The Senior Doctoral Fellows for 2017-2018 are:


Luncheon Speaker Series, 2017-2018 Calendar

All talks take place 12:00pm-2:00pm in the Dean’s Apartments, Room 2007D, Wilson Hall, 40 Willcocks Street.
A light lunch will be served.

Tuesday, March 27: Lahoma Thomas, Caribbean Studies
“Power by the People: Why Law-Abiding Citizens Support Criminal Organizations”

Wednesday, March 28: Hali Kil, Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health
“The Mindful Person as Parent: Links among Trait Mindfulness, Parenting Cognitions and Behaviour, and Children’s Socio-emotional Development”
Read abstract

Tuesday, April 3: Udbi Ali, Equity Studies
“’Welfare-for-Weapons’: Racial Neoliberalism and Welfare Fraud Discourses in Canada”
Read abstract

Tuesday, April 10: Angelica Galante, International Foundation Program
“Investigating Plurilingual Instruction as an Alternative Framework for Teaching ESL/EAP in Canada”

→ Read abstract

Wednesday, April 11: Chizoba Imoka, African Studies
“Educating for Colonial and Divisive Leadership: The Case of Nigerian Secondary Schools”

→ Read abstract




Udbi Ali standing by an ivy-covered wall.

Udbi Ali

Muna-Udbi Abdulkadir Ali (Equity Studies)

Muna-Udbi Abdulkadir Ali is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, specializing in Comparative, International and Development Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She currently holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship (2014-2018) and is a former recipient of SSHRC’s Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2009-2010). 

Udbi’s research interests include transnational sexualities, Black diaspora studies, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, intersectionality, cultural studies, public pedagogy and social policy. Her doctoral research interrogates issues of gender, race, class, criminality, surveillance and citizenship as they manifested for Somali communities in Canada during the 1990s. Through the theoretical lenses of postcolonial theory, critical race theory, and Black feminist theory, her research traces discourses about Somalis in the Canadian imagination during an era of neoliberal campaigns and reforms. Findings from this research have been presented at various conferences throughout Canada and United States.

In addition to being a graduate student, Udbi is a community worker, curriculum and policy consultant, researcher and anti-oppression educator. She has worked in education and curriculum development in both Canada and Somalia. She has led workshops and guest-lectured on topics related to anti-racism and anti-oppression, accountability, facilitation and leadership, Black diaspora studies, gay imperialism and racialized and feminized poverty at Trent University, York University, the University of Toronto, OISE, and several non-profits and community organizations. Udbi currently works for the Department of Historical & Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), where she teaches in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is also the coordinator of the Working for Change project, which is cosponsored by New College, the Career Centre, the Centre for Community Partnerships and Step Forward – FAS, UT.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 – Lecture Abstract: “‘Welfare for Weapons’: Racial Neoliberalism and Welfare Fraud Discourses in Canada”

This lecture draws on archival research in popular print media and government documents to explore discourses in the Canadian imaginary about Somali people during the mid-1990s, an era of neoliberal reforms that merged welfare and immigration discourses with a history of racial surveillance and the criminalization of Blackness and Black people in Canada.

The mass arrival of Somali people in the 1990s coincided with a neoliberal climate of anti-immigrant and welfare backlash. Media outlets and politicians worked overtime to vilify Somali communities to push their neoliberal agendas and lobby for immigration and welfare reforms (Pratt & Valverde, 2002; Abu-Laban & Gabriel, 2002). Newspaper headlines such as “Welfare scam ‘buying arms for Somalia’” (Toronto Sun, Oct. 20, 1993, 23) and “Welfare and warlords becoming way of life for Somalis in Canada” (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 20, 1993, B5) conveyed welfare fraud as rampant and painted a picture of Somalis, in particular Somali women, as funding the war in Somalia during a period when United Nations’ and Canadian peacekeepers were risking their lives to stop the war.

Realized through a Black feminist analytic, this lecture engages media and government archives to discuss the ways power manifests in discourses, the formation of knowledge and the marginalization of Somali subjects, particularly in the construction of the racial imaginary of Canada in the 1990s. Relevant is how these archives continue to manifest and shape the social and material life of Somali people in Canada today.


Head shot of Angelica Galante.

Angelica Galante

Angelica Galante (International Foundation Program)

Angelica Galante is a PhD candidate in Language and Literacies Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She is the recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award and the 2016 Doctoral Dissertation award from The International Research Foundation (TIRF) for English language education. Angelica has more than 20 years of experience in English-language instruction, having taught several programs in Brazil and Canada. She currently teaches courses in Applied Linguistics and TESL programs.

