The Strategic Renewal Advisory Committee played an important role in helping guide the University’s strategic renewal process.
The committee supported a number of tasks in this project:
All materials provided to the advisory committee are available online.
The committee included faculty, staff, students, board members, alumni and members of the external community. The committee was chaired by President Vaccarino.
The advisory committee selection processes took place in fall 2015. The committee’s final composition was based on advice from Senate and others. It ensured the committee incorporated perspectives and expertise consistent with the breadth of the University’s academic and administrative structure.
President Vaccarino said, “The advisory committee is a group of very dedicated and passionate people who are invested in the University’s future. I’m confident in their capacity to guide us forward in this important work, and I very much appreciate their willingness to contribute in this way.”
Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino began his term as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph in August 2014. Described as a builder and a visionary, he brought to Guelph a track record as a proven administrator with remarkable academic achievements, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a powerful commitment to community and societal engagement. A distinguished researcher and teacher, he has focused on emerging areas of study and innovative experiential learning opportunities. He is an internationally recognized and widely published researcher and scholar, with more than 100 academic publications.
Dr. Vaccarino became principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) and vice-president of the University of Toronto in 2007, and was reappointed in 2012. He is credited with the significant expansion of UTSC’s campus and faculty, and with the development of new and emerging areas of scholarship and experiential learning opportunities. He has received honours from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). In 2014, he was named a Fellow of the CAHS, considered one of the highest honours for individuals in health sciences in this country. He has served as executive vice-president (programs) and vice-president (research) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and as vice-president and director of research, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, both in Toronto.
Dr. Vaccarino holds a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and an M.Sc. and a PhD in psychology from McGill University. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the Scripps and Salk institutes in California.
Katherine (Kate) Bishop is a PhD student at the University of Guelph in the Department of Population Medicine. She completed an honours bachelor of science degree at the University of Guelph in 2012 in bio-medical science, and a master of science in 2014 in epidemiology.
Kate’s M.Sc. introduced her to ecohealth. Her thesis was titled: “The Impact of Heat Waves in Rural Southern Ontario on Dairy Cow Mortality and Human Emergency Room Visits.” Using statistical and epidemiological skills learned in her master’s program, Kate is working on a project in Bwindi, Uganda, identifying spatial and temporal patterns in climate-sensitive respiratory infectious disease outcomes in indigenous populations. Kate’s primary research interest is to determine the representativeness of hospital data for populations most vulnerable to climate change. Additionally, Kate’s research will involve a number of knowledge transfer and translation initiatives and research related to their success. Kate also does research on climate-sensitive health outcomes among indigenous peoples in Canada’s far North.
Ben Bradshaw is a geography professor at the University of Guelph, with expertise in environmental governance and a research program primarily centred on Canada’s mining sector, especially its relations with indigenous communities.
Ben has cultivated an understanding of the University’s history and reputation based not only on his faculty appointment in 2004, which has included a period serving as department chair, but also his completion of a PhD here in 1999. As a participant in the University’s strategic renewal, he is interested in identifying and fostering the University’s historic and emergent strengths, while also developing a vision for the new roles the University can play in response to rapidly evolving social needs.
Nancy Brown Andison is a member of the Board of Governors and Senate of the University of Guelph. Nancy is a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and executive of IBM Canada. A graduate of the University of Guelph (bachelor of science in agriculture) and Queen’s University (MBA), Nancy is also a graduate of the Chartered Directors Program at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University.
Through her career as leader of the Public Sector Consulting Business in Ontario for both PwC and IBM, Nancy has developed a deep understanding of policy, strategy and operations in all aspects of the public sector, including education. Nancy’s consulting experience includes work in public policy, program design and delivery, business strategy and transformation, finance, human resource management and information technology.
Nancy serves on the board of directors of Farm Radio International, an African Development Charity; City of Peterborough Holdings Inc., an energy production and utility business; Dancemakers, one of Canada’s oldest Contemporary Dance Companies; and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Catherine Carstairs is a history professor and chair of the Department of History. She has published on the history of drug use and drug policy, doping in sport, the history of disability, the history of public health, and the history of gender and sexuality.
