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Invitation to Participate in Halloween Fest

The Afro American Society and USA are joining forces for a Halloween Fest on Halloween night from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. in the Quad.

The student clubs are hoping that faculty and staff might be willing to assist with providing and giving out Halloween candy to students who are trick or treating in the Quad.

We have all been invited to join them and enjoy the food trucks, a DJ, apple bobbing and more.

Many people have family obligations or other commitments that will prevent participation on Tuesday evening but if you can’t attend and are willing to contribute to the festivities, Halloween candy can be dropped off at the ALANA Center or at the Afro club room.

Thank you for considering their request.  They would love to see friendly faces and to be supported by the broader Canisius community.

Submitted by: Sara R Morris, Vice President for Academic Affairs


Appointment of Yvonne Widenor as Assistant VP for Academic Affairs

I am pleased to announce that Yvonne Widenor has accepted the position of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs focused on Faculty Development and Student Support.  The search committee of Rene De La Pedraja (chair), Jennifer Desiderio, Jonathan Lawrence, Shana Richardson and Lisa Sullivan completed thoughtful evaluation and provided detailed, enthusiastic and unanimous recommendation of Yvonne for this position.

In the report to me, the committee spoke highly of Yvonne’s numerous strengths.  She has taught at Canisius for 20 years, and the wide range of courses she teaches provide her with a firm understanding of our students, the experiences of faculty members and the Canisius academic enterprise.  She is widely known on campus, enthusiastic about engaging people in a variety of academic and cultural activities on campus, and has extensive beneficial experiences on campus ranging from directing ArtsCanisius to serving on the Faculty Senate.  She is already seeking ways to integrate Canisius with our local community through ArtsCanisius events. She also discussed several creative ideas about how she would approach the position and how she would support Canisius’ faculty and our students.

Yvonne will begin this new role in January 2024, as her predecessor, Jennifer Lodi-Smith, returns to her full-time faculty role.  Please join me in congratulating Yvonne on this new role, and thanking the search committee for their efforts.

Submitted by: Sara R Morris, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Call for Candidates

The Academic Affairs Office is now accepting applications or nominations for the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA) for Faculty Development and Support of the Student Experience. Dr. Jennifer Lodi-Smith, currently in the position, will return to the faculty full-time at the end of the fall 2023 semester after 4 ½ years in this role. 

Jenn’s return to the Psychology Department provides the opportunity for another faculty member to take on the AVPAA leadership role by bringing his/her passion to shape the future of faculty development and the student experience at Canisius.

The AVPAA retains status as an active, full-time member of the faculty while serving in this capacity; and the AVPAA role is considered as service for the purposes of promotion. The role accounts for approximately 50 percent of the AVPAA’s effort at the institution with equivalent course releases, as well as an administrative stipend and dedicated office space in the Academic Affairs suite.

The individual in this role will work closely with COLI, Sponsored Programs, Diversity and Inclusion, Student Success, the New Buffalo Institute, student leaders, the academic deans, and other constituents on campus. They should bring a mission-focused energy to their work and the ability to balance their administrative and faculty responsibilities. A detailed list of the anticipated responsibilities of the AVPAA for faculty development and support of the student experience is linked here. These responsibilities and the scope of the role may be adjusted based on the priorities, interests, and experience of the successful candidate. 

Interested candidates are encouraged to reach out to VPAA Sara R. Morris, PhD, directly at with any questions. Jenn is also available at to discuss her experience and answer questions. 

Candidates should submit a letter of interest and updated C.V. to Maggie Burkard at no later than August 1, 2023. Candidates will be interviewed by a committee chaired by René De la Pedraja. The office is also accepting confidential nominations of colleagues who have the potential to excel in this role. 

We are very grateful to Jenn for her four years as AVPAA. During that time, Jenn has helped to expand our faculty development offerings including launching summer and winter faculty development weeks and curating our inclusive teaching resource repository. Jenn also helped lead the development of our First Year Experience pilot program, supervises the Canisius Earning Excellence Program and Ignatian Scholarship Day, and directs our Laudato Si’ sustainability initiative.

Submitted by: Sara R Morris, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Nancy Wallace Appointed Dean of School of Education and Human Services

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Nancy Wallace on her appointment as the Dean of the School of Education and Human Services (SEHS).  Her appointment follows a survey of the SEHS faculty about their recommendation about the leadership of the SEHS. The response rate was 92%, and almost 80% of the faculty who cast ballots recommended that Dr. Wallace be appointed the school’s dean.

Dr. Wallace has served numerous roles at Canisius during her 21-year tenure including faculty member – she is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, Director of Partnerships for the SEHS, Associate Dean of the SEHS (serving separately at the undergraduate and graduate level), and interim Dean of the SEHS.  During her three years as interim Dean, she has navigated the change in accreditors for our teacher education programs, addressed changing requirements and expectations of the New York State Education Department, contributed to the physician assistant program’s provisional accreditation, and helped the Counseling Department improve their data collection in preparation for their self-study.  She is well prepared to support the SEHS programs through successful accreditation processes (three in the next two years) and to contribute to a successful Middle States accreditation process.

Canisius and the SEHS are genuinely fortunate that she is willing to continue to lead the SEHS and to address the needs of our students, colleagues, and programs.  Congratulations and thank you, Dean Wallace.

Submitted by: Sara R Morris, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Canisius Masters Theses Available Digitally

The Canisius College Digital Legacy Theses Collection that includes more than 700 legacy graduate theses (ca. 1920 – 2000, non-inclusive) is now available. Graduate students at Canisius College authored the theses in this collection.  College Student Personnel Administration (now Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration) and All-College Honors theses are not included in this collection due to copyright and publishing permissions.

Have you ever wondered what your parents or grandparents were writing about when they were in college? What issues were of concern to students in the 1940’s (or 20’s or 70’s)? These graduate-level theses offer glimpses into academic studies, curricula, language, and social mores of the times they were written. They contribute commentary on a rich ethnic, racial, and ecumenical urban environment in and around campus. They document brick and mortar changes to the College and western New York region. Societal aspects of the theses include descriptions of college life and traditions like Moving Up Day, awards, inductions to honor societies, extracurricular activities, and sports (ex. Little Three rivalries at the “Aud”), as well as comparison to other Jesuit or state/public institutions. The theses cover educational practices and innovations. There are also discussions of Buffalo schools, churches, neighborhoods, and the demographics of the city.

A number of the theses are comprised of comparative studies that include solid “current” data to provide a glimpse into a fixed point in time.  The theses themselves are of interest as products with visual or graphic arts such as fonts, attachments, maps, and graphs drawn or written by hand.

We are grateful to Kathleen Delaney, Reference Librarian and Archivist, who painstakingly reviewed the digital versions of the theses for quality control and to ensure that each thesis was completely digitized.  The collection is searchable through the Canisius library catalog: (use the drop down menu to limit your search to Theses). For assistance with searching the collection or viewing a digitized these, please contact the College Archivist by emailing

Submitted by: Sara R Morris, vice president for Academic Affairs