Staff Announcement: Director, Indigenous Initiatives

Date: December 5, 2019
To: HR Divisional Offices; Division of HR & Equity
From:  Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity

We are delighted to announce that Shannon Simpson, member of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, has been appointed to the role of Director, Indigenous Initiatives as of January 13, 2020.

Shannon is currently the Director of the Indigenous Student Services at First Nations House. She has been with U of T since 2003 in progressively more senior roles, including her time as a Community Development Officer / Personal Counsellor for Indigenous Student Services, a Coordinator of Academic Supports for Indigenous Student Services, and Associate Registrar for University College. Shannon also takes part in many volunteer and community programs outside of the University, including her membership on the Community Council for Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

As part of her mandate to support the University in its work towards reconciliation with Indigenous people and communities, and building upon the work done by Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, First Nations House, and partners from across the institution, Shannon will:

  • Work in partnership with the University’s senior leadership team to effectively engage the broader University of Toronto community in Indigenous initiatives;
  • Oversee the successful implementation of Answering the Call – Wecheehetowin, the final report of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
  • Work with academic and shared services divisions to review Indigenous-related activities and initiatives; and
  • Make recommendations regarding new structures and processes to implement Indigenous initiatives at the University of Toronto.

Shannon will lead the operations of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and work closely with Indigenous faculty members and the Provostial Academic Advisors Professors Susan Hill and Suzanne Stewart, in areas such as mentorship, curriculum development, and protocols for community-based research involving Indigenous peoples.

We are confident that Shannon’s experience at the University as well as her expertise on Indigenous issues, outreach, and advocacy will be key to furthering the University’s commitment to improving Indigenous initiatives, supports, and services across all three campuses. Please join us in congratulating Shannon and welcoming her to this role.