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    Canadian Association for Graduate Studies
    Toronto, Hyatt Regency, November 2-4, 2016

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    Conference Highlights
    A Workshop for New(ish) Deans and Near Deans
    (aka Associate Deans)
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    2016 Conference Speakers
    We are excited to introduce our 2016 Conference speakers.
Welcome to the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies
2016 Conference Programme

For more than 50 years, deans and administrators from Canada’s graduate schools have met in the late autumn to share information on the challenges and trends in graduate education. The CAGS annual conference is an opportunity to explore best practices, discuss hot topics, co-ordinate advocacy and connect with colleagues from across the country and the world.

Conference Speakers

We are excited to introduce our 2016 Conference speakers. For dates and times please refer to the Conference Programme.

  • Luc Simon

    Luc Simon holds a PhD in Forestry Sciences (Université Laval). He is the national coordinator of the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) since 2008. He is actively involved in Data Warehouse development and conducts a variety of institutional intelligence projects. Prior to his current position in the IR office in Université Laval, he was involved in pre-award research administration, research ethics and internal research support programs (VP Research Office).

  • Mahadeo Sukhai

    Mahadeo Sukhai is a research fellow and team leader with the Advanced Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at the University Health Network. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. Sukhai completed his Ph.D. in cancer biology from the University of Toronto (2007), and two post-doctoral fellowships, in genomics and drug discovery. Outside of a distinguished research and teaching career, Dr. Sukhai has been an active volunteer with the International Association of Lions Clubs (1993-2003), the Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program (2007-2012), the University of Toronto (2001-2012) and the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS; 2004-present).

  • Catharyn Andersen

    Catharyn Andersen is special advisor to the president on Aboriginal affairs at Memorial University. Ms. Andersen has significant experience working with the Nunatsiavut Government. She previously served in the roles of director and Inuktitut Language Program co-ordinator with the Torngâsok Cultural Centre in Nain, Labrador. Ms. Andersen has been involved with a variety of committees and groups relevant to Aboriginal issues. She is a member of the Labrador Inuttitut Training Program Committee and former chair of the Nunainguk Historical Society. Ms. Andersen has also been harbour operations officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. She holds a bachelor of arts in linguistics, a master of arts in linguistics and a master of business administration from Memorial University, as well as an international baccalaureate diploma from Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Victoria, B.C.

  • Danine Farquharson

    Dr. Danine Farquharson is more than a gifted English professor embarking on a unique research path. Sure, her study of 20th-century Irish literature has found that the issues of masculinity and violence are not only important to Ireland, but to the contemporary world outside of Ireland. After all, she's found that the connection to, and combination of Newfoundland literature and Irish drama is one of the great bonuses that's allowed her to live in Newfoundland and teach at Memorial. But Dr. Farquharson also brings a first-hand understanding of graduate studies at Memorial to her work as graduate officer for the Department of English Language and Literature. She studied for both her MA and PhD here at Memorial. Her experiences allow her to see things from a graduate student’s perspective. She works to sustain the same environment that she was a part of as a grad student: great students and faculty, and a chance to live and work in one of most amazing cities in the world.

  • Susan Drodge

    A graduate of Memorial University, Susan Drodge is the Director General of Policy, Advocacy and Coordination with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in St. John’s. After graduating with her Ph.D. in English in 1995, Susan taught English at Memorial University in Corner Brook and in St. John’s before transitioning to a career in policy with the federal public service in Ottawa. She has held a number of positions within the Government of Canada both in Ottawa and in Atlantic Canada, including serving as Senior Policy Advisor for the Atlantic Region of Canadian Heritage and Chair of the Federal Council Policy Committee, comprised of senior policy practitioners in NL. In her current position with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Susan is responsible for leading policy research and analysis on complex economic development issues, providing strategic intelligence and advice to ACOA’s Minister and senior officials, and leading ACOA’s engagement with public policy stakeholders in NL. From September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016, Susan is serving as the first Public Servant in Residence with the School of Graduate Studies at MUN, working with university stakeholders to build strategic networks involving federal representatives and resources and to increase awareness of federal government priorities, processes, and mechanisms.

