New Dean Ellie Hisama began her term on July 1, 2021 and this is her first message to the Faculty of Music Community.
July 15, 2021
To all members of the Faculty of Music community,
I deeply appreciate the support, kindness, and words of welcome that you have offered in my first few days at the University of Toronto. It is exciting to begin my work as Dean of the Faculty of Music and I look forward to getting to know everyone in our community in the weeks ahead.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself before offering a more extended introduction at the start of the fall term. I moved to Toronto after living in New York City for over two decades, attracted by the prospect of moving to Canada and working at the University of Toronto, which is an institution I have long admired. My training is in classical music as a music theorist and performer; my work has focused on community engagement, music by women and BIPOC composers and musicians, popular music studies, and inclusive teaching and learning.
I want to assure students, alumni, staff, and faculty that equity will be central to my leadership at the Faculty of Music. I am acutely aware that I am arriving at a challenging time. I have heard first-hand from some of you about concerns regarding our teaching, learning, and working environments. I want to thank the many people who are already working to bring about much needed change. Ensuring that the Faculty of Music is a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment in which we can all excel is my first priority as the new Dean.
In order to fully understand the concerns of our community and to plan and implement the change that is needed within the Faculty, I have commissioned a Climate and Culture Review of the Faculty of Music, which is one of several steps we will take together towards the healing and restoration urgently needed at the Faculty. My decision to undertake this review is to ensure that we have in place a positive and supportive Faculty culture that provides the conditions necessary for everyone to do their best work.
This external review will examine issues of culture, leadership, and morale, in order to understand the extent to which the teaching, learning, and working environments of our community reflect our shared commitment to inclusiveness, belonging, respect, and concern for the safety and mental health of all in our community.
To assist our Faculty in this regard, I will be engaging an independent third-party to conduct the Climate and Culture Review. Additional information about the reviewer, the scope and mandate of the review, and the process and timeline will be forthcoming shortly. This process will directly engage our faculty (tenure-stream and teaching-stream), including contractually limited term and part-time appointments, as well as librarians, staff, sessional instructors, undergraduate and graduate students (MA, MMus, DMA, and PhD) and members of the Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Committee, and the Faculty of Music student organizations (Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association, Faculty of Music Anti-Racist Alliance, and Music Graduate Students’ Association).
This process will be impartial and confidential, allowing me to learn about the experiences and observations of all members of our community. At the end of the assessment, I will receive a confidential report as Dean, and to the extent possible, I will share a summary of the findings and recommendations.
I am impressed by the good will and determination exhibited by the community at the Faculty of Music to work together to create a healthy, safe, and positive working and learning environment. I ask for your support and full involvement in this review. I look forward to working with all of you towards positive change, creating a community in which everyone can thrive and experience the joy of studying, teaching, writing about, and making music together.
Ellie M. Hisama
Dean, Faculty of Music
Professor of Music
University of Toronto