In January, Helen Bright was appointed as the Faculty Registrar at U of T Engineering.
Bright is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Master’s in Information Studies. She has a long history of contributions to the Faculty, starting from when she joined in 1999 as an Admissions and Awards Counsellor to senior positions as she progressed through her career. Prior to her appointment as Faculty Registrar, Bright held the role of Associate Registrar & Director, Admissions for eight years.
In recognition of her exemplary leadership, she has received the U of T Engineering Emerging Leader Award and the U of T Chancellor’s Emerging Leader Award.
Advisor, Registrarial Communications Andrea Luna Yong caught up with Bright to learn more about her plans and goals in this new position.
Could you tell us more about your role as Faculty Registrar?
My role as Faculty Registrar is to support students from application to graduation. The Registrar’s Office helps to ensure that matters related to admissions, registration, course enrolment, examinations, student records, financial aid and scholarships are administered well.
Our office works closely with the undergraduate departments, along with other offices on campus, to ensure that engineering students receive the support they need for a successful academic career.
What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
I have seen an incredible change since I first arrived in the Faculty – we now have a much more diverse group of students with a lot more flexibility in their undergraduate programs. I have no doubt that as the Faculty moves past its first 150 years that it will continue to evolve, and I want to ensure that our office is ready to support the changes to come.
In my short time in my new role, I have had the opportunity to speak to students about their PEY Co-op work terms, plans to study and research abroad, graduate school applications, as well as the challenges they are facing. In addition to getting to know our students being very rewarding, these conversations are extremely helpful in understanding our community and identifying ways we could improve our services to students.
What is your goal as Faculty Registrar for the next few years?
U of T Engineering has always strived to be a leader in the services we provide to students. I want to continue this and build upon that tradition. I hope to foster an inclusive environment where new ideas from staff, students and faculty can make the work that we do better.
Furthermore, since the pandemic closures, a lot more of our services have gone online. While, in many ways, this has improved our service delivery, it does mean that fewer students come in person into the office. Talking to students and faculty is so important to the work that we do, so we will look at ways for more of the Registrar’s Office team to interact with the broader community.
Why is this role important to you?
U of T Engineering is the number one engineering school in Canada. This is a testament to our incredible students and faculty members – I know how hard our students work. My role is to help ensure that the processes that support students run smoothly so that they can focus on doing the things that make up life at SkuleTM.
Lots of things need to happen to make sure that students are enrolled in their courses, receive their grades, have their scholarships paid and ultimately graduate. While it is important for students and instructors to do their part, we strive to ensure that things are as simple as possible for them.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share with students?
During the pandemic, like many people, I began to take advantage of all the green spaces in and around Toronto with my family. The city offers many great spots to explore nature. I would highly recommend this to our students as a great way to unwind and relax, especially now that the spring weather is here.