Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) has a new diversity and equity director.
Laura Mae Lindo, who holds a PhD in philosophy of education, a Master’s in Education and undergraduate degrees in African Studies and philosophy, took up the appointment three weeks ago.
“I was intrigued particularly by the desire for the role to include not only work with students, but work with curriculum development and programming for faculty and staff as well as a multi-campus mandate,” she said. “Given my love for this work, I felt that it would be the challenge I needed to begin to apply what I had learned throughout my academic life to the re-visioning of an academic institution.
“I see Wilfrid Laurier as an opportunity to challenge myself and to grow as an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in the academy. With a mandate that’s open enough to allow me to dream big and try out initiatives and programming that bridge staff, students and faculty life, this position really pushes me to walk the talk. I hope to bring a new vision for making our diversity work explicit to this position. Often times, we are worried about making mistakes in public and saying or doing the wrong thing in a room full of critics. However, I believe strongly that if we don’t have these conversations out loud, real change will not happen.”
Prior to assuming the new position, Lindo was a senior research associate at Ryerson University for six months. In that role, she brought together varied approaches to equity, education, training and mentorship through her involvement in myriad projects and partnerships with stakeholders from diverse sectors.
“I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people at Ryerson, both at the faculty level and with community partners who worked with us in the Diversity Institute,” said the Agincourt Collegiate Institute graduate. “I also had the pleasure of working on a number of projects that remain close to my heart, including The Black Experience Project. To support the sharing of lived experiences of Black communities in the Greater Toronto Area was a wonderful example of developing opportunities to have explicit discussions of our successes.”
Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute is collaborating with the Environics Institute and the Atkinson Charitable Institute on a ground-breaking study on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Laura Mae is so very smart, grounded and articulate,” said project director, Marva Wisdom. “I believe that she will advance the WLU agenda far beyond their expectations and I have no doubt that she will be missed at Ryerson. Further, she fully understands the implications of cultural diversity both at the theoretical and ‘lived experience’ levels.”
A former York University course director, Lindo did a post-doctoral fellowship and lectured at the University of Prince Edward Island before joining Ryerson.
She’s also a singer/songwriter and the creative consultant of Dr. Lindo Productions, which was established in June 2011.
“My family is quite musical and I have always had a passion for the arts,” said the married mother of two children, who took five years off from school after securing her first degree to pursue music. “My first dream was to be a rock star. I worked with a number of bands in the Toronto area, but when I entered university and discovered philosophy, I saw an opportunity to build another passion – advocacy through my academic writing. I think my creativity is funnelled through my writing these days. Because we have moved a number of times between PEI and Ontario, I am not currently singing as much as I would like. But with my new position at Laurier and the opportunity to plant some roots here, there may be opportunities to rekindle my romance with music.”