Making U of T an inclusive, equitable place to learn and work requires action from across our community. To help us embed the principles and practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) throughout the institution, the University has recently expanded the presence of EDI leads across the tri-campus.
Building on the work of existing faculty, librarians, staff, and students, our EDI leads bring specialized knowledge and experience to the campuses, Faculties, and divisions they support. Guided by the strategic leadership of the University’s Executive Director, EDI, the leads meet regularly to share ideas and collaborate on initiatives. The appointment of additional EDI leads delivers on an institutional commitment made in response to the Anti-Black Racism Task Force’s recommendation “that every [F]aculty and college appoint a senior divisional lead on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.”
Read on to learn more about U of T’s EDI leads. As this is an evolving and growing team, we will continue to update this page as new appointments are made.
Institutional EDI Leads
Under the direction of the Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Institutional Equity Office supports and guides the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO), the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO), and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office, and works in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII).
Allison Burgess (she/her)
Acting Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Allison Burgess is the Acting Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture. In this role, Burgess leads the Institutional Equity Office (IEO) to build strategic leadership for the institution on equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, working collaboratively across the EDI teams to bring about systemic and productive change.
Previously, as Director, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, she spent more than a decade developing partnerships, resources, and programs focused on 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion and belonging at the University of Toronto. She has worked collaboratively to support the annual U of T Pride Pub, Trans Day of Remembrance, and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, among many other events and initiatives. Burgess has also championed process improvements and educational initiatives that have fostered equity and inclusion across the University, including leadership on washroom accessibility, institutional name change processes for members of the University community, strategic educational events, and multiple speaker series. She is a mentor in the Rose Patten Mentorship Learning Program.
She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts from Brock University, and a doctorate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies. Her research focused on claiming particular spaces and subjectivities through public events that contribute to discussions of queer women’s visibility, representation, and queer activism in Canada. Prior to joining the equity portfolio, she taught in Canadian Studies and Sociology at Brock University and the University of Toronto.
Jodie Glean-Mitchell (she/her)
Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (on leave)
Jodie Glean-Mitchell is an award-winning anti-racism educator who has dedicated her career to developing educational programming in the field of anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. She attained her Master of Arts in Educational Studies from Concordia University and is presently completing a doctoral degree in Education at York University, with research focusing on the experiences of equity practitioners advancing racial equity and inclusion in post-secondary institutions.
In 2017, Glean-Mitchell was the recipient of the Leadership in Learning Award from the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education and in 2020, she received the Harry Jerome Diversity Award. She co-developed and is a course instructor of the Transformative Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Leadership Certificate Program at Humber College. She currently serves as the Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (on leave) at the University of Toronto.
David Pereira (he/him)
Acting Director, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO)
David Pereira is the Acting Director of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office. Having previously served in this role twice in an acting capacity, he returns to the SGDO after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in sexuality, gender, and education in the Faculty of Education at York University. There, he led the Beyond Bullying Project 2.0, a research project aimed at capturing the everyday stories of LGBTQ+ life in schools.
Pereira also served as Researcher, Equity, Diversity & Success in the Office of the Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he led pandemic-related research projects on microaggressions in student evaluations of teaching and the impacts on faculty life and work of various institutional responses to COVID-19 in the post-secondary sector. He completed his doctorate in Social Justice Education at OISE and has taught courses in the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and York University’s Faculty of Education.
Ben Poynton (he/him)
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Officer
Ben Poynton was drawn to his work by an interest in the philosophical underpinnings of human rights and how they support social justice. He provides support and guidance to the University’s senior leadership on Accessibility, EDI, and Universal Design. He has been instrumental in advancing the University’s AODA commitments through the application of an intersectional lens and a community-based approach.
As AODA Officer, Poynton works to help members of the University community understand our legal obligations, how accessibility is broadly defined, and how we can create an institution that values disability and the changes in perspective it brings. He does this, in part, by facilitating workshops and training, providing consultation, and listening to feedback across the institution related to accessibility in all areas of the life of the University. Ben holds a Master of Laws from the University of Warwick in International Development Law and Human Rights and sat on the provincial committee establishing new AODA standards in the post-secondary sector.
