Announcing Four Key Advisory Roles in the Office of the Vice President, International

From: Joseph Wong, Vice-President, International
Date: December 9, 2020
Re: Announcing Four Key Advisory Roles in the Office of the Vice President, International

I am pleased to announce four key advisory roles in the Office of the Vice President International that together reinforce the university’s commitment to provide global learning and engagement opportunities for all of our students, as an integral part of their U of T education.  These opportunities enhance the University of Toronto as a global university through which all students have the opportunity to engage with different cultural and country-specific perspectives, and are equipped to become principled, inclusive, culturally sensitive and empathetic global leaders.

Professor Ashley Stirling has recently been appointed as Special Advisor to the Interim Vice President, International, from December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.  The appointment recognizes the ongoing leadership of Professor Stirling in leading a tri-campus working group, as well as leading broad consultations with staff, faculty and senior administrators to develop a new Global Leaders initiative. The initiative has a goal to integrate across disciplines, divisions, and curricular and co-curricular settings to equip students from all walks of life with the key skills to become principled, culturally fluent leaders in our rapidly changing world. 

The Global Leaders initiative is complementary to the Global Citizens and Global Scholars initiatives that were launched this past year.

Dr. Stirling is currently an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education.  She was the Faculty’s first Director of Experiential Education, a role that entailed development and oversight of high quality, pedagogically sound experiential learning opportunities across the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Professor Stirling was a member of U of T’s Task Force on Experiential Learning and contributed to the development of the institution’s whitepaper, “Re-thinking higher education curricula: increasing impact through experiential, work-integrated and community engaged learning.” She has also contributed to recent initiatives of the Office of the Vice-Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education for advancing experiential education, including leading the recent tri-campus development of experiential learning modules for U of T faculty and staff.

Professors Obidimma Ezezika, Elham Marzi, and Barbara Murck have recently been appointed as our tri-campus Advisors on Global Classrooms, focussed at UTSC, UTSG and UTM respectively.  Their appointments are effective December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.  In this advisory role, Professors Ezezika, Marzi and Murck will work closely with the Centre for International Experience and with one another to encourage uptake of global classrooms models as well as serve as an advisor to colleagues as needed.  They will also scope a global classrooms funding opportunity on behalf of the Office of the Vice President International.

Professor Obidimma Ezezika is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Health and Society at UTSC and cross-appointed at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.  The inaugural winner of the university’s Global Educator Award in 2019, Professor Ezezika’s research interests lie at the nexus of implementation science, global health and food security. 

Professor Elham Marzi is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education & Practice, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.  She is also Director of the Engineering Business Minor and the InVEST Initiative which forms collaborating student teams made up of UofT engineering students and counterparts at international universities in order to offer value-added opportunities for student teams to learn skills that prepare them for work in the increasingly globalized and distributed engineering landscape.

Professor Barbara Murck is a Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Geography, Geomatics and Environment at UTM.  Her research interests and teaching include environmental issues in the developing world and sustainability, including corporate sustainability in the mining industry. She co-teaches a Summer Abroad course in the Andes, Amazon, and Galápagos Islands and has research collaboration with colleagues in Ecuador.

I thank Professors Stirling, Ezezika, Marzi and Murck for their willingness to serve the university by helping to shape global learning opportunities for all of our students and look forward to working with them in the coming year.