In addition to her work at the University of Guelph, Catherine has also served as chair of the Canadian Committee on Women’s History, has been the Canadian Historical Association’s representative to the International Congress of Historical Sciences and sits on the advisory board of several journals in her field.
Brian Cowan is an active community leader who serves as chair of Innovation Guelph, chair of the Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre, and director with Guelph Hydro and Cutten Fields while also being an active Rotarian. He holds a degree in environmental studies from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. In addition, Brian completed advanced training at Harvard Law School and holds the Chartered Director designation from The Directors College, a joint venture of McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada where he is also an active faculty member.
Brian is retired from Teranet Inc. – one of Ontario’s most successful public-private partnerships with government – where he was responsible for marketing, business development, program development, communications and government relations over his 17-year career with the company.
John Cranfield is a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics. A faculty member at Guelph since 2001, he is also an alumnus of the Ontario Agricultural College (1993 and 1995). His teaching and research focus on the economics of food and agricultural markets, with particular attention to consumer demand issues.
John has held various governance roles at the University, including OAC representative to Senate; undergraduate, and then graduate, co-ordinator in his department; and now department chair . These experiences have provided John with a unique perspective to understand the complex and varied needs of stakeholders at the University of Guelph.
Madeline is a third-year bachelor of commerce student majoring in leadership and organizational management.
Born and raised in Guelph, Madeline comes from a family of Guelph alumni. She is involved with the College of Business and Economics Students Association and is a member of the varsity golf team. Madeline is passionate about the University and the community. She will use her experiences as a current student to bring forth student voices and provide a unique perspective on the Advisory Committee.
Prof. Ibrahim Deiab joined the School of Engineering in 2014. He has been heavily involved in the department’s administrative affairs, curriculum development for both graduate and undergraduate programs, and accreditation. He served in various academic leadership roles, starting in 2007 with his appointment as the University research co-ordinator, where he restructured and streamlined the Office of Research operations, managed University research services and chaired the faculty research grants and sabbatical committees. He also served as the mechanical engineering department head.
Ibrahim earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from McMaster University in 2003 and started his academic career at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in 2004. AUS was established in 1998 based on the American model of education at Texas A&M. Being a member of a new institution gave him a valuable and unique opportunity to be heavily involved in various aspects of university business. He is a registered professional engineer in the province of Ontario, a member of the American Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Cate Dewey is a professor and chair of the Department of Population Medicine. She has a long history with the University of Guelph, graduating from OVC with a DVM, M.Sc. PhD. She worked in private veterinary practice in Ontario and began her faculty career at the University of Nebraska before returning to U of G in 1995.
Cate has an active research program based on epidemiology that encompasses swine health management, disease prevention and spread, zoonotic diseases, human health and global public health. She uses mixed methods, including both qualitative and quantitative analyses to delve deeply into the research question at hand and collaborates broadly with faculty across campus. Cate has taught undergraduate, veterinary and graduate students in a variety of courses, including epidemiology, animal health management and foodborne disease.
Diane Dobbins is a proud alumna and long-serving University employee who is currently the manager of research and partnerships within the College of Business and Economics. She holds two degrees from Guelph: a B.A.Sc. ’91 and an MA (leadership) ’08. Since joining the University in 1991, Diane has held a range of positions and served on a variety of college- and University-wide committees, gaining extensive knowledge of academic- and research-related matters as well as considerable insight into the collective role played in advancing the University’s mission and goals.
In her current role, Diane interacts with graduate students, faculty, administrators, alumni, government, funding agencies and other external partners with the primary goal of facilitating and disseminating University research. Her personal achievements include the 2011 President’s Exemplary Staff Award for Innovative Leadership Recognition; a CIHR knowledge mobilization research grant; and presentations at national and international conferences on various aspects of research facilitation.
Earl Ellis is vice-president, financial reporting and analysis, for Canadian Tire’s corporate division in Toronto. He joined the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph in 2011 and serves on both its finance and pension committees.
Earl has notable expertise in strategic and financial planning acquired within the retail and consumer packaged goods sectors. He has experience in both U.S. and Canadian markets with reputable companies such as Campbell Soup Company, Kraft Canada and Coca-Cola Bottling. This experience has allowed Earl considerable involvement with developing corporate strategies, including the creation of mission statements, key strategic imperatives and quantifiable frameworks to measure performance.
