Renison welcomes Dr. Kristiina Montero Incoming Vice-President, Academic and Dean

Friday, December 10, 2021

Dr. Montero will begin at Renison in January 2022

Article by Nancy Schnarr, Communications Manager, Renison

Dr. Kristiina Montero headshotRenison is pleased to announce that our search for Vice President, Academic and Dean (VPAD) has come to an end, with the appointment of Dr. Kristiina Montero. As VPAD, she will be responsible for the support and oversight of undergraduate and graduate degree programs at Renison, faculty processes, student academic life, the Office of the Registrar, and Marketing and Recruitment.

“We are delighted that Dr. Montero has agreed to join us at Renison,” commented Dr. Wendy L. Fletcher, Renison President. “Her extensive experience in the academy as a scholar, teacher and administrator will be an invaluable addition to our leadership team. Dr. Montero brings a depth of capacity, perspective and wisdom which will greatly enhance our capacity to move forward together toward the realization of our institutional mission as expressed in our College motto: One Sky Over All, education as empowerment of all in support of the world’s well-being. With great enthusiasm I ask you to join me in welcoming Kristiina to Renison.”

Kristiina joins Renison from Wilfrid Laurier University, where she currently serves as the Associate Dean and Bachelor of Education Program Coordinator in Laurier’s Faculty of Education. She is an award-winning university educator, praxis-oriented scholar, and seasoned administrator, having held progressive leadership positions during her career in higher education.

No stranger to Waterloo Region, Kristiina grew up in Kitchener as a first-generation Canadian, born after her parents immigrated from Finland and Spain in the late 1960s.  When mentioning this piece of information, Kristiina is quick to point out that Canadian immigration policies focused on European immigration during that time, and as a result she and her family benefitted from the unfortunate racist policies borne of colonial ideas.

Kristiina has always been a teacher, first completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, followed by a Bachelor of Education at Brock. She taught for a few years, but says that as she was early in her teaching career, she continued to have questions. In particular, questions about how we learn, and how sociocultural circumstances influence learning and teaching. Bitten by what she refers to as “the learning bug,” Kristiina set out, initially for one year, to complete a Master’s degree at Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL). Her Master’s program was followed by a PhD from The University of Georgia (Athens, GA), and she began her professional academic life at Syracuse University, (Syracuse, NY) before returning to Waterloo Region. One year turned into twelve, and the rest is history.

Part of why Kristiina was drawn to Renison was because of the motto, One Sky Over All. An explicit statement of commitment to inclusion and diversity, and a central part of Renison’s identity, she was energized by the acknowledgement of our community as a group of multiple people, with different cultures and identities, all under one sky. Kristiina’s personal and professional background also aligns well with Renison, as she explains the links she sees between the helping professions of Social Work and SDS with her own teaching and research. There is a link to CLS as well - Kristiina is a multilingual speaker, fluent in English, French, Spanish, and Finnish.

When asked about her VPAD vision and priorities, Kristiina says that she would first like to tackle post-pandemic planning. The pandemic has had an impact on almost every aspect of Canadian life, and post-secondary education is no exception. How will we prepare students for a post-pandemic 21st century? “The pre-pandemic world is no longer possible, nor desirable.” emphasizes Kristiina. “We have so many things to learn from the pandemic, and then we can start to move forward.”

Much of the conversation centres around the themes of relationships and personal connection. When asked what she is most looking forward to about coming to Renison, Dr. Montero’s answer was immediate – getting to know the people. She looks forward to getting to know staff, faculty, students, and alumni, and welcomes everyone to stop in and chat, either formally or informally. These relationships will inform how Kristiina engages with the Renison community and contributes to it in the most effective way.

Kristiina will begin her appointment at Renison on January 1, 2022. We can’t wait to see how the energy she brings to the role will shape Renison’s future!

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