University of Winnipeg (U of W) students will enter the spring semester with a new university president and vice-chancellor as Todd Mondor begins his five-year term. The U of W announced Mondor’s appointment on Nov. 23, 2021.
Mondor, who completed his undergraduate degree at the U of W, has had a long career in academia, which began at Mount Allison University and includes administrative work at the University of Manitoba (U of M).
During his time at the U of M, he held the positions of associate head of the psychology graduate program, head of the psychology faculty, associate dean of graduate studies, deputy provost (academic planning and programs), vice-provost (graduate education) and dean of graduate studies. Mondor says his time in administration has given him an “appreciation for process and regulations.”
“As a faculty member, I really felt that I knew what was best, and I wasn’t too worried about regulations,” he says. “But as I’ve become more familiar with administration, I realized how important it is to have agreed-upon rules by which you’re going to operate your programs or deal with particular situations that may arise.”
He says that as his scope of responsibilities has increased, he’s learned more about working with people with different perspectives and appreciating those perspectives, as well as the importance of collaborating with a common goal. “I think I’m very good at developing relationships with people and establishing a trust-based connection. And I think that experience is going to help me here,” he says.
James Currie, who has served as the interim president and vice-chancellor of the U of W, has steered the university through the shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic, proposed budget cuts from the provincial government and a project to develop more on-campus space for students. He says he’s looking forward to returning to teaching, researching and publishing in the math department.
Currie says one of the biggest challenges he sees for Mondor is adjusting to the scale of the U of W.
“Things often have to serve two or three or four purposes,” Currie says. “We are not funded on the same per-student level as the University of Manitoba or Brandon, so we have to be very efficient. And so that’ll be a challenge. Just learning how we deliver good quality without having bags of money to throw at things, so we can never just sort of do a single-purpose thing.”
The first challenge Mondor will have to manage is the return to campus now that the mask and vaccine requirements have been lifted. Mondor is focused on ensuring that students who may be experiencing the campus for the first time feel welcome and are able to settle into the space.
“Safety is still top of mind,” Mondor says, “but we feel like there’s a better learning experience for students, better teaching experience for faculty members and more of a community by coming back in person.” He’s hopeful that in the event of another major COVID-19 wave, the university community will be able to adapt using the lessons learned over the course of the pandemic.
Published in Volume 76, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 31, 2022)