Earl graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in management economics and subsequently attained his chartered accounting designation.
Janice Folk-Dawson has been a member of the University of Guelph community for the past 30 years and has served in various capacities. She is currently the president of CUPE Local 1334, president of the Guelph and District Labour Council, and is the chair of CUPE Ontario’s University Worker’s Coordinating Committee. Over the past 30 years, Janice has served on many University committees, ensuring that a worker’s perspective and solutions are brought to the table.
Janice is committed to building a University community that meets the needs of all community members and provides a high quality, publicly-funded and accessible education.
Stanley Gabriel came to the University of Guelph as a mature international student in political science and earned a BA in 2002. Prior to that he served in the Singapore Police Force, leaving at the rank of staff sergeant, Investigations Branch.
Stanley is currently working on his MA (leadership) degree, expecting to graduate in 2016, and serves as a sergeant with the Campus Community Police. He brings to the table his knowledge of the University from these academic and employee perspectives, recognizing the importance of leadership and long-term planning and the roles of diversity, safety and security to the lives of the campus community.
Brandon Gorman graduated from the University of Guelph in 2006 with a bachelor of commerce specializing in marketing and recently completed his MBA at the Schulich School of Business, York University. During his time at the University of Guelph, Brandon was elected as president of the Commerce Association and was on the steering committee for the formation of the College of Business and Economics.
Brandon’s passion for business and finance took him to the Royal Bank at the age of 17 and he has been with the bank ever since. He is currently a branch manager, managing one of RBC’s largest branches in the Greater Toronto Area.
Brandon is currently the president of the Board of Directors for the University of Guelph Alumni Association. He possesses strong skills in accounting, finance and strategy. He is a strategic thinker that has the ability to look at the overall plan and provide holistic solutions.
Roslyn (Julia) Kilgour is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology, where she is researching the evolution of social behaviours, such as aggression. She earned a master of science degree in biology from the University of Regina, where she studied social behaviour in big brown bats, and received a bachelor of science from the University of Toronto. Since beginning her research at the University of Guelph, she has volunteered on the board at the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity.
Along with her passion for social justice issues, Julia brings her experience in graduate studies in the biological sciences to the advisory committee.
Tuuli Kukkonen is a professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from McGill University and joined the University of Guelph in 2010.
Tuuli is a licensed clinical psychologist and director of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation-Funded Psychophysiology of Sexual Health Lab at the University. She has a strong background in quantitative research methods, human sexuality and aging, and as a faculty member, she is eager to contribute to the University’s strategic renewal and to the conversations and themes that will shape its future.
Bill Laidlaw is an experienced business executive with an extensive background in both business and not-for-profit association management. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 1974 and then completed graduate studies at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. He has been a very active alumnus since then, volunteering with Athletics, the College of Business and Economics, and Alumni Affairs.
Bill’s particular strength lies in his knowledge of how governments work and how to influence public policy by working with stakeholders to achieve positive financial outcomes. His background in teaching, human resources, public affairs, fund development and general management in a variety of industries, charities and business associations will be most helpful in the strategic renewal process.
Jonathan Lippett is an undergraduate student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph. He is currently completing his final year and intends on pursuing graduate school in the field of alternative energy policy.
Jonathan will draw upon both his academic policy knowledge and his previous work with a variety of environmental NGO’s to bring a tremendous sense of insight and enthusiasm to the advisory committee. He regards institutions such as the University of Guelph as integral to facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy and brings this outlook to the strategic renewal process.
Spencer McGregor is a first-year student enrolled in the bachelor of science in agriculture with a specialization in organic agriculture. He is involved in numerous volunteer activities throughout the University community.
Spencer represents the Ontario Agricultural College on the Central Student Association board of directors, sits on the University Centre board to represent the student body at large and is an active member of OPIRG at Guelph. He is dedicated to creating a healthy environment and believes the University of Guelph has an important role to play in sustainable, environmentally-conscious development.
Spencer brings an open-minded, student-orientated perspective and hopes to represent those students whose voices are often not recognized.
