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Tanya De Mello appointed vice-president, equity and community inclusion

Valued member of TMU community will take on new role as of Jan. 1, 2023
Category:From the President
September 28, 2022
Tanya De Mello.

Effective January 1, 2023, Tanya (Toni) De Mello will be appointed vice-president, equity and community inclusion.

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Tanya (Toni) De Mello as Toronto Metropolitan University’s next vice-president, equity and community inclusion, effective January 1, 2023.

Toni is currently the assistant dean for student programming, development and equity at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. Already a trusted and collaborative leader at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), as vice-president ECI she will provide strategic leadership, vision, and direction to support the university’s goal to be a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Proven leadership in post secondary education

Toni brings 25 years of experience in equity, diversity and inclusion to the role, with over 15 years working in administration of post-secondary education. She has been a valued member of the TMU community since her arrival as director of Human Rights in 2017 where she worked closely with TMU’s administration, faculties, associations, unions and student groups to engage in programming, service delivery and curriculum development in order to operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. 

As the inaugural associate dean, for student programming, development and equity at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law she provides strategic advice and counsel to the dean with a focus on the school’s four founding pillars: increasing access to justice for Ontarians and Canadians; innovation and entrepreneurship; equity, diversity and inclusion and; sound academic grounding with innovative pedagogy.  

Her broad portfolio includes admissions, health and wellness, careers, student accommodations, targeted support for Black, Indigenous and racialized students, and student engagement, and she is responsible for the overall strategic development and delivery of the Juris Doctor program, including co-curriculum innovation/development and implementation, including experiential learning.

Expertise in and commitment to human rights and increasing access 

Toni is an accomplished human rights lawyer, mediator and coach with expertise in discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence, with a focus on the postsecondary sector. She is considered a leading expert and trainer on equity and inclusion in Canada. She holds bachelor degrees in economics and political science from the University of Waterloo; a dual master’s degree in public policy and urban and regional planning from Princeton University; a master of education in counselling and psychotherapy from the University of Toronto and two law degrees (common and civil law) from McGill University’s Faculty of Law. In 2020, she completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, which focused on access to the legal sector in Toronto. Toni has been a member of the Ontario bar since 2011.

As vice-president, equity and community inclusion, Toni’s responsibilities include directing the implementation of EDI values, priorities and strategies as outlined in the Academic Plan; developing and implementing a strategic plan for EDI; providing leadership, expertise and advice on inclusive curriculum and pedagogy and on the collection and reporting of EDI data; and overseeing a number of offices and functions including Education, Awareness and Outreach, Human Rights, Accessibility, and Indigenous Initiatives, among other duties. Her office will also focus on building sustained and meaningful strategic partnerships across campus and making human rights and equity work a shared responsibility.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anver Saloojee for his leadership as interim vice-president, equity and community inclusion.

I look forward to working with Toni, as we continue to position TMU as a post-secondary sector leader in human rights, diversity and inclusion in Canada. Please join me in welcoming her to this important role. 

Selection Committee

I’d like to thank the selection committee for their work in this successful search: 

Annette Bailey
Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Faculty of Community Services

Lisa Barnoff
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Community Services

Joanne Dallaire 
Elder (Ke Shay Hayo) and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

Jennifer Grass
Assistant Vice-President, University Relations

Richard Lachman
Director, Research Development and Zone Learning, The Creative School

Monica McKay
Director, Aboriginal Initiatives, Office of the Vice-President, Equity and  Community Inclusion

Marcelle Mullings
Executive Director, Office of the Vice-President, Administration and Operations

Jenny O’Donnell
Chief Human Resources Officer

Donatus Oguamanam
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

Frances Chi Okoye
PhD Candidate, Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and  Architectural Science

Stephen Preware
Director of Strategic Operations and Administration, International Student Enrolment, Education and Inclusion, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students

Pamela Sugiman
Dean, Faculty of Arts

Heather Willis
Accessibility Coordinator, Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion


Mohamed Lachemi
President and Vice-Chancellor, Toronto Metropolitan University 

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