Establishment of the University Resilience Project Team (PDAD&C #28)

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost 
Date: March 4, 2022 
Re: Establishment of the University Resilience Project Team (PDAD&C #28)

As the University of Toronto moves forward from the past two years of pandemic management, I would like to thank all members of the University community who have stepped forward to steer our course through this historic and difficult time. As a result of your hard work, we are balancing the diverse priorities and challenges that have arisen as a result of COVID-19, all in service of our educational mission to offer outstanding learning experiences to our students.  

This work has been led by the immensely dedicated members of the Response and Adaptation Committee (RAC) and the Response and Adaptation Unit (RAU), expertly chaired over the past year by Professor Salvatore Spadafora, Presidential Advisor on COVID-19. Their competence and commitment to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, staff, faculty and librarians have been invaluable over the past two years. This team has been supported by the tremendous efforts of multiple working groups with membership from across the University.   

As of March 31, 2022, we will begin shifting from critical incident response to an approach that focuses increasingly on long-term adaptation and evolution. As U of T embarks on this next stage, it is essential that we build upon the work and insights gained over the past two years. I am therefore pleased to announce the formation of the University Resilience Project Team (RPT), which, through consultation with the current RAC/RAU team, will guide the University’s gradual transition to this next phase. The RPT will be supported by an Executive Advisory Committee and a transitional operations team comprised of representatives from across the three campuses. 

The RPT will work across institutional offices to enable a safe and full return to campus, to capitalize on the innovations developed during the pandemic, and to build strategies for long-term institutional resilience. At the same time, the RPT will work with academic divisions and tri-campus portfolios to co-ordinate specific, short-term, and immediate decisions that may be presented by COVID-19.  

The RPT will be comprised of an expert team of senior administrators and led by the Provostial Advisor on University Resilience, Professor Nicholas Rule, who currently services as Chair of the Department of Psychology and recently completed a term as Interim Vice-Dean, Undergraduate in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Appointed to the University Resilience Project Team are: 

  • Professor Nicholas Rule, Provostial Advisor on University Resilience  
  • Chris Boutet, Director, Digital Content and Engagement, University of Toronto Communications 
  • Elizabeth Church, Senior Lead, Strategic Projects and Initiatives, Office of the Vice-President and Provost 
  • Elizabeth Cragg, Director, Office of the Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships
  • David Lock, Coordinator, Academic Planning & Reviews, Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs
  • Cherilyn Nobleza, Executive Director, HR Transformation and Analytics, Office of the Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture
  • Meredith Strong, Senior Lead, COVID-19, Students Matters, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students 
  • Rachel Zand, Director, Human Research Ethics Unit, Research Oversight and Compliance Office, Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation
  • Jas Seahra, Administrative Assistant 

Brief biographies of the RPT members may be found on the Provost’s website.  

Members of this team will marshal resources from their respective portfolios to contribute to the RPT’s work. Divisional and campus processes and committees that have been established over the past two years to respond to pandemic concerns will continue their work as needed and, to coordinate efforts, will liaise with the RPT, which will run through June 2023.  

The pandemic has been immensely challenging for many members of the University community, and I commend all levels of our staff, faculty, and librarians for their dedication. I look forward to moving into this new phase under the skillful guidance of the University Resilience Project Team. Please join me in welcoming all of them to their new roles.