Campus-Specific EDI Leads
Nythalah Baker (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)
With more than 15 years of social justice, human rights, and EDI experience in post-secondary environments, Nythalah Baker was appointed in 2013 to establish the inaugural Equity & Diversity Office at University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). Since then, she has relied on strong collaborations and partnerships to advance initiatives that raise awareness about racism and prevention strategies; improve workplace and research inclusion practices; support decolonization and justice for Indigenous communities; and increase sexual and gender inclusion on UTM campus.
These initiatives include creating Reflection Spaces to support wellness practices, such as quiet reflection, meditation, relaxation, and prayer; installing a Mamava Pod to support the needs of breast- and chest-feeding parents; and establishing regular conversation spaces for students and employees on current equity-related topics, among many others.
Baker completed her Master of Social Work at the University of British Columbia and worked with women survivors of trauma and marginalized youth prior to working in human rights services at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and York University. Personally and professionally, she is passionate about anti-oppression and decolonization, dedicated to listening and educating herself about all forms of marginalization, and works in solidarity for social justice and community wellness.
Cherilyn Scobie Edwards (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, University of Toronto Scarborough
Cherilyn Scobie Edwards is a leader with extensive EDI-focused knowledge and experience within the education, community, and policing sectors. The current Director of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office at University of Toronto Scarborough, she held leadership positions in the Toronto District School Board as a Vice-Principal, Principal, and Centrally Assigned Principal for Equity and School Improvement.
With more than 21 years in education with a focus on inclusion and the removal of systemic and instructional barriers, she continues to support organizations in building inclusive environments for all. Scobie Edwards holds a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, and a Master of Education (Educational Administrative Systems) from Brock University. She also completed the Principal’s and Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Programs from the Ontario Principal’s Council.
Faculty/Divisional EDI Leads
Jewel Amoah (she/her)
Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
Jewel Amoah is a Canadian-Trinidadian human rights advocate, activist, and academic. She is committed to research, advocacy, and activism that inspires systemic change and enhances access to justice.
She is currently the Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. In this role, Amoah works collaboratively with academic, administrative, and student leaders to develop and implement initiatives aimed at advancing EDI within the learning and working environments across the Daniels Faculty.
Amoah has worked internationally to advocate for the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance, and gender equality in Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Namibia, and as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Trinidad. She is a graduate of McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Cape Town. She also serves as a part-time Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and is a member of the McMaster University Research Ethics Board.
“I am excited to see how the fields of architecture and design merge with human rights frameworks to build and sustain just and equitable communities,” she says.
Darrell Bowden (he/him)
Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Rotman School of Management
With more than 25 years of social justice, EDI, human rights, and career development experience in post-secondary environments, Darrell Bowden joined the Rotman School of Management in July 2022 to lead the School’s EDI strategy. He oversees all efforts that help create a more diverse and welcoming community for students, staff, and faculty —one of Rotman’s top priorities in the new Academic Plan.
Together with his team, Bowden implements strategies to improve pathways for students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented communities to participate in all aspects of life at the School; enhances EDI awareness and education initiatives for the Rotman community; and collaborates with faculty to bring various facets of EDI into the curriculum and research activities. His team also works towards aligning Rotman’s equity efforts with recommendations from the University of Toronto’s task forces on anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism.
Previously, Bowden held the position of Executive Director of the Office of the Vice President/Vice Provost, EDI at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). In that role, he provided a range of consulting services for Faculties and departments through education initiatives that addressed systemic barriers among the University’s academic and administrative functions. For 15 years, he orchestrated the Viola Desmond Day Ceremony recognizing and celebrating the success of Black women in the TMU community. Moreover, in 2018, he and his team managed the Canadian debut of the White Privilege Conference Global, a four-day event bringing together 650 delegates participating in six keynotes, 21 preconference institutes, and 65 concurrent sessions exploring challenges with privilege and oppression in Canada.
Bowden completed a Master of Education in Critical Anti-Racism Studies in Education at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dalhousie University and an Honours Diploma in Career and Work Counselling from George Brown College.
Mikhail Burke (he/him)
Manager, EDI Initiatives, Student Life
Mikhail Burke is an engineering educator and advocate who completed both his Bachelor of Applied Science in Materials Science and Engineering and his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering within the U of T Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE). Before joining Student Life as its new Manager, EDI Initiatives, he made several contributions to the continued development of EDI within FASE, including co-authoring the Report Striving Towards Black Inclusivity, working across departments to support the development of access-based programs and supports for Black students, teaching courses at the intersection of EDI considerations and engineering, co-developing the structure of an EDI undergraduate curricular certificate, and spearheading the development of the Engineering Applicant Census and the Incident Disclosure Framework for students.
