Effective July 1, 2008, Jill Matus, English professor and current viceprincipal of University College, will become U of T’s new vice-provost of students, a step up the administrative ladder that Governing Council approved this past week. She has been with the University of Toronto’s English department for over 25 years.
Matus will succeed U of T’s fi rst vice-provost of students, Jonathan Freedman, who held the job for seven months as an interim appointment while the university searched for a permanent replacement. During Matus’s upcoming fi ve-year tenure, she will be responsible for policies affecting the students and student organizations of all three U of T campuses.
In particular, she will oversee the operation and administration of student programs and services on St. George campus. Matus broke down her priorities for the downtown campus: “It would be things like the International Student Centre, First Nations health, student housing, and Hart House,” she said.
Other tasks Matus is expected to shepherd include supervising student recruitment operations, overseeing admissions and awards, and handling international student exchange programs. She will also supervise the assistant vice-president of student life, a newly created position, as yet unfilled.
After earning her PhD at the university in 1981, Matus worked as a part-time lecturer and an assistant professor at UTSC before joining the St. George English department as a full professor in 1997.
Three years ago, she began a term as vice-principal of University College, also taking on the role as acting principal of the college from July to December of 2007.
Announcing Matus’s new appointment, U of T vice-president and provost Vivek Goel said Matus embodies the essential characteristics needed for the position. Goel cited her “direct experience in undergraduate education, an understanding of the role of college life in the student experience, and a tri-campus orientation.”
“She has been engaged in activities that bridge curricular and co-curricular to ensure that our students have a well-rounded experience,” he said.
The outgoing Freedman expressed similar views of Matus, supporting her appointment, while bidding farewell to the post he has held since July 2007.
“She will be a wonderful addition to this office, and I look forward to having her take over the job,” said Freedman.
Matus was enthused about the appointment, but said she hopes it will not take her away from the classroom completely.
“I love teaching. It’s a wonderful way to maintain contact with students, particularly in my own department,” she said.
Apart from her administrative and academic experiences at U of T, Matus is also a distinguished humanities scholar and researcher, specializing in Victorian literature and culture. She has published writings on authors such as Dickens, George Eliot, and the Brontë sisters—to name but a few.