From: Meric S. Gertler, President
To: University of Toronto community
I am writing to share the news that Professor Cheryl Regehr has informed me of her intention to step down as Vice-President and Provost as of December 31, 2023.
Cheryl has served with distinction as Provost since July 2013. During her decade of service, she has spearheaded many significant and positive changes at U of T. She has championed fundamental improvements to undergraduate and graduate education, and advanced the University’s core priority of delivering a top-quality education to students from across Canada and around the world. She has focused on enriching the student experience through technology-enhanced teaching innovations, creation of a new teaching stream in the professoriate, supporting new academic programs, and enhancing experiential learning opportunities.
She has also been a tireless champion of equity and inclusion, supporting 140 access and outreach programs across all three campuses to bring over 7,000 students from marginalized backgrounds to the University. By instituting an innovative program to recruit diverse scholars to U of T, Provost Regehr has enabled the recruitment of 140 faculty members from Black, Indigenous and other underrepresented groups over the course of five years. In addition, she has recruited 40 deans and principals over her years as Provost, literally changing the face of the University by appointing record numbers of women and racialized colleagues to these leadership roles.
Building on her own scholarship in the field of social work, Professor Regehr has led the University’s efforts to improve services supporting the mental health of our students, to enhance the delivery of graduate student services through the School of Graduate Studies, and to develop new policy and services for members of our community impacted by sexual violence. All of these efforts have focused on making the University of Toronto a more caring community and a place where students receive the support and services they need to succeed.
Provost Regehr is known for her consultative style and abundant energy. She has worked with other members of my senior team to create the Institutional Strategic Initiatives program, supporting new interdisciplinary platforms for faculty and students to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. She has led the redesign of core operations such as Strategic Enrolment Management. And, as our chief budget officer, she has strengthened budget planning processes at the divisional and institutional level, fostering the University’s sound financial footing.
Perhaps most significantly, Cheryl’s leadership was crucial in enabling the University to navigate the unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic. Her calm, clear-eyed approach was instrumental in sustaining our research and teaching functions, and providing timely and effective support to our community. Her work during this difficult period was guided by her compassion, humanity, and single-minded focus on the wellbeing of our students.
A distinguished and influential academic, Cheryl was recently recognized as one of the most highly cited scholars in the field of social work worldwide. While serving as Provost, her research on the impact of stress and trauma on decision-making has been funded by SSHRC and CIHR, and has been published in books with Columbia, Oxford, and University of Toronto presses. In addition to the tremendous scholarly contributions over her career, Cheryl has served with distinction in a succession of senior academic leadership roles at U of T, including Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Dean, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.
I am extremely grateful to Cheryl for her outstanding service and remarkable dedication to the University of Toronto. I know that in this final year of her term, she will continue to provide strong academic leadership and ensure that momentum continues on key priorities. We will acknowledge and celebrate her achievements at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I am starting the process of identifying her successor immediately, and will share further details soon.