Burke recently joined the Division of Student Life (SL) as the new Manager, EDI Initiatives, Student Life. The focus of the role will include providing strategic advice to the Division regarding EDI-related issues and supporting the progression of recommendations advocated by Student Life staff through the St. George SL-EDIA Advisory Committee Summary Report.
Reshma Dhrodia (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty of Music
Reshma Dhrodia is a trauma-informed social worker and educator whose work focuses on enhancing individual, communal, and institutional EDI as well as creating and implementing harm/violence reduction and prevention strategies.
Prior to joining the Faculty of Music as its inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, she worked for six years at Accessibility Services on St. George campus. There, she supported thousands of students as an Accessibility Advisor, trained and led a large team of Accessibility Advisors as they accommodated students, and chaired the Office’s first EDI Committee. She also co-created a workshop with the University’s AODA Officer on Language, Access, and Inclusion that has been delivered over 30 times across the tri-campus to hundreds of participants.
Dhrodia received the Jill Matus Excellence in Student Services award in 2021. She is actively involved in governance, serving on the University Affairs Board for two years, the board of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations since 2014, and the Leonard Foundation since 2020.
Martina Douglas (on leave) (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Faculty of Information
Martina Douglas is the inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Faculty of Information. An educator, trainer, facilitator, and consultant, she holds a Master of Professional Education in the field of Equity, Diversity & Social Justice from Western University and an undergraduate honours degree in Sociology from York University.
Douglas is particularly passionate about issues of race, gender, and culture. Douglas has several years of experience working in the field of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and equity, diversity and inclusion, including at World Vision Canada (as the organization’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist), and at the University of Toronto Mississauga (as Program Coordinator for UTM’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office).
Terry Gardiner (he/him)
Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education
Terry Gardiner is the inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, a role created to champion and lead collaborative implementation of a cohesive and integrated EDI strategy across the wide ranging KPE community. He is an educator and social worker who has engaged inclusion and belonging within and across many communities.
Gardiner has led EDI strategy and policy development across the University including program design and implementation and has provided direct support and guidance to students, faculty, and staff on accessibility, anti-racism, and mental health and wellness. His work has focused on equity and inclusion as practice and human capacity building. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Early Childhood Education from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. He has taught in undergraduate and graduate programs and facilitated community training and learning experiences.
Gardiner served as co-chair of Queer U of T Employees (QUTE) and currently chairs the Hart House Board of Stewards. He received the 2021 Chancellor’s Distinguished Leader Award for contributions to University-wide initiatives and commitment to the University community.
Ryan Hinds (he/him)
Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Ryan Hinds is the inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), a role created to develop and implement a cohesive strategy aimed at advancing equity across the DLSPH community.
Hinds previously worked as Community Engagement Lead at Ontario Health Toronto Region (formerly the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network), where he set and executed strategies to integrate the perspectives of patients, families, caregivers, and communities into all Ontario Health (Toronto) strategies and operations. In this role, he also served as the lead for Health Equity and Indigenous Engagement, working with Black and Indigenous communities, among others, to identify specific needs and achieve better service and health outcomes.
Ada Maxwell-Alleyne (she/her)
Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty of Law
Ada Maxwell-Alleyne is the Faculty of Law’s inaugural Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Ada holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, and a Juris Doctor from Dalhousie Schulich School of Law. She also holds an executive certificate in strategic management from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She has provided leadership to provincial and national organizations in the areas of EDI policy development as well as program implementation and evaluation.
Before joining the Faculty of Law, Maxwell-Alleyne was senior counsel and equity lead at the Law Society of Ontario, where she designed strategies to address barriers faced by racialized lawyers and paralegals. She also served as the head of policy for the provincial medical association and Ontario’s retirement home regulator.
