Research Team

Summer CowleyScott ClerkDonna Heslin | Nadiia Kachynska | Michael Klassen | Clara Kim | Magdalena Martinez | Cheryl Mitchell | Monica Munaretto | Emma Sabzalieva | Emina Veletanlic | Alumni


Summer Cowley

Summer is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education. She holds a Master of Education (Educational Policy Studies) from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Critical & Cultural Practices) from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Summer’s Master’s thesis looked at the emotional self-management of university department chairs and her research interests are centered around leaders in higher education institutions. She currently works as a Research Assistant with Dr. Sá and has previously worked as an RA on projects focused on undergraduate student attributes and university leaders in Centres for Teaching and Learning.


Scott Clerk

Scott is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education, with a specialization in Comparative, International, and Development Education. His current research focuses on how higher education systems and institutions in the least developed countries engage in international cooperation, with a particular focus on Latin America. He is currently an RA for a SSHRC-funded project on the expansion of private higher education around the world. His broader research interests include higher education internationalization and regionalization, patterns of academic mobility, and comparative higher education policy. Scott is currently Manager, International Education, at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He holds an M.A. in Political Economy of Development from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. Honours in Global Development Studies and Economics from Queen’s University.


Donna Heslin

Donna began her PhD studies in Higher Education in 2015. Her research interests are in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation within Canadian post-secondary institutions. Her specific areas of interest include student experience and engagement tied to entrepreneurial education and experiential learning. Donna is currently the Director, Graduate Programs and External Relations for the Institute of Management & Innovation (IMI) at the U of T Mississauga (UTM). Donna is also Director of ICUBE, the campus linked entrepreneurship space at (UTM). She holds a BA in Sociology, a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.

Nadiia'a Headshot

Nadiia Kachynska

Nadiia joined PhD program in Higher Education in 2017. Her study is focused on higher education reforms in the post-socialist countries although her broader research interests span internationalization and regionalization of higher education, public policy in post-secondary education, university governance, and quality assurance. Nadiia worked on leadership roles at two international branch campuses in the UAE being responsible for government relations, accreditation, quality assurance and faculty management from 2014 to 2017. She also has teaching and administrative experience at a public university in Ukraine (2008-2014).  Nadiia holds Doctoral degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in International Relations from Ukraine. Nadiia’s LinkedIn and Twitter.


Michael Klassen

Mike is a PhD student in Higher Education. He studies the political and organization dynamics of professional accreditation in comparative context. His MA thesis focuses on how interest groups shape changes to engineering accreditation policy in Canada, USA, UK, South Africa and Australia. He plans to follow this line of inquiry with empirical studies of implementation in his doctoral thesis. Mike has a BASc in Engineering Science and has presented and published on engineering leadership through his work with the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at U of T. Mike’s LinkedIn and Twitter.


Clara Kim

Clara is a PhD student in Higher Education. She holds a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Human Development and Psychology. She graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education. Clara has been a Research Assistant since fall 2016, working under the supervision of Dr. Sá. Her research interests include studying the relationship between corporations and universities, and seeking ways to cultivate more mutually beneficial partnerships. She has an interest in studying both Canadian and US higher education institutions.


Magdalena Martinez

Magdalena is a PhD student in Higher Education. She holds a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Concordia University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and International Development from McGill University. Currently, Magdalena is a research assistant, working with Dr. Sá on a SSHRC-funded project on academic collaboration between Canada and Brazil. Her current research interests relate to access to Higher Education, administration and governance, and comparative education in Canada and Brazil. Magdalena’s LinkedIn.


Cheryl Mitchell

Cheryl is a PhD candidate in Higher Education.  She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Master of Education from Acadia University.  With a passion for entrepreneurship and post-secondary education, Cheryl has worked with many entrepreneurs who are looking to start, scale and grow their ideas and businesses.  Cheryl is currently a professor and the Program Coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Enterprise Graduate Program at Humber College.  She was also the Program Manager for HumberLaunch (now Humber’s Centre for Entrepreneurship).  Her research interest includes entrepreneurship education (pedagogy, curricular and extracurricular), innovation and entrepreneurship in Canadian post-secondary institutions. Cheryl’s LinkedIn.


Monica Munaretto

Monica is a PhD student in Higher Education. Her current research under the direction of Dr. Sá focuses on the career paths of doctoral students and institutional activity supporting doctoral students’ preparation for careers outside the professoriate. Her broader interests in higher education include student success, transfer credit articulation and mobility, and human capital development of Canada’s graduate student population. Monica has extensive experience in student affairs, having worked in various roles in student recruitment, admissions, academic advising and student life at institutions in Ontario and BC. She has also been a sessional instructor in Classical Studies and Archaeology for over a decade, most recently at Wilfrid Laurier University. Monica holds a Master of Arts (Classical Archaeology) from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Education (Higher Education) from OISE/UofT.


Emma Sabzalieva

Emma is a PhD student in Comparative and International Higher Education. Her core research interest is social change in contemporary Central Asia, which she examines through the lens of higher education. Her wider research interests in higher education include the impact of internationalization and globalization processes, nation building, university/community engagement, higher education management and the history of universities.Emma joined the team as a Research Assistant in fall 2015, working with Dr Sá on an Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) funded project exploring how Canadian provinces can become more attractive to international students based on a comparative review of the policy tools and programs of competing provincial/international jurisdictions. Prior to moving to Canada in 2015, Emma pursued a successful career as a university administrator in Central Asia and the UK, has published on Central Asian higher education, and is co-author of Managing your career in higher education administration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Emma’s blog on higher education and social change in Central Asia
Emma’s LinkedIn.


Emina Veletanlic

Emina is a PhD student in Higher Education. Her research interests are at the intersection of science, innovation and higher education, including science policy and how postsecondary institutions engage with public and private partners for the purpose of innovation. Emina also currently serves as Manager of Strategic Initiatives at U of T’s Impact Centre. Prior to that, she worked as an engineer in the electronics industry and also conducted R&D related to a nanotech start-up. Emina also spent some time as an economic development researcher looking at regional industry sectors and preparing business cases for R&D-intensive firms investing in Canadian science and technology. She currently volunteers for a local charity to help advance science education in low-resource settings. Emina received her BASc in Engineering Science (Nanoengineering) and MSc in Chemistry from U of T. Emina’s LinkedIn and Twitter.