Angelica’s research interests include experimental mixed-methods research, the effects of innovative classroom approaches and English-language teaching to multilingual/plurilingual students. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the effects of plurilingual instruction compared to monolingual instruction in a university English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, in which she bridges the gap between the theory of plurilingualism and its classroom implementation. Her website, Breaking the Invisible Wall, showcases samples of her work, including plurilingual EAP language tasks used in her PhD study. Angelica speaks multiple languages herself: English, Portuguese and Spanish, as well as a little French and Italian.

Angelica has presented her work at several conferences, including the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL, Scotland), the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL, USA), the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA, Brazil) and the Rethinking Language, Diversity and Education (RLDE, Greece). Her work has appeared in edited books and journal articles, including the TESOL Quarterly and the TESL Canada Journal. Her active leadership in the language-education community is seen at OISE and elsewhere; in 2015, she was elected president of the Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Student Association and initiated several events and talks for students and the community at large. Angelica has also chaired sessions in conferences and reviewed abstracts of both conference submissions and manuscripts for publication in journals.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – Lecture Abstract: “Investigating Plurilingual Instruction as an Alternative Framework for Teaching ESL/EAP in Canada”

Many international students and newcomers to Canada wish to learn English to integrate into the new environment. They often believe that knowledge of only one language (English) and one culture (Canadian) are needed in educational, social and professional interactions. While this belief is inaccurate, considering Canada is officially bilingual and increasingly multilingual (Statistics Canada, 2016), language instruction that reflects this diverse landscape is still a challenge.

Plurilingual instruction is an alternative framework that has gained popularity in recent years and holds great potential to be applied in language education. Previous literature suggests it offers affordances such as the development of cultural empathy (Dewaele & van Oudenhoven, 2009), awareness of plurilingual agency (Stille & Cummins, 2013) and plurilingual competence (Wilson & Davies, 2017). However, both challenges and affordances of plurilingual instruction, particularly when compared to monolingual instruction, remain unclear.

This talk reports results from my SSHRC- and TIRF-funded mixed-methods PhD study that investigates the implementation of plurilingual instruction in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program at a Canadian university. Seven instructors taught EAP students in two groups: a comparison group with monolingual tasks (N=59) and a treatment group with plurilingual tasks (N=70). Data were collected through six types of instruments: a demographic questionnaire, the Plurilingual and Pluricultural Competence Scale (PPCS), learner diaries, classroom observations, student focus groups and instructor interviews.

Following a pre- and post-test design, results reveal that EAP students in the treatment group had a statistically significant increase in plurilingual and pluricultural competence (p < .05) compared to students in the comparison group. Results also show that students in the treatment group enhanced their cognitive and metacognitive skills, critical thinking, additional language and cultural learning, as well as empathy, among other cognitive and affective factors. In addition, instructors unanimously reported their preference for plurilingual instruction, despite being untrained in plurilingual pedagogy.

These results are significant as they provide evidence that plurilingual instruction offers affordances often absent in monolingual instruction. The talk will end with a discussion of plurilingual instruction in multilingual settings, its implementation and potential challenges and benefits.


Head shot of Chizoba Imoka inside Hart House.

Chizoba Imoka

Chizoba Imoka (African Studies)

Chizoba Imoka is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Policy and Leadership program at OISE. Her research responds to the long-standing call to create a culturally relevant African education system that develops a new generation of democratic African leaders. Focusing on Nigeria, her study investigates how Nigerian secondary schools are preparing and equipping Nigerian students to contribute to the development of their communities in a culturally grounded, just and inclusive way. Specifically, the study examines the schooling experiences of Nigerian students to delineate the nature of the student success/failure they were immersed in and the extent to which these conceptions of success/failure are aligned to principles of decolonization. A central goal in her research is to provide policy and practice recommendations for educational change in Nigeria.

Central to Chizoba’s life as a researcher is advocacy and action. On her social media channels, Chizoba is known to be a passionate advocate for decolonial educational change, social justice, diversity and critical international development. In August 2015, she began an advocacy campaign in Nigeria for the inclusion of history and indigenous culture in Nigeria’s curriculum. Chizoba has taken her cause to the Nigerian presidency and the curriculum agency of the Nigerian Ministry of Education, where she met the Special Advisor to the President on Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, and the Executive Secretary of the National Education Research Council (NERDC), Prof. Ismail Junaidu. This campaign has morphed into the Advocacy for Inclusive Education Summit that brings together Nigerian students with high-level education stakeholders to discuss pressing student concerns and prospects for change. Globally, Chizoba has contributed to, spoken and debated at a wide range of high-level international and community-based events focused on shedding light on alternative paths to development. In August 2014, she was recognized by the World Economic Forum as an expert in civic participation and was invited to serve on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Civic Participation. Chizoba is also the founder/CEO of Unveiling Africa, a non-profit that provides a platform for African teenagers to participate in political advocacy and community mobilization. Through Unveiling Africa, Chizoba has designed numerous programs, curricula and lesson plans that have been used across Nigeria. She also continues to shape Unveiling Africa’s Student Club – Transformers.

