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Posted March 14, 2012

The Making of a Gift: A Donor’s Story

By Tom Mitchinson

In the mid-2000s, I was an advisor to the Ipperwash Inquiry. The Inquiry’s mandate was to determine how and why an aboriginal man had been killed by the police during a protest, and to recommend steps the government could take to avoid similar tragedies in the future. A lot of good work was done, but I left feeling discouraged.

The issues were enormously complex and defied easy solutions. But one thing that was crystal clear was that aboriginal people had not been provided with the same educational opportunities as the rest of us. My partner, David Connolly, and I decided this was something we should become involved with. I spoke to the former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who had recently retired from politics and was putting some of his energy into aboriginal issues. Paul’s focus was on improving primary and secondary education for on-reserve kids, and he also told me about funding that was sometimes available from native bands to help on-reserve kids with post-secondary school costs. It seemed that off-reserve aboriginal students did not have a funding source, so David and I decided to turn our attention to them.

Downtown Toronto has more off-reserve aboriginal young people than any other Ontario community. We learned that Woodsworth was the gateway for students coming to university from many different paths, so that’s who we contacted. Barbara Track told us how we could establish an endowment and create an award, and David and I set the parameters. We wanted the award to go to an off-reserve student in the humanities or social sciences, and we also thought it was important that the student be able to rely on stable funding for their whole 4-year undergraduate tenure.

So far the award seems to be working. Woodworth’s staff consult with colleagues at First Nations House and the local aboriginal community to identify qualified students. There have been several recipients and the current one is now in his second year of eligibility. We feel like we’re making a difference, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Tom Mitchinson (pictured above left) hears cases at the Workplace Safety And Insurance Appeals Tribunal. He previously served as Assistant Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario as well as Assistant Deputy Minister of Business Planning at the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services. David Connolly (pictured above right) is a retired social worker.

If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of students, please contact Barbara Track, Executive Director: Advancement, Alumni and Communications at Woodsworth. She can be reached at 416 978-4197 or by email.

Posted March 09, 2012

Life Long Learning Opportunities

Find out about programs for adult learners

The Academy of Lifelong Learning invites you to join one of the their small daytime workshops for self-directed learning.

Further information available here.

Or Email, phone: 416-946-5185


Posted February 27, 2012

Woodsworth College Career Mentorship Luncheon Series

Alumni return to speak to students about their careers in probation/parole and policing

The following events will be held at Woodsworth:

Probation and Parole:

Join Michele Ferguson (WDW ’83) and Mark Stehlin, Probation and Parole Officers with the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services, for an informative session about career and volunteer opportunities.

When: Thursday, March 8th, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Principals' Seminar Room (Room 123) at Woodsworth College, 119 St. George Street

Information and Registration:

alumni office or call 416-978-5301

Lunch will be served.  Registration required.



Join Staff Sergeant Nick Lisi (WDW ’01),  member of the Durham Regional Police Service,  to explore career options in policing

When: Thursday, March 15th,  12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Principals' Seminar Room (Room 123) at Woodsworth College, 119 St. George Street

Information and Registration:

alumni office or call 416-978-5301

Lunch will be served.  Registration required.


Posted February 08, 2012

Peter F. Bronfman Award Winners: Where are They Now?

We asked former Bronfman Award Recipients what they've been doing since graduation from Woodsworth College.

Find out where they are now!



Posted January 25, 2012

Job Aid Clinic

Discover the art of resumes, cover letters as well as interview tips and tricks. Learn from industry professionals!

Graduated? Graduating? If you are going to be entering the job market soon, this workshop is for you. 

When: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Where: Waters Lounge, Woodsworth College Residence, 321 Bloor St. West

Regsiter: Online

More info: 416-98-5301

This is a FREE event.

Ligh refreshments will be served.

This event is sponosored by the Office of the Dean of Students

Posted January 19, 2012

Netiquette - Beyond Your Personal Brand

Part of the Woodsworth Plus Seminar Series

Attend a FREE seminar on business etiquette with guest speaker Colleen Clarke. Colleen is a well-recognized career specialist, corporate trainer and public speaker in the areas of career management and transition, communication and networking.