  • Nanda Dimitrov

    Dr. Nanda Dimitrov is the Associate Director of the Teaching Support Centre, and adjunct research professor in the Centre for Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at Western University. Her work as an educational developer focuses on mentorship across cultures, TA development, doctoral education and internationalizing the curriculum. Her recent publications have explored the development of intercultural teaching competence, the impact of International TA training programs and disciplinary communication competence. She has been invited to speak about her work on mentorship across cultures at a number of Canadian universities, including Simon Fraser University, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University, and facilitated faculty development workshops at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in Switzerland. The Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures has been used by universities around the world, including institutions in Denmark, Sweden, the US, Canada and Kenya.

  • Chitra Rangan


  • Dianne Looker

    E. Dianne Looker is Professor Emerita with the Sociology Departments of Acadia and Mount Saint Vincent Universities. She served as Director of Research and Graduate Studies at Acadia in the 1990s. She has, over the course of her forty year career, focused her research on youth and their transitions to adulthood, including educational decisions. She has been the recipient of multiple grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and has undertaken a number of complex longitudinal surveys as team leader. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on quantitative analyses and on survey design. Contract work undertaken includes work for: the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, Industry Canada, and Employment and Social Development, Canada.

  • Bernice Downey

    Dr. Downey is a Post-Doctoral Fellow and heads the Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars Program at McMaster University, a program that invites Indigenous undergraduate students to apply for a summer program that introduces them to the world of research and the expectations of graduate study, and includes skills workshops on such topics as research ethics, community-engaged research, scholarly communication, and time and project management.

  • Ketra Schmitt

    Dr. Ketra Schmitt joined the Centre for Engineering in Society as an Assistant Professor in 2008 and was awarded tenure in 2014. Prior to being promoted to associate professor, she was appointed the INDI director in 2013. Prior to coming to Concordia, Dr. Schmitt worked as a Research Scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute, where she modeled the economic impacts of bioterrorism, life cycle costs of hearing loss and health impacts of seafood consumption. Dr. Schmitt was awarded the Ph.D. degree in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 and a Master's in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. Dr. Schmitt has worked as a statistician forecasting natural gas demand for Peoples Energy and as a health inspector for the City of Evanston. Dr. Schmitt earned her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in 1996.

  • Cheyanne Desnomie

    Ms Desnomie is a graduate student from the University of Regina and the Coordinator of the OMA program that pairs First Nations and Aboriginal graduate student and senior undergraduate student tutors with first-year Indigenous students, students who are often among the first generation in their family to attend a postsecondary institution and are often simultaneously adjusting to urban life for the first time. The program assumes that a good pathway to professional and graduate programs for students is a strong undergraduate foundation and confidence in their own capacity to succeed.

  • Susan Porter

    Susan is a molecular biologist by trade. Originally from Montreal, she came to UBC in 1980 to complete her PhD and was appointed as Assistant Professor in 1991. She left basic research six years later to lead the molecular diagnostic work for the microbiology laboratory at Vancouver General Hospital. With an interest in graduate education, she became increasingly involved in administration, culminating in her appointment in 2011 as interim Dean of Graduate Studies, and as Dean and Vice-Provost in 2013. In her role, she leads the charge in championing graduate education and postdoctoral studies at UBC, and helping to ensure they are the best they can be.

  • Nicola Luksic and Tom Howell

    CBC radio producers Nicola Luksic and Tom Howell have teamed up to produce regular segments profiling the work of Canadian graduate students in Ideas from the Trenches. As a documentary producer Nicola has travelled to war-torn regionals of the globe, worked with David Suzuki, CBC’s The Current, and produced an award-winning show about language. She has a Masters of Journalism. Tom is an author, broadcaster, and recovering lexicographer who worked on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. His semi-fictional account of our language is called The Rude Story of English, Tom is a regular panellist on CBC’s weekly comedy quiz, Because News.

