Photo of Asima Vezina

Asima Vezina

President and Vice-Chancellor (Algoma University)

Degrees:PhD (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education)

Dr. Asima Vezina joined the Algoma University leadership team as President and Vice-Chancellor on October 23, 2017, bringing with her more than 20 years of leadership experience in education. Asima’s mother immigrated to Canada from Pakistan to attend Guelph University’s nursing program in the 60’s where she met Asima’s father who was studying veterinary science. The couple raised their family on a farm in the small community of Desbarats located in the Algoma region of Northern Ontario. Asima lives in Sault Ste. Marie/Baawaating today and is an active volunteer sitting on various boards and committees locally, provincially and nationally.

Reporting to the University’s Board of Governors, Asima has played a key role in prioritizing and implementing the strategic plan of the University while advancing its Special Mission. Asima works to build and strengthen bridges with post-secondary, government, research, business and other partners and stakeholders locally, regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally to enhance the student experience and expand faculty research, teaching and learning opportunities. She is a huge advocate for student success and student voice and is well known for her strong relationships with students and student groups on campus.

Asima is a strong voice for equity, diversity and inclusion and in 2019 was proud to share that Algoma University had been recognized for their work in this area receiving the Outstanding Business Achievement Award – Diversity. She was recently honoured with the Athena Award (2021) and the Chamber of Commerce President’s Award (2020) and the SSM Innovation Centre Women in Leadership Award (2019) particularly for the work she has been doing in the following areas: women in leadership, supporting access to higher education for under-represented groups, helping to prepare a community mental health and addictions strategy and introducing the community to high quality cultural sensitivity training programs for wide-scale uptake.

In 2019 Asima led the co-hosting of the Universities Canada 5th Annual National Building Reconciliation Forum – Working Together to Advance Healing & Reconciliation on the Shingwauk site in Sault Ste. Marie alongside Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Nipissing University, Cape Breton University and the University of Northern British Columbia. The forum provided an important opportunity for Universities and educational organizations to highlight the work of Reconciliation across Canada. Most recently, under her leadership, she shared a vision for Mukwa Waakaa’igan – a centre of cultural excellence for the country; a place where people of all cultures will be welcomed from around the world to share and learn from and with each other as part of the university’s commitment to creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for cross-cultural understanding, teaching, learning, healing and reconciliation.

Since Asima joined Algoma University, the University has experienced record growth, introduced new academic and research programs on all three expanding campuses, and in partnership with the communities engaged in new capital infrastructure including the renovation of Shingwauk Hall and a significant increase of the footprint on the Brampton Campus. She is looking forward to a new strategic plan for the university, one that will no doubt be marked by boldness, innovation and carving new frontiers in higher education.