Faculty of Graduate Studies names new associate dean, academic  

A drone image of Vari Hall on the Keele campus

Professor Cheryl van Daalen-Smith joins the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) as the new associate dean, academic. She is cross-appointed to the Faculty of Health and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – specifically with graduate programs in: nursing; health; critical disability studies; gender, sexuality and women’s studies; interdisciplinary studies; and with the children, childhood and youth undergraduate program.

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith 2022
Cheryl van Daalen-Smith

Her involvement with different departments, research and scholarship topics, as well as members of the community, makes her an outstanding candidate for this role.   

“From the many graduate programs in which she is a member, she knows well how to enable program development for faculty and students that understand how career development can, should, and must emerge from robust intellectual development,” said FGS Dean and Associate Vice-President Graduate, Thomas Loebel 

The associate dean, academic leads the academic affairs team of FGS, while performing various roles on Council, FGS and pan-University committees. An important part of the position is engaging with academic policy through FGS Council and various committees working on a diverse array of projects from open access and open data to the decolonization of knowledge and assessment. Van Daalen-Smith’s work in policy development within the International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing provides a key asset for this role.  

This role is also involved in developing scholarship and research by overseeing all the award competitions adjudicated by the awards and scholarships committee. Scholarships and awards recognize, promote and support the achievements of graduate students, which are goals that intersect with the portfolio of the associate dean students and Student Affairs team. Together the teams work collaboratively for solutions to matters concerning the graduate community; for instance, effective promotion of equity, diversity and inclusion as a driver of an academic culture that supports students will be of central importance. 

“I am thrilled to join FGS – ‘A Place where knowledge is Made’ – and to work alongside the decanal team, the fabulous staff and the diverse collegium of grad programs directors. FGS’ desire to embed York’s various EDIC [Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committees], experiential education and globalized learning commitments and others align with my own values and commitments,” says van Daalen-Smith.  

Van Daalen-Smith is a well-known feminist nurse who has her practice rooted in social justice with an emancipatory agenda at the forefront, which is a goal reflective of the associate dean, academic position. Moreover, as founder of the Ontario and Canadian Pediatric Nursing Associations, van Daalen-Smith is dedicated to collaborative leadership. She brings her unique rights-based lens to the position as she engages with leading issues and trends in graduate studies.  

“To me, this role brings with it incredible opportunities to support others so that they can make the difference they wish to make. And while the role brings with it an opportunity for further leadership development, more importantly, it fosters an opportunity to give back to the University and support the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ desire to ‘promote and enhance the quality of education so that … students are provided with opportunities to create worldwide impact.’ What a privilege that would be to contribute in some small way to those wonderous goals,” says van Daalen-Smith.  

Van Daalen-Smith will transition into her new role through July, while liaising with the managers of the different portfolios throughout the summer.