Deanna McQuarrie is the associate registrar, Admission Services, in the Office of Registrarial Services and has worked at the University of Guelph since 2005. With more than 17 years of experience in higher education administration in both Canada and the United States, Deanna has led many university policy changes, several technological implementations, and organizational improvement initiatives.
Having been a part of the strategic planning process at two other institutions, Deanna values discovery and broad perspectives, and appreciates the importance of collaboration and consensus.
Melissa Micu is a bachelor of arts student in the Department of History. Currently in her third year of study, Melissa has participated in a semester abroad in France and has been involved in various extra-curricular groups during her time at Guelph, including serving as a first generation student ambassador. She also has worked for the University of Guelph as a research assistant in the Department of History and as a student writer for the SPARK program in the Office of Research.
Drawing on her broad interests and academic experience across the arts, Melissa hopes to combine the perspective of anarts student with her ability to both analyze and synthesize the inputs provided to the advisory committee in developing the resulting themes for the University’s strategic renewal.
Miana Plesca is a professor in the Department of Economics, which she joined in 2003, after receiving an undergraduate degree in engineering from Romania and a PhD in economics from the University of Western Ontario. Miana is a labour economist with particular research interests in the role of post-secondary education in the Canadian economy and society: what determines access to education, who benefits the most from it, and what are the implications for graduates’ career mobility, financial success and overall productivity.
Until December 2015, Miana was also the interim associate dean, research and graduate studies, in the College of Business and Economics. In this capacity, she came to know her colleagues in other disciplines very well and developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexities involved in providing leading, world-class research and education at the University of Guelph.
Kerry Ritchie is a professor in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences. She attended the University of Guelph for both her undergraduate and graduate studies, receiving her PhD in the area of skeletal muscle metabolism in 2010.
Kerry is very active at both the University of Guelph and the University of Guelph-Humber, where she has been involved in curriculum planning and development of several new education initiatives. Her current research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning, examining strategies to optimize student learning and engagement with a focus on large classes.
Darren Robinson grew up in Winnipeg, Man. He received a B.Sc. (Honours) in biology from the University of Winnipeg in 1992 and completed his M.Sc. in plant biology in 1995 at the University of Manitoba. From there, he moved on to the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph and in 2000, he received a PhD in weed science. Darren worked for a short time at the Alberta Research Council as a research scientist until June 2001, where he conducted weed management research in pulse crops, cereals and canola.
Later that year, Darren was hired as a professor by Ridgetown College to teach horticultural weed management, turf management and ecology, and conduct weed management research in vegetable crops. He became a member of the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph in 2004 and was promoted to associate professor in 2009, during which time he developed a research program on integrated control strategies in conventional and reduced tillage systems for vegetable crops.
Marcel Schlaf is a professor in the Department of Chemistry. In addition to his lab team at Guelph, he also has international research collaborations in China, where he was appointed as a Visiting Research Professor at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Brazil and with Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States. He is working on developing new catalysts and processes for the conversion of biomass-derived molecules to sustainable chemicals and fuels.
Marcel hopes to use his knowledge and insights into the mass and energy flows that underpin and sustain our society and human existence to help integrate the ideas and visions emergent from the University community into a strategic renewal plan that is both viable and exciting from all perspectives: physical, social, economic, ecological, political and artistic.
Laurie Schnarr is the director of Student Life in Student Affairs. She joined the University in 1983 and has an MA (leadership) and is currently pursuing her PhD at OISE, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on access to postsecondary education for aboriginal learners. Laurie is the recipient of the R.P. Gilmor Student Life award, the Marilyn Langlois Staff Recognition award and the President’s Award for Exemplary Staff Service.
During her tenure at the University, Laurie has designed, overseen and assessed programs and services that engage students in University life and local communities; promoted students’ acquisition of core competencies; supported students in applying their learning in real-world contexts; and addressed barriers for students to full participation, particularly those who are traditionally underrepresented in universities.
Shayan Sharif is a veterinarian who came to Guelph in 1993 for his PhD and has been affiliated with the University of Guelph ever since. He is now a professor of immunology at the Ontario Veterinary College. His research group seeks to understand how microbes interact with their hosts and use this knowledge to develop better ways to control the spread of infectious agents from animals to animals or from animals to humans.
