• November 2022 – Message from Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning

    headshot of Rajiv in black and white

    Over my first 100 days at Brock, I have had the great pleasure of spending a lot of time with faculty, librarians, and instructors across the university, including at meetings of Chairs and Directors, Faculty councils or executive committees, individual departments, and affinity groups such as our experiential education faculty champions and the Library’s scholarship of teaching & learning group. I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations at events such as Fall Convocation, Teaching Day, and Fall Preview Day, and in the hallways both at our main campus and at the downtown Marilyn I. Walker School. I want to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the warmth of your welcome and the honour of your confidence in sharing both your current instructional needs, and your future aspirations for our university community.

    In addition to getting to know my exemplary teams within the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation and Co-op, Career, and Experiential Education and their operations, much of my initial work has focused on consultations and related revisions of our draft academic plan. As you will see, the draft plan draws on the lessons of the pandemic and takes seriously our ethical obligations in relation to the educational calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and as a signatory to the Scarborough Charter. It aims to play a leading role in fostering progressive change, as well as to prioritize care, especially for the most marginalized members of our university community.

    I am pleased to report that over the past two months, the draft plan has also been reviewed and discussed at seven Senate committees, culminating in an engaging generative discussion at Senate. All this thoughtful feedback is now informing the final revisions, which will be considered by Senate’s Planning, Priorities, and Budget Advisory Committee in December. As we move towards the approval of the plan, I want to recognize the excitement I have witnessed across the university as our community members have seen their aspirations and priorities reflected in the draft plan’s five priorities and associated actions. I look forward to working closely with partners across the university to operationalize each of the actions in the draft plan, while keeping the campus community informed with regular updates. Although there is a lot of good work ahead of us, it is heartening that every step on this journey will help build a more supportive and inclusive environment while offering a more transformational and accessible university experience.

    For now, I wish you a wonderful end of term and hope to see many of you online at CPI’s upcoming Tribute to Teaching on December 12.

    Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani
    Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning

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  • Message from Rajiv Jhangiani, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.

    headshot of Rajiv in black and whiteIt is with immense joy and gratitude that I assumed my new role of Vice Provost, Teaching and Learning earlier this month. I am grateful for the trust being placed in me and am especially humbled by the opportunity to work alongside and support the extraordinary humans who make up our Centre for Pedagogical Innovation and Co-op, Career, and Experiential Education teams. 

    Brock is a special place and my family and I are thrilled to join the university community. We have spent the last few weeks exploring the Niagara region—feasting on perch from Lake Erie, riding the carousel at Port Dalhousie (which I have since learned to pronounce correctly!), visiting wineries in NOTL, and of course cheering on our hometown teams from BC at the Canada Summer Games. I have also been getting to know our beautiful main campus as well as the magnificent spaces at the Marilyn J. Walker campus and First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. 

    You will hear more a lot from me in the weeks and months to come (and hopefully see me in person as well) as I visit with various Faculties and departments, assume Senate and other committee appointments, and continue to explore the campus corridors and catacombs. 

    I have a lot to learn about Brock—about the needs of this wonderfully diverse community, about our challenges and constraints, and about your hopes and aspirations for teaching and learning. I will be listening, observing, and learning. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you’d like to discuss an idea or talk through a proposal that you have been mulling over, or even to share your personal pain points and challenges. 

    In my new role I have the privilege of working closely with some of Brock’s finest in Cara Krezek (Director, Co-op, Career, and Experiential Education), Giulia Forsythe (now Interim Director, Teaching and Learning) and Matt Clare (now Interim Director, Technology Enabled Learning). And I am especially indebted to Dr. Madelyn Law for her critical and invaluable leadership as Associate Vice Provost, Teaching and Learning during what was an immensely challenging and transformative 3 years. 

    If you watched my presentation to the university community during the search process, you will know that I lead with my values—that I care deeply about equitable access, inclusive design, and ethical educational technologies, about community and care, and that I seek to build more supportive and humane systems within the academy. In doing so I draw on theory and practice in both open and critical pedagogy. 

     It is with the latter in mind that I close this introductory message with the words of the incomparable bell hooks, who wrote in Teaching to Transgress: 

     “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin…” 

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