Bharat Saini (he/him)
Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty of Arts & Science
Bharat Saini is the inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion with the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS). In this role, Saini is responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives aimed at advancing EDI within the learning and working environments across FAS. He provides strategic guidance and advice to the Dean’s Executive team on matters of policy interpretation and practice concerning a range of areas, including accessibility, diversity, equity, inclusion, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
Saini has been working in the post-secondary sector for more than a decade. Prior to joining U of T, he served as the Manager, Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion with the Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion at Humber College. In this role, he managed the Human Rights Program and provided strategic guidance on human rights and EDI related matters. He led the College’s Employment Equity Program and co-chaired the Equity & Inclusion Committee as well as the EDI Taskforce Access & Equity: Employees working group. Saini has also held roles with Osgoode Professional Development at Osgoode Hall Law School, OCAD University, and York University. He strongly believes in the importance of community work and engagement. Since 2008, he has had the privilege to serve on the Board of the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education. In addition, since 2020, he has been serving as a Director on the Board of the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, and during Summer 2022 became Chair of the Board.
Saini studied at York University, where he earned two undergraduate degrees: an Honours Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education. He remained at York for his Master of Education degree, focusing on human rights, equity and inclusion, competing rights, disability and academic accommodations, policy development, inclusive pedagogy, and universal instructional design. Saini has extensive training in Alternate Dispute Resolution as well as workplace investigations focused on human rights and workplace harassment. He is also an Ontario Certified Teacher. He is committed to changing systems to advance anti-racism, equity, and inclusion and foster belonging for all.
Nikki Samuel (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, University Advancement
Nikki Samuel is the inaugural Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, University Advancement. She is an advocate of anti-racism education with a keen interest in the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational institutions. She attained her Honours Bachelor of Science in Sociology & Psychology at the University of the West Indies, and a Master of Arts in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto, where she focused on race, representation, and the commodification of poverty.
Samuel has spent over 10 years working in community development and post-secondary settings; training, advocating, and developing culturally appropriate programming and services for marginalized youth and adult learners. Additionally, she has provided strategic planning, consultations, and training to community service providers on topics related to EDI and anti-racism.
Lachmi Singh (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Director, Education Programs and Administrative Services, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
Lachmi Singh is currently the Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Director, Education Programs and Administrative Services at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy (LDFP). Singh holds a Bachelor of Law degree and a doctorate, and she has 20 years of experience working in the university sector in the United Kingdom and Canada.
In 2017, Singh joined LDFP as Director, Education Programs and Administrative Services. This role is central to strategic planning and process implementation for the Education Office, a central hub that oversees program development and delivery, accreditation, and program evaluation. In 2023, Singh was appointed to a second role, the inaugural Director, EDI at LDFP. She works collaboratively with academic, administrative, and student leaders to develop and implement initiatives aimed at advancing EDI within the learning and working environments across the Faculty.
In 2023, Singh was awarded the Chancellor’s Leadership Award, Emerging Leader and the Exemplary U of T Ambassador Award. She is currently completing her Master of Education in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Marisa Sterling (she/her/elle)
Assistant Dean and Director, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Professionalism, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
Marisa Sterling, Assistant Dean and Director, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Professionalism in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, is a distinguished engineer. She led the development of an Anti-Racism and Equity Code for the engineering profession while she served as the eighth woman elected in 100 years as president of Professional Engineers Ontario. She is U of T Engineering’s first EDI senior leader and is developing an office to achieve a culture of belonging among students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
Sterling’s extensive strategic and operational stewardship to improve the lives of Canadians was recognized by the Engineers Canada Meritorious Service Award for Community Service. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto.
Amanda Weaver (she/her)
Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, School of Continuing Studies
Amanda Weaver is the inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS). Her career has been heavily focused on human resources; respect in the workplace; human rights; equity, diversity, inclusion; and accessibility. She has gained experience working in multiple sectors, such as health care, manufacturing/construction, government services, policing, and now education. In all aspects of her life, she is a strong proponent of the importance of inclusive language, respect and dignity for all, understanding the layers of intersectionality, and advocating and/or being an ally for those experiencing injustice or inequities in our communities and workplaces.
Weaver is committed to being a transformative leader with a focus on education, understanding, and removing/addressing systemic barriers in the pursuit of authentic inclusion. She is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), and holds an Executive Certificate in Conflict Management from the University of Windsor School of Law, as well as a Leading Transformational Change certificate from Being First, Inc.
Weaver is thrilled to be joining the School of Continuing Studies at this time, with a focus on infusing EDI principles in everything SCS does for its learners, instructors, associations, collaborators, and partners. SCS is on an exciting journey of transformation, as it works towards implementing a new strategic plan, while striving to drive impact through upskilling and lifelong learning opportunities for individuals, communities, and organizations.