculty, in 2009 Tom accepted a five year appointment as the Dean of Science. He still teaches introductory zoology, and animal behaviour and conducts research into the effects of human activity on BC’s wildlife.