By Keith Capstick and Al Downham
Ryerson vice-president research and innovation, Wendy Cukier, will be Brock University’s next president.
Ryerson’s interim president Mohamed Lachemi announced Thursday that Cukier will be taking over as Brock’s president effective Sept. 1, 2016.
“On behalf of the Ryerson University community I want to congratulate Wendy on her new position, and thank her for her numerous contributions to Ryerson,” wrote Lachemi.
Cukier said she’s excited to return to the school where she earned her undergraduate degree in history and English.
“[Brock University’s] grown so much,” Cukier said, citing its larger campus and interdisciplinary learning programs. “There’s so many new buildings that I couldn’t find my way to the Brock tower, which is part of the old campus. So much has sprung up around it.”
During her 30 years at Ryerson, Cukier founded the Diversity Institute, and is a founding member of Lifeline Syria and executive leader of the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge. She also helped with the push for Ryerson’s university status in 1993, elevating the school from its previous standing as a polytechnic institute. She said Brock is currently facing the same discrepancy between reputation and reality Ryerson faced in that time.
“People don’t really know how good Brock is,” Cukier said. “That’s a much easier challenge to address than if there were significant problems in terms of the commitment to students, the quality of the programs, faculty or outcomes. On all of those measures, the university is well positioned. Just a lot of people don’t know about Brock or know where it is.”
Lachemi provided no information as to who would be Cukier’s replacement but did say that the search for her successor started two weeks ago.
Cukier will be the first female president at Brock and the first graduate of the school to hold the position.
“Being the first graduate, it sends a strong signal that reinforces Brock education prepares their students for success,” Cukier said. “But I’ve been the first female in many different contexts. There’s no question, the evidence is there are more challenges for women in leadership roles. Whether it’s in universities or more broadly, in government. Those are challenges I think I’m well-equipped to address.”