Linguistics prof named special advisor, Black faculty success at U of T Scarborough

Juvénal Ndayiragije
In his role as special advisor Juvénal Ndayiragijeis will work closely with deans at U of T Scarborough to support recruitment and retention efforts while also exploring systemic barriers to faculty success (Photo by Sean Liliani)


Renowned linguistics professor Juvénal Ndayiragije has been appointed Special Advisor, Black Faculty Success at U of T Scarborough.

The new role focuses on recruiting and retaining Black faculty and postdoctoral fellows by advising the vice-principal academic and dean, vice-deans and associate deans. The role also provides support to U of T’s Global Learning initiatives, particularly in Africa.

“I’m really excited about taking on this role,” says Ndayiragije, who most recently was chair of the department of language studies at U of T Scarborough.

“This is a unique campus-wide opportunity to contribute to UTSC’s commitment to Black excellence, particularly through the pathway to parity initiative,” he says, referring to the campus’s commitment to reaching population parity in hiring Black and Indigenous faculty by 2027.  

Ndayiragije is looking forward to working closely with deans to support recruitment and retention efforts while also exploring systemic barriers to Black faculty success.

“As part of this mandate we are looking at developing support programs for pre-tenure Black faculty and support academic departments in developing effective faculty mentorship programs," he says.

“We are also looking at programs that celebrate the research and teaching success of Black faculty and support our graduate and postdoctoral studies through the Inclusive Excellence post-doc program and in recruiting Black graduate students.”  

Ndayiragije’s research focuses on the role of formal features in the syntax of natural languages and parametric variation, which accounts for grammatical systems in human languages.

A Lifeline For An Endangered Language

The focus of his current work is on preserving and revitalizing endangered languages. Ndayiragije and his research team recently developed an online tool that may help preserve and revitalize critically endangered languages in Canada and around the world. The tool, which was tested with Ojibwe, contains 378 English sentences that were meticulously constructed to capture most of a language’s grammatical elements.

His research is supported by grants from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and International Development Research Centre Canada (IDRC).

Prior to joining U of T Scarborough Ndayiragije earned an MA and a PhD degree in Linguistics from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is also cross appointed to the graduate program in U of T’s department of French.