When: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Kruger Hall, Woodsworth College

Register online at

or email:

or call: 416-978-5301

Light refreshments will be served

For more info on upcoming Woodsworth Plus events, join 


Posted November 22, 2011

Astrophysics Students Have Their Eyes on the Sky in Rural India

Putting theory into practice with the Science Abroad Program

By Sarah Witol

This summer five undergraduate students had the opportunity to put theory into practice, when they spent two months north of Pune, India living at the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) facility, the world’s largest array of radio telescopes at metre wavelengths. 

The students were participants in Science Abroad, a program run through Woodsworth College that enables students to earn a full-year credit while getting hands-on research experience overseas.  

While at GMRT the students learned to operate the telescope and to detect, seek out and eliminate sources of interference.  “This hands-on learning in a real, front-line scientific environment couldn't be done in Toronto,” said Professor Ue-Li Pen of the Astronomy and Astrophysics department, who travelled with the group to GMRT.   “Here, the labs are necessarily set up in a controlled environment, where the answer is always known in advance.”

Their research at GMRT consisted of two parts, making observations and analyzing data related to an experiment already underway and eliminating radio frequency interference (RFI), which affects data collection, from the environment.  

“We would use the telescope to take a near-field image of GMRT,” explained Connie Lien, a fourth year physics and philosophy student.  “Potential RFI would appear as bright spots on the map; if there was a particularly bright spot we would access a jeep and driver and go with an antenna and a radio to look for the RFI.”

Mitigating the RFI was a challenge, said Josh Albert, a fourth year physics student. “There is RFI everywhere in India. People have wires crisscrossing all over the place.  These would generate sparks, which create high broadband radiation. That is, they muck up radio astronomers' observations. This job required ingenious thinking and technical abilities, which we developed while we were at GMRT.”

In addition to being able to experience the research process first-hand, one of the most rewarding aspects of the program was “being in another country, removed from comforts,” said Lien.  “It makes you reflect on how to react to things.” 

Professor Pen agreed that through their experience of living on the GMRT campus, where many of the other researchers and staff did not speak English, students developed some essential skills:  “I think the adjustment to a very foreign culture was a good learning experience for them,” he said.  “They learned to communicate across cultural and language differences.”

Science Abroad has received funding assistance from the Arts &Science Curriculum Renewal Initiatives Fund.

Sarah Witol is the Summer Abroad Programs manager at Woodsworth College

Posted November 14, 2011

Summer Abroad Programs Launches Videos

Students speak out about their fantastic experiences with the program

Watch these videos to find out more about the program

Posted November 03, 2011

Alumni Café - Pride & Prejudice and Popularity

Join Woodsworth Senior Lecturer, Theresa Moritz, who will speak on this interesting topic

Dr. Theresa Moritz is an expert in Jane Austen.  She has been teaching literature as well as critical reading and writing skills at UofT since the 1990’s.  Dr. Moritz has also published stories, poems and essays which have appeared in Queen’s Quarterly, Event, Dalhousie Review, Cistercian Studies¸ and many other journals. Books written in collaborations with A.F. Moritz include The World’s Most Dangerous Woman: A New Biography of Emma Goldman, which was awarded the Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Prize in Canadian Jewish History in 2003.  Dr. Moritz teaches in the Academic Bridging Program at Woodsworth College as well as teaching a first year seminar course for the Faculty of Arts & Science. 

Event Details:

Topic: Pride & Prejudice and Popularity: The impact on literature studies of Jane Austen's cult status

Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time: 2 pm - 4pm

Place: William Waters Lounge, Woodsworth College Residence, 321 Bloor St. West.

To register:

Email: alumni office
Or phone: 416-978-5301

Light refreshments will be served


Posted October 13, 2011

Woodsworth Plus

Career readiness workshops and seminars for recent grads and upper year students

A new series of events focusing on careers, life after graduation and job readiness will be offered by the College.  The first event of the series is scheduled for Monday, November 7th with guest speaker Denyse Burns, co-founder,  The Madison Consulting Group, a communications training and consulting company.  Her workshop, Communicating with Impact., will focus on the critical communication skills required to be successful in navigating the workplace. You will examine skills and behaviours necessary to develop a strong and confident corporate presence and will learn that creating a positive impression is as critical a skill as any.

More information and how to register.

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