Dr. Marlon Simmons, PhD, appointed associate dean of graduate programs

Five-year term to commence January 1, 2021

Dr. Marlon Simmons completed his PhD in Sociology of Education at the University of Toronto. His research areas include Diaspora Studies, decolonial thought, qualitative research, sociology of education and network learning. Dr. Simmons joined the Werklund School of Education as an Eyes High Postdoctoral Scholar in 2013. During the following years he has published and presented on a wide array of concerns, such as mindfulness and educator well-being, action research for graduate program improvements, voice and text in online graduate education, relationships between synchronous and asynchronous interactions in online doctoral courses, network learning, anti-colonial education, and educational theory and research. Dr. Simmons also holds a Master of Education in Sociology of Education and Honours Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, Caribbean Studies and Religion from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Simmons is the author of the forthcoming book, Notes from the Diaspora. He is also the co-editor of Fanon & Education: Thinking Through Pedagogical Possibilities, and The Politics of Cultural Knowledge. While Simmons’ research interests continue to broaden, scrutinizing relations regarding power, knowledge and culture remain the foundation of his work. Currently, he is engaged in a study funded by the Government of Canada, Employment and Social Development Partnership Programs, which look at network support systems for Black students.

“The purpose of the Black Student University Access Network is to build an innovative connecting group of social programs focused on improving high-school to post-secondary education transitions for Black youth across Canada,” he explains.

In addition, he is heading up a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded project that explores how different Canadian communities make sense of their historical and daily experiences.

“The project is timely as it contributes to the current shift in educational delivery and ensuing meaning making processes in the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

The findings, says Simmons, will be used to enhance curricula for schools, and develop critical social theory to enrich knowledge creation and intellectual inquiry of Canadians within the international context of global migration.

Simmons’ term as associate dean will commence January 1, 2021. In the meantime, he has characteristically given careful consideration to first steps.

“I’m excited to begin my new role. I plan to focus on improving graduate programs by enhancing the quality of student experience, and continuing to nurture the research environment with supervisors, graduate students and educational research specialization areas.”

Simmons aim to listen to the concerns of the research and teaching community, ask questions and offer valuable insight as he leads the graduate program in the years to come.