TORONTO, June 30, 2023 – Nigmendra Narain, faculty member at Western University, will be the 35th President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) starting July 1, 2023, for a two-year term.
“Ontario’s world-class, publicly funded universities offer unparalleled value to our communities, province and economy, and faculty and academic librarians are vital contributors to their success,” said Narain. “I’m very honoured to lead OCUFA and continue more than 50 years of advocacy for our public universities and the people who make them run.”
A lecturer and course coordinator in the Department of Political Science at Western, Narain has received multiple awards for teaching and service and is the former President and current Past President of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA). He is also the former Vice-President of OCUFA. His research interests include International Relations, gender politics, and security studies.
“It’s essential,” said Narain, “that public universities receive stable and robust funding, that their governance be transparent and equitable, and that university jobs are stable and of high quality. OCUFA will keep pressing the provincial government to adequately invest in our public universities to ensure that they thrive now and in the future.”
Narain thanked outgoing President Sue Wurtele for steering OCUFA with strength, dedication, purpose, and experience during times of upheaval in the education sector and public service nationwide. Wurtele’s tenure overlapped with the crisis at Laurentian University and subsequent campaign to reform corporate restructuring and bankruptcy laws at the federal level, the striking down of Bill 124 by Ontario courts, and the creation of a provincial government Blue-Ribbon Panel focused on post-secondary education success.
“Sue has been a consistent, strong voice for faculty, academic librarians, students, and university workers in the face of great hostility from the Ford government, opaque legislation, and attacks on workers’ rights,” said Narain. “I am grateful for her expertise and leadership as President, and am thrilled Sue will be staying on the OCUFA Executive as Chair of the Board. I look forward to embarking on the next phase of OCUFA’s advocacy work collectively.”
The following members will join Narain on the OCUFA Executive:
- Vice-President, Rob Kristofferson (Wilfrid Laurier University)
- Treasurer, Tyler Chamberlin (University of Ottawa)
- Officer at Large, Mike Eklund (Ontario Tech University)
- Officer at Large, Kimberly Ellis-Hale (Wilfrid Laurier University)
- Officer at Large, Daniel Paré (University of Ottawa)
- Past President and Board Chair, Sue Wurtele (Trent University)
Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 30 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at www.ocufa.on.ca.
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