Chancellor’s Leadership Award

Program Overview

Established in 1999, the Chancellor’s Leadership Award is part of the University of Toronto’s Pinnacle Awards Program, which recognizes exceptional contributions by administrative staff and librarians. The Chancellor’s Leadership Award complements the President’s Excellence Award.

Recipients of the Chancellor’s Leadership Award demonstrate outstanding leadership and significantly advance the University’s mission to foster an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish.

There are three categories of the Chancellor’s Leadership Award:

  • Influential Leader
  • Distinguished Leader
  • Emerging Leader

The Chancellor’s Leadership Awards are aligned with the University’s broader Awards of Excellence Program.

2024 Award Recipients

Influential Leader

Drew Gyorke

Director, Agency & Foundation Funding, Research Services Office, Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Drew Gyorke

Drew Gyorke is a nationally recognized and highly respected leader in the profession of research administration. Gyorke brings over twenty years of experience and proven leadership. He champions excellence, collaboration, equity, diversity, and inclusion and his impact has been significant. Gyorke is adept at navigating complex challenges and serving as a true advocate for U of T’s researchers, with particular focus on the social sciences and humanities, through his work to support the research community at the University of Toronto, nationally through his leadership at the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), and by convening consultation tables with other leading universities and funding agencies on emerging issues of import to the Canadian academic research community.

He brings a depth of wisdom, a gentle humour, and a true capacity to build consensus and create meaningful partnerships and processes that have truly improved the research and innovation ecosystem at the University of Toronto. The excellent logistical and administrative work that he has done for years in building his team and managing these tasks through often busy and, most recently, remarkably challenging times. Gyorke is not simply an accomplished administrative taskmaster; he is a brilliant, thoughtful, approachable, and outstanding colleague.

Distinguished Leader

Prasanna Balasundaram

Director, Downtown Legal Service, Faculty of Law

Prasanna Balasundaram

Prasanna Balasundaram holds an impassioned belief, founded on his own lived experiences, in the transformative power of meaningful access to justice. Throughout his legal career, he has striven to advance the rights of marginalized peoples, including refugees and immigrants, racialized communities, women facing gender-based persecution, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. He has mentored and inspired over 150 law students.

As Director of Downtown Legal Services, Balasundaram seeks to strengthen and promote the clinic’s role as a vehicle for justice, while offering student caseworkers a rich, dynamic, and transformative learning experience. His legal career focused primarily on immigration and refugee law, with a special interest in the Convention on the Rights of Refugees and the Convention Against Torture. As a litigator, he has appeared before numerous domestic and international forums, including the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. His work has encompassed both advocacy for the rights of refugees on a large scale, with constitutional challenges to the Designated Country of Origin regime and the Safe Third Country Agreement, and fighting for individuals, as exemplified by his work to reunite vindicated Guantanamo Bay detainees with their Canadian families.

Balasundaram is also a dedicated advocate of legal aid and its importance in ensuring access to justice for some of the most marginalized members of Canadian society. He has held leadership roles with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention, and the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. In 2021, he was awarded the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship for his work aimed at creating a lasting legacy of access to justice, and the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education’s Cirillo Award for making a significant contribution to the life of Downtown Legal Services.

 

Nadia Claire Rosemond

Assistant Dean, Co-Curricular Engagement & Student Leadership, Office of Student Experience & Wellbeing, University of Toronto Scarborough

Nadia Claire Rosemond

Nadia Claire Rosemond oversees the strategic development and implementation of co-curricular programs and international student services at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Over the last seventeen years, she has supported student development in several roles and is seen as a leader in the field by her peers.  She has worked in student housing, international student services and student engagement, and holds a Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Development.

Rosemond played a key role in supporting the development of the Inspiring Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan for UTSC, and the Scarborough National Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Higher Education: Principles, Actions, and Accountabilities. She helped coordinate and facilitate National Dialogues in shaping the Charter and is a committed leader in implementing its various recommendations. She has helped to develop and grow the Imani and Black Student Engagement initiatives and was an instrumental contributor to the development of a Transitional Year Program cohort at UTSC.

Rosemond is a co-chair of the tri-campus community of practice on orientation and transition. She was particularly effective and supported this work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a manner that put the interests of students first and foremost in times of uncertainty and change. Rosemond works very effectively with student union and student group collaborators. She is an active leader in post-secondary leadership development circles, having served on various working groups within the University and beyond, and she is a Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) Leaders in Learning Award winner for a post-secondary podcast she co-hosts. She is a Hart House Board of Stewards member and has been an active collaborative partner in the Hart House Black Futures and Global Commons initiatives.

Emerging Leader

Jessica Silver

Director, Student Engagement, Centre for Student Engagement, University of Toronto Mississauga

Jessica Silver

Jessica Silver joined the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) in 2014. Since then, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership within Student Affairs and Services. Her significant contributions to student engagement have reshaped the landscape at UTM. As an emerging leader, she has held the position of Director of Student Engagement at the Centre for Student Engagement since 2018. Throughout this period, she has consistently prioritized the establishment of best practices in student engagement and development. She has been dedicated to ensuring that students take on leadership roles, placing them at the forefront of the more than 90 programs, services, and resources offered annually by the Centre for Student Engagement (CSE).

Silver has successfully secured both internal and external grants, enabling her to spearhead innovative programs. These initiatives are specifically designed to foster equitable and sustainable access and inclusion within the post-secondary setting, addressing the unique needs of students who have traditionally faced underservice and marginalization in their pursuit of higher education.

Having previously worked in the not-for-profit sector, Silver has leveraged her extensive networks, resources, and expertise to establish collaborative ventures within the Region of Peel. She played a pivotal role in launching initiatives like SEE @ UTM, expanding UTM Bridging Pathways, and orchestrating Access Days and inclusion events. Notably, she has championed the involvement of UTM staff and students who authentically represent the communities they aim to support. In more recent times, she has actively contributed to broader strategic initiatives, both internally at UTM and in collaborative efforts across the tri-campus, ensuring the sustained focus on creating pathways to post-secondary education and expanding access programs at the University of Toronto.