The Board of Regents of Victoria University in The University of Toronto is pleased to announce that Dr. Rhonda McEwen will be the University’s 14th President and Vice-Chancellor in its 186-year history, beginning on July 1, 2022. Dr. McEwen currently serves as University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) vice-principal, academic and dean with oversight of all academic programs, planning and policy, faculty, teaching and learning, and academic experience.
“The Board of Regents is thrilled to welcome an academic leader whose career exemplifies the ideals of intellectual curiosity and engaged conversation, which are so deeply embedded in the ethos of Victoria University,” said Cynthia Crysler, Chair of the Board of Regents. “Dr. McEwen has led transformative academic programs and initiatives at U of T that prepare students for a rapidly changing world. As a researcher, her focus on communications technology is rigorous and impactful and her leadership in supporting equity, diversity, inclusion and access has garnered support across the U of T community.”
As an academic leader, Dr. McEwen has grown programs that respond to the global environment and are driven by innovation. As Director of the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (ICCIT) at UTM, she transformed the program to a stand-alone unit with a new professional experience certificate in digital media, communication and technology. Enrolment grew by more than 20 per cent and student retention improved to more than 90 per cent.
“I am honoured to be joining the Vic community of students, faculty and alumni where teaching and learning are driven by curiosity and conscience through outstanding academic offerings and signature learning experiences, and whose students and faculty embrace inclusive education,” said Dr. McEwen. “I know that Vic’s iconic campus and wonderful sense of place will continue to inspire me as we build on the University’s record of success.”
Dr. McEwen is a Canada Research Chair in Tactile Interfaces, Communication and Cognition. She is the recipient of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grants that explore the potential uses of emerging technologies in student development and participation. She co-authored the peer-reviewed book Understanding Tablets from Early Childhood to Adulthood and her research has been shared in more than 47 peer reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, and books.
Dr. McEwen has led and championed inclusion initiatives including serving as UTM’s first special adviser on anti-racism and equity, and on the steering committee of U of T’s Black Research Network (BRN). She has been a part of UTM’s Black Table Talks, a networking opportunity for Black students, faculty and staff, and Visions of Science, which engages youth from low-income or marginalized communities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). As a member of UTM’s research council, she helped develop a policy to support female researchers on parental leave.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. McEwen completed a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and management at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine, an MBA in Information Technology at City, University of London, a Master of Science in telecommunications at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a PhD from U of T’s Faculty of Information.
“We are all so pleased with the appointment of such an outstanding and inspiring leader, and we look forward with great excitement to Dr. McEwen’s continued, inspired leadership of Victoria University in the years ahead”, said John Field, Chair of the Board of Regents’ Governance and University Affairs Committee who led the Presidential Search Committee.
Dr. McEwen will begin her five-year tenure on July 1, 2022, succeeding Dr. William Robins who has served as President and Vice-Chancellor since 2015.
Sally Szuster, Director, Communications
Victoria University in The University of Toronto