  • Ross Finnie

    Ross Finnie is a Full Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, after holding positions at Laval, Carleton and Queen's Universities and having been educated at Queen's University, the London School of Economics, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the Director of the Education Policy Research Initiative (EPRI), a national level research organisation based at the University of Ottawa, a Research Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute, a member of the Canadian Labour and Skills Researcher Network, and a member of Statistics Canada's National Advisory Committee on Postsecondary Education Statistics. One of his major areas of interest is post-secondary education (PSE), including access and barriers to PSE; student retention, pathways to completion, and identifying students at risk of dropping out of PSE; the particpation and experiences of under-represented and minority groups; student engagement, the quality of students' PSE experiences, and accountability of the PSE system; post-schooling outcomes; and other topics. Other teaching and research interests include poverty and income inequality, income support programs, inter-provincial and international mobility of workers, and other topics in labour and public economics.

  • Mavis Reimer

    Dr. Mavis Reimer’s M.A. thesis focused on the figure of fortune in Renaissance and Jacobean drama. Then, during her after-hours reading as a new mother, Mavis became interested in the relations between power and value, aesthetics and ideology, reading practices and meaning making. As a consequence, Mavis’s focus changed, in her doctoral work, to the study of texts designed for young readers. In her dissertation, Mavis looked at school stories that L. T. Meade had written in the context of first-wave feminist campaigns. Currently, Mavis considers how texts for young people reveal and produce the terms of societal consensus and solicit the agreement of readers with these terms. This enables her to focus on the dominant modes of seeing and shaping the world in a culture, as well as the shifts in societal consensus over time. Mavis’s interests in the texts and cultures of young people move between the historical and the contemporary, the international and the local.

  • Vincent Rousson

    Mr. Rousson is the director of the Val-d’Or campus of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). Starting as a UQAT lecturer from 1998 to 2002, Mr. Rousson successively held positions as a research assistant and a substitute and invited professor until 2005. In 2005, he became a regular professor in the Education and Research in Educational Sciences Unit. He taught history, political science, education and didactics to future teachers. He is currently completing his doctorate in the didactics of the humanities at the Université de Montréal. Mr. Rousson is from Malartic.

  • Satinder Kaur Brar

    Dr. Brar specializes in research and development in the field of treatment of municipal, industrial and agricultural wastes, and recovery of different bioproducts, such as biopesticides, enzymes, biocontrol agents, biofuels (biodiesel, biobutanol and biohydrogen) and platform chemicals (e.g. citric acid, fumaric acid, acrolein) to obtain products with high yield. She also works in the field of green chemistry to find eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic compounds used in the food industry (e.g. nitrites and nitrates). She has been successful in developing bioflocculants for brewery fermentation and juice clarification processes. Her areas of expertise include industrial microbiology, environmental chemistry, bioprocessing, agro-food engineering and use of wastes into high value-added products, control and disposal of sludge organic pollutants, and the development and transfer of technologies. She holds a PhD in the Science of Water from the INRS.

  • Maureen McCarthy

    Dr. Maureen Terese McCarthy is Associate Director of Advancement and Best Practices at the Council of Graduate Schools. She is the co-author of Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions and Understanding PhD Career Pathways for Program Improvement and Understanding PhD Career Pathways for Program Improvement. Since joining CGS in June of 2013, she has served as co-PI for feasibility study and planning projects on PhD career pathways; co-directed the CGS project on the Future of the Doctoral Dissertation; and co-coordinated the 2014 Strategic Leaders Global Summit on Graduate Education, while contributing to numerous CGS best practice projects. Maureen earned her PhD in English from Emory University in 2013.

