Former Vice-Dean, Graduate, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)
Faculty member, Geography
I have been at U of T since 1995. I started out as Director of the graduate Program in Planning based on the St. George campus. I also served as Graduate Chair of Geography for two years, and that was also a rewarding experience. So, it made sense to take on a Vice-Dean position at UTM. The most remarkable thing so far as Vice-Dean was my attempt to design and get approved a new professional graduate program at UTM, the MScSM (Master of Science in Sustainability Management). The program is very innovative because it puts science and social science students into the same classroom working together on science and management/financial/leadership problems. We are slated to admit our first students in the fall of 2014, which I am thrilled about.
There are several changes I've seen that I would single out. The first is the funding package for graduate students which is, in my experience, remarkable. The other main change has been the creation and support of really interesting and innovative graduate programs such as the Global Studies or the Applied Computer Science program—programs that span disciplines and provide professional experience to students. U of T is at the forefront of that kind of program.
I supervise several MA and PhD students every year as well as serving as an advisor to students in the Planning and Geography programs. I work very hard to ensure that the graduate students I supervise get intellectually and financially supported. I meet regularly with each of my graduate students. Many years I host a monthly meeting at my house where we read one or two papers that the students have written and discuss them as a group. This is a great way to ensure that they get regular feedback on their research and writing process and helps create a strong cohort.
I work with graduate students at UTM all the time. I try to get them to work together on events such as the graduate research night that we host every year. We run a small graduate orientation at UTM and try to entice graduate students to spend more of their time on our campus by making investments in their comfort and providing access to services.
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