Shayan has served in various leadership roles at the University, including leader of the Poultry Health Research Network; acting associate dean (research and innovation); and, more recently, research program director for Emergency Management.
Christina Smylitopoulos is a professor of art history in the School of Fine Art and Music. Before joining the University of Guelph, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the Yale Center for British Art, a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, and a Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Junior Fellow. She has received research grants from, among others, the Huntington Library, the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon (Library of Congress), and the Houghton Library (Harvard University). She has an active research profile with well-placed articles and book chapters, has recently edited a collection of essays, and is completing a monograph that considers early 19th-century British graphic satire.
Christina is a University Senator and an award-winning teacher, fostering academic citizenship within the College of Arts through community-building activities. She brings to the advisory committee her professional experience from world-class institutions in other jurisdictions such as the J. Paul Getty Trust, YCBA, McGill University and the University of British Columbia). As a relatively new member of the University of Guelph community, Christina can speak to the ways in which the University facilitates transition and provides community.
Ellen Song is a fourth-year Bachelor of Science student majoring in biological and pharmaceutical chemistry. Since her first year at Guelph, she has been involved in a number of initiatives and organizations at the University. Ellen currently holds the position of president of the College of Physical and Engineering Science Student Council, and is also an elected B.Sc. representative on Senate. In these roles, she has had the opportunity to be part of many committees, both college- and university-wide.
Ellen is also a dedicated peer helper with the English Language Programs, a tour guide with Admission Services, and a band director for Curtain Call Productions.
Mark Torcoletti is currently the manager of finance and administration in the College of Physical and Engineering Science and has worked at the University of Guelph since 2009 in various finance and management roles. Prior to this, Mark worked in accounting and finance at a large publicly-traded manufacturing company.
Mark is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s bachelor of commerce program and is a chartered professional accountant and a certified management accountant (CMA).
George van der Merwe joined the University of Guelph in 2002 and is currently a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB). He is an active researcher in the fields of yeast metabolism and molecular biology as it relates to the fermentation process. His research has been in close collaboration with local research institutions and industries, with the goal of driving innovation and developing yeast technology for applications in alcoholic beverage production.
In addition to a strong commitment to teaching excellence, George has filled various leadership roles within MCB and the College of Biological Science. He participated in and led several strategic initiatives, including faculty and staff recruitments, undergraduate and graduate program review and development, and departmental research infrastructure management activities to align with the department’s vision. He brings a positive attitude and a collaborative approach to the strategic renewal process.
Mike von Massow is a professor in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management. He has been a faculty member for six years. Before completing his PhD, Mike worked in a variety of industry, strategic and leadership roles. His research focuses on pricing strategy, consumer demand and food value chains. He teaches operations and strategic management.
Mike is a proud graduate of U of G, earning a B.Sc. and M.Sc. While based in the College of Business and Economics, he collaborated with researchers from across campus, including OAC, OVC and CSAHS.
Meghan Wing is a fourth-year bachelor of science student majoring in biomedical science. As a student leader, she has made it a priority throughout her undergraduate degree to immerse herself in the university system through involvement on various programming committees both at the departmental and college-wide levels. This has included serving as the College of Biological Science Student Council president for two years in a row.
Meghan has served on a variety of policy committees at U of G, providing her with extensive knowledge of the University. In addition, she has experience with gathering qualitative information as one of the facilitators of the B.Sc. At-large Internal/External Program review during the 2014/15 academic year. In this role, she created a survey that generated significant student response. She is committed to supporting strong student participation in the strategic renewal process given its impact for the future of the University.
Marva Wisdom is a highly respected facilitator, moderator and speaker. Locally and internationally, she provides her clients with the tools and courage they need to facilitate meaningful growth through leadership, effective engagement, diversity and inclusivity. Her speaking engagements have taken her to Belize, Barbados, Jamaica, the United States and seven Canadian provinces.
Since 2010, Marva has been a consultant and active member of the lead partnership team for the ground-breaking Black Experience Project (GTA). The research phase for the project is nearing completion, and planning is underway for the third and final phase – post-study dissemination and roll-out. Additionally, she recently completed a contract with Roots of Empathy International as their director of development and stewardship.
Marva earned her master of arts in leadership from the University of Guelph and serves on the College of Business and Economics’ advisory committee for the program.