Njoki Wane

Professor, Department of Social Justice Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

President's Teaching Award 2017


Professor Njoki Wane has been teaching at the University of Toronto for the last 20 years. She is also currently serves as Associate Chair, Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). An accomplished educator and educational leader, Professor Wane headed the Office of Teaching Support at OISE from 2009 to 2012 establishing its priorities and activities while recognizing equity as a central dimension of good teaching. From 2011 to 2014, Professor Wane served as Special Advisor on Status of Women Issues, contributing to research and policy development concerning the intersectionality of gender with race, disability, sexual orientation and aboriginal status, and the impact of these issues on the lived experiences of women faculty, staff, and students at the University of Toronto. She also served as Director, Center for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies (CIARS) at OISE from 2006 to 2014.

An award winning teacher, Professor Wane has been nominated for TVO Best Lecturer, and was the recipient of the African Canadian Women’s Achievement Award in 2006, the African Women Achievement Award in 2007, and the Harry Jerome Professional Excellence Award in 2008. In 2014, she received the University of Toronto International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) Award for her outstanding efforts towards elimination of racial discrimination and advancement of anti-racism in support of the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and excellence. In 2015-2016, she was awarded the prestigious David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Education at OISE for her tremendous contributions to teaching, learning, and student supervision at the graduate level.

Professor Wane is a recognized scholar in the areas of Black feminisms in Canada & Africa, African indigenous knowledges, African women and spirituality. A prolific writer with an impressive record of scholarship, Professor Wane’s quality of work is consistently excellent. One of her most recent publications is African Women’s Voices on Indigenous Knowledge of Food Production: A Kenyan Perspective. She has co-authored a Handbook on African Traditional Healing Approaches & Research Practices with Erica Neeganagwedin and an anti-racist training manual Equity in Practice: Transformational Training Resource, with Larissa Cairncross. She has also co-edited Ruptures: Anti-Colonial & Anti-Racist Feminist Theorizing with Jennifer Jagire & Zahra Murad, Spirituality, Education & Society: an Integrated Approach with Energy Manyimo and Eric Ritskes, and The Politics of Cultural Knowledge with Arlo Kempf and Marlon Simmons. Professor Wane’s intellectual and political aim has been to reintroduce African agency in the discourse about African people on the continent and in the diaspora. Her writing and research are shaped by the urge to develop suitable approaches to teaching and researching issues pertaining to people of African ancestry.

Professor Wane’s teaching philosophy places students at the centre and is greatly influenced by her commitment to allowing teaching to influence her research, and allowing research to influence her teaching. Specifically, her teaching philosophy is based on the following tenets: First, she believes that each student is unique and capable of excelling in their field of interest; secondly, she trusts that she can contribute to the knowledge of each student, especially when some neutral grounds have been established for learning; and finally, that learning is constant, and that she can learn from her students as much as they can learn from her. Professor Wane sees herself as a facilitator or coach, rather than a professor who knows it all. In her teaching methods, she incorporates multiple approaches to engage her students in the learning process. Through the process of learning from one another, Professor Wane and her students become co-creators of knowledge.

A glance at Professor Wane’s resume shows a productive scholar who has developed her own distinct voice in multiple axes of research, teaching, and publications. She has published thirteen (13) books, 35 book chapters and 27 articles in refereed journals, and presented at over 200 conferences both locally and internationally. From her resume, Professor Wane has supervised to completion 22 PhD, 23 MA, 20 MRP, a number of M.Ed. students, and has been an external examiner for 11 PhDs in addition to serving on many theses committees.