At Massey College, Chizoba is a 5th Junior Fellow and the co-chair of the Diversity Committee. Between 2014 and 2016, she provided leadership for numerous college-wide reforms in the area of diversity and inclusion. At OISE, Chizoba has served as an executive member on the Comparative International Education Student Committee. Currently, she is a member of OISE’s International Advisory Committee.

In recognition for academic excellence and leadership, Chizoba has received numerous awards. They include, among others, the 2016 Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the University of Toronto Graduate Fellowship (2014-2018), the 2016 Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Student Award, the 2016 Adrienne Clarkson Public Service Laureateship, the 2016 OISE Academic Excellence Award, the 2013 BBPA Minerva Scholarship and the 2013 Selfless for Africa Heroes Award.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Lecture Abstract: “Educating for Colonial and Divisive Leadership: The Case of Nigerian Secondary Schools”

This talk responds to long-standing calls for Africa’s education system to be oriented to developing a new generation of democratic, anticolonial leaders who will transform the continent into a prosperous, just and robustly inclusive place for all. Focusing on Nigeria, the presentation will showcase findings from Chizoba’s doctoral research project that asks, “To what extent are Nigerian secondary school students prepared to engage with and contribute to the political, economic and cultural development of their communities without reproducing coloniality?”

To answer this research question, Chizoba has deployed a three-phase, mixed-methods research approach that involves: 1) an extensive analysis of select Nigerian education policy documents; 2) the administration of a student-success survey for more than 1,000 Nigerian secondary school graduates throughout the country; and 3) in-depth interviews with a subset (30) of the surveyed students. Among other things, this presentation will reveal the numerous ways in which colonization and its legacy in Nigeria’s secondary school system is shaping conceptions of student success, student learning, inter-student relationships, student outcomes, student perspectives and student competencies. Also, it will show how social divisions across class, gender and ethnicity are being extended and compounded by the colonial schooling context and its associated practices. Drawing from the perspective of the interviewed students, Chizoba will outline considerations for decolonial inclusive education reform.


Head shot of Hali Kil against a backdrop of trees.

Hali Kil

Hali Kil (Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health)

Hali Kil is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, specializing in social development. Her research interests include mindful parenting, multiethnic family functioning, parenting cognitions and behaviours, and children’s development of emotional regulation, positive coping and prosocial behaviours.

Her dissertation focuses on the impact of mindful individuals’ parenting on their children’s socio-emotional development. Specifically, her project assesses how specific parenting cognitions might mediate the association between parents’ mindful tendencies and children’s development of empathy and prosocial behaviour.

Hali teaches Social Development in the psychology department, as well as baby and toddler workshops through the Family Care Office at the University of Toronto. As an active community member, she works with organizations in assessing mindful parenting-intervention programs and serves as a consultant to implement greater engagement with the sciences in underprivileged schools.  


Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – Lecture Abstract: “The Mindful Person as a Parent: Links among Trait Mindfulness, Parenting Cognitions and Behaviour, and Children’s Socioemotional Development”

In recent years, mindfulness has made its way into the public sphere, shaping self-help media, school curricula and parenting behaviours. With the advent of knowledge about the negative impact of mindfulness practices (Brendel, 2015; Lindahl et al., 2017), an imperative exists to ensure that developing mindfulness truly leads to “good” outcomes. Of particular importance is confirming the value of mindfulness in interpersonal domains, such as parenting. In this presentation based on my dissertation work, I discuss whether parents’ tendency to be mindful is truly linked to positive parenting characteristics, including perspective-taking and accurate knowledge of the child. Further, I examine whether mindful parents’ positive parenting facilitates that link between parent mindfulness and children’s positive social and psychological outcomes. The results are discussed with consideration of their impact on mindful parenting programs and interventions, as well as the necessity for future research to distinguish between parent mindfulness and mindful parenting.


Head shot of Lahoma Thomas.

Lahoma Thomas

Lahoma Thomas (Caribbean Studies)

Lahoma Thomas is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her research examines how criminal organizations acquire and sustain social authority and legitimacy at the local level by investigating the relationship between criminal organizations and residents. Her research and related publications have covered a broad range of topics, including the expression of sexual and gender-based violence in settings of post-conflict, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and human rights.

Prior to arriving at University of Toronto, Lahoma worked as a social worker and consultant. Her work concentrated on addressing these issues at the systemic, community and individual level through policy development, advocacy, training and counselling.

Lahoma teaches NEW325F: Caribbean Women Thinkers in the Caribbean Studies Program, New College.