The University of Ottawa has appointed First Nations activist Claudette Commanda as its next chancellor. Ms. Commanda is Algonquin Anishinaabe and will be the first Indigenous leader to assume the position. She is a well-known member of the Ottawa community and a U of Ottawa alumna, having completed a bachelor of arts and law degree at the university. Ms. Commanda was the first elder in residence appointed to the university’s faculty of law, as well as the first person of First Nations ancestry to serve on the university’s board of directors. Her appointment will begin on Nov. 9.
After serving as acting dean for a year, Heather Sheardown officially became the new dean of the faculty of engineering at McMaster University on July 1. The first woman to serve in this role, Dr. Sheardown has over 25 years of academic research, administrative and teaching experience and has led several key initiatives in the faculty, including supporting the mental health of students and staff as they returned to campus following pandemic closures. She holds a bachelor of chemical engineering from McMaster and a PhD in the same discipline from the University of Toronto.
McMaster University welcomed Bonny Ibhawoh as its next vice-provost, international affairs on July 1. Dr. Ibhawoh has been at McMaster since 2006. Previously, he was a professor in the faculty of humanities and the Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights. Dr. Ibhawoh has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and research in the fields of global human rights, legal history, and peace and conflict studies. He earned a PhD in history (specializing in legal theory) from Dalhousie University.
Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto, has had his second term extended by two years to June 30, 2025. Dr. Gertler is a renowned scholar and former dean of the faculty of arts and science, and the current chair of the board of Universities Canada (publisher of University Affairs). He has led the U of T since March 2013, helping the institution to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celeste Pedri-Spade is the first associate provost of Indigenous initiatives at McGill University. Dr. Pedri-Spade completed her PhD in visual anthropology at the University of Victoria and her master of arts degree in culture and communication at Royal Roads University. During her five-year term, she will work to define the direction of McGill’s commitment to Indigenous scholars and scholarship as well as increase the representation of Indigenous peoples in the university community.