Meet three new professors at U of T
Profiling new faculty from Political Science, English and Information Studies
September marks a new beginning for the more than 14,000 students joining U of T— as well as for the newest additions to the university's teaching staff.
“The first time I heard about U of T was on the most momentous plane trip of my life,” says Professor Diana Fu, recalling her immigration from China to Canada as a child.
“I distinctly remember overhearing Chinese passengers on the plane talking about Toronto. They were going there because they had spouses studying at the University of Toronto. And from the tone of their voices, I could sense that Toronto was a big, dynamic city.”
This fall, Fu joins the University of Toronto at Scarborough as an assistant professor of political science.
“My main project is completing a book manuscript on state control and civil society contention in authoritarian China,” says Fu, who specialises in comparative politics, with an emphasis on China.
A native from China, Fu will bring her global experience to the classroom as she has lived and studied in areas as diverse as Manitoba, Minnesota, the United Kingdom and California.
Last year, as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, Fu worked to better conceptualize the governance in China and the United States.
Fu says she is glad to finally be at the school which initially piqued her curiosity as a child.
“I look forward to exploring the three campuses, to stimulating conversations with students and colleagues, to breaking new ground in my research, and to engage with the broader community.”
The Department of English will benefit from Professor Smaro Kamboureli's arrival. Kamboureli, a Canada Research Chair at Guelph before moving to U of T, now holds the position of Avie Bennett Chair in Canadian Literature. Her past work has focused on multicultural and diasporic texts, landscapes of the Canadian literary marketplace and humanities research, and more.
“I’ll do what I love doing the most, teach CanLit to undergraduate and graduate students and continue my research on the field,” says the U of T professor who began July 1st.
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Kamboureli considers Winnipeg her Canadian hometown.
She attributes the calibre and size of U of T to what attracted her to Toronto.
“I wanted, at this point of my life, to have the opportunity to work in a bigger graduate program and in a program that has more people working in Canadian literary studies.”
Her past teaching experience speaks for itself. Kamboureli has taught overseas and across Canada including 17 years at the University of Victoria and eight years at the University of Guelph.
“I’ve always thought of U of T as a city within a city. So, I look forward to getting to know its particular culture, especially its student body,” says Kamboureli. “This is the best way to figure out what an institution is all about, through its students, as well as the structure of its programs, how things get done.”
Christoph Becker will bring an interdisciplinary skill set, combining information studies, engineering and computer science, to the Faculty of Information.
Becker will be teaching Information Systems Design and Digital Preservation while looking to expand his research on the challenges in information systems and digital longevity.
“Keeping digital information alive across time and space is a big challenge in a whole number of areas – almost anywhere from electronic art to scientific data, health care, and of course private life,” Becker says.
Raised in Salzburg, Austria, Becker spent the last decade and a half in Vienna at the Vienna University of Technology as a senior scientist at the department of Software Technology and Interactive Systems at the Faculty of Informatics.
When the Faculty of Information created the position of Digital Preservation, Becker jumped at the opportunity to bring his expertise to Toronto.
“U of T really is an incredibly rich environment where lots of different ideas meet and combine to make great things happen,” says Becker.
“I am really looking forward to working with students and colleagues with diverse interests and backgrounds.”