  • Daniel J. Guhr

    Dr. Daniel Guhr has been serving as The Illuminate Consulting Group’s Managing Director since 2003. Prior to founding ICG, he worked as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Munich and San Francisco, and as a Director of Business Development with SAP in Silicon Valley. Dr. Guhr holds a D.Phil. in Higher Education and a M.Sc. in Educational Research Methodology from the University of Oxford, as well as a M.A. in Political Science from Brandeis University. He also studied political science at Bonn and Harvard Universities. In addition, he served as a research specialist at the Center for Studies of Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley, and conducted research at the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Studies in Berlin.

  • Claire Reid

    Ms. Reid is the Director, Masters in Development Practice: Indigenous Development. While the MDP program actively recruits Indigenous students to its program, it also assumes that access is about making accessible opportunities to learn first-hand about the contributions and ways of knowing of distinct peoples and about how such knowledge affects the types of questions we ask. Ms Reid will focus on the way in which the MDP re-centres Indigenous knowledge as a starting point for studying development practice, including the ten-day orientation for the program, half of which takes place on the land, in Fisher River Cree Nation.

  • Representative from Athabasca University / un rerpésentant de l’Université Athabasca

  • Cédrick Pautel

    Cédrick Pautel has a Masters in Public Administration from the École Nationale d’Administration Publique and a Bachelor of Law from the Université de Montréal. He is a member of the Barreau du Québec. Mr. Pautel has spent twenty years working in the field of higher education and research. He has solid experience advising management members of academic institutions and funding agencies. He has also worked with the AUCC and CREPUQ, analyzing public policies on higher education, research and innovation. Since September 2013, Mr. Pautel has returned to the Université du Québec network as a consultant to the Vice Chair of teaching and research.

  • Manon Vaillancourt

    Ms. Vaillancourt holds a Masters in Public Administration (2006) from the École Nationale d’Administration Publique (ENAP), a Masters of Science in physical activity - sports psychology (1984) and a Bachelor of Science in physical education (1981) from the Université de Montréal. Ms. Vaillancourt started at UQAM in 1989, as head of the athletic department (1989–1993), head of booking services (1993 -1996), acting Assistant Director of Student Life Services (2003–2004), director of the sports centre and athletic activities section (1996–2009) and acting Director of Student Life Services (June-December 2009). Ms. Vaillancourt has previously worked as the Executive Director of the Association régionale du sport étudiant de Laval (1986-1988), Registrar for the Conférence québécoise du sport étudiant (1985-1986), Registrar for the Direction générale de l’activité physique du ministère de l’Éducation (1984-1986) and as coordinator of the Quebec Universities Athletic Association's project “Canada Works” (1985).

  • Luc De Nil

    Luc De Nil is Vice-Dean Students in the School of Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. As Vice-Dean he has been working on enhancing the graduate experience for students by advancing best practices for graduate supervision to both students and faculty, and promoting academic integrity. In his academic work, his teaching and research focuses on speech fluency disorders primarily through the use of brain imaging to investigate the neural mechanism underlying developmental and acquired stuttering. He is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences and was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Communication Disorders.

Conference highlights

Please join us for our Sessions and Workshops during the 2016 Conference. For dates and times please refer to the Conference Programme.

A Workshop for New(ish) Deans and Near Deans (aka Associate Deans)

For the first time and at the request of our members, CAGS will hold a workshop for new, newish, Associate and prospective Deans on November 2, the day preceding the CAGS conference. The workshop is intended to provide practical information in a relatively informal setting and a welcoming space where participants can ask the questions they have been reluctant to ask before! The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency (Toronto), the conference hotel.

Read more

Meeting of the Consortium of Canadian Graduate Student Professional Development Administrators (CCGSPDA)

Terms of Reference – CCGSPDA

The purpose of the CCGSPDA is to communicate and develop resources and best practices in regards to professional development training for graduate students across Canada.

Read more (PDF download)