Dr. Glenda Simms is honoured as an educator; human rights activist; daughter; mother; grandmother and wife. She received her first Teacher's Diploma in her native Jamaica and taught there for five years, before moving to Canada in 1966. She continued her education in Edmonton, eaming her B.Ed. (1974), M.Ed. (1976) and Ph.D (1985) in Educational Psychologyfrom the University of Alberta.
Dr. Simms began her Canadian teaching career with the Northland School Division in Alberta, among the Métis and Cree Aboriginal peoples. Her involvement with Canadian Aboriginal issues has continued throughout her career. From 1977 to 1980 she taught Native Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta; she was Head of the Native Education Department at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, University of Regina, from 1980 to 1985 and she served as the Supervisor of Inter-cultural Education, Race and Ethnic Relations for the Regina Public School Board from 1985 to 1987. At present Dr. Simms is on leave from the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University College in North Bay, Ontario, where from 1987 to 1989 she was Head of the Native Education program.
Dr. Simms has had a long standing commitment to Aboriginal peoples, women, racial minorities and community issues, and has an outstanding record of public service.
She was the Saskatchewan Representative and for five years President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada; Saskatchewan Representative and Vice-President of MATCH International; a member of the Native Curriculum Review Committee and the Teacher Certification Board for the Department of Education, Saskatchewan; Treasurer of the Institute of Public Administrators of Canada (Regina Chapter); a Board member of the Regina Multilingual Association; a member of the Race and Ethnic Relations Committee of the Regina Public School Board; a member of the Women's Advisory Committee to the President of the Treasury Board of Canada on Employment Equity; a founding member and Director of the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Housing Corporation. She was also a member of the Review Board of the Journal of Indigenous Studies.
During the course of her career, Dr. Simms has advised municipal bodies, provincial and federal governments, and international organizations. She was a Canadian non-governmental delegate to the third United Nations World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985, marking the end of the Decade for Women, which adopted the Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, the blueprint for improving the status of women in member-states. She has worked to strengthen government machinery for the improvement of the status of women and developed grassroots workshops to empower women in Jamaica. Last year, she was among the international experts and resource people invited to attend the conference on Ensuring Gender Equality in the New South Africa, held in Johannesburg, and has recently prepared a video on "Women, Politics and Equity," for the Women's League of the A.N.C., which was used in training workshops for women candidates in the South African elections.
Dr. Simms was appointed by the Prime Minister as President of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (CACSW) in December, 1989. She is a vigilant and undaunted advocate for women and racial minorities, and her vision of an inclusive feminism has become the guiding principle of the CACSW. Dr. Simms reads voraciously, writes and lectures extensively on a variety of feminist and multicultural issues, and is currently working on a book, Beyond the White Veil: Racism in Canadian Society. She has participated in films and videos, such as the Employment Equity teleconference and the Chilly Climate video, produced by the University of Western Ontario, and has herself produced two videos: Grandmother, Mother and Me, on the lives of women from different cultural backgrounds, and Say No To Racism. She is a charismatic speaker, and a person of great warmth and generosity.
Dr. Simms' achievements have been recognized by many awards and honours throughout her career. In 1988 she was amongst the first group of Canadians to receive the Citizenship Citation, awarded by the Secretary of State for outstanding contribution to Canadian society. In 1988 she also received an Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Principals and in 1989 an Appreciation Award from the Organizers of the Junior Black Achievement Awards. She has been the recipient of the 1990 National Award from the Canadian Council for Multicultural and Intercultural Education. In 1991 she was one of the first two people inducted into the North Bay Human Rights Hall of Fame, for her contribution to positive race relations in Canada. In 1992 she was awarded the Inter-Amicus Human Rights Award by McGill University for her contribution to the rights of Aboriginal peoples, women and racial minorities; and in 1993 the Ryerson Fellowship Award by Ryerson Polytechnic University and the Distinguished Alumna Award by the University of Alberta. Also in 1993 she was made an Honorary Member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.
As the University, like other institutions, struggles to move beyond formal equality to become a truly inclusive community, there could be no better mentor than Dr. Glenda Simms. She has, as she exhorts others to do, not only "talked the talk" but also "walked the walk".