Ukrainian Studies

University of Toronto

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Windsor Seniors Home Funds Professorship

Logo    The University of Toronto's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures has announced the creation of a Visiting Professorship in Ukrainian Language and Culture. The position is generously funded by a $250,000 donation from the Ukrainian Senior Citizens Home of Taras H. Shevchenko of Windsor, Ontario. The gift is one of the largest donations ever made to Ukrainian language studies at a Canadian university. “This donation offers us a unique opportunity to build on our very substantial and well-established Ukrainian program by adding a third position, with a focus on language, to our existing positions in Ukrainian,” says Donna Orwin, chair of the department. “It is an exciting opportunity to expand our offerings, as well as a Buildingstrategic vote of confidence in our Ukrainian program. We are immensely grateful to the donors, the trustees of the Senior Citizens Home of Taras H. Shevchenko (Windsor) Inc. Fund, particularly its president, Bohdan Senchuk, for their generosity, their trust, and their understanding of the need to expand the Ukrainian language program at the University of Toronto.”

   The Visiting Professorship in Ukrainian Language and Culture is designed as a pilot program to enhance the profile of the Ukrainian program at the University of Toronto's Slavic department. The donation from the Windsor Ukrainian Senior Citizens Home will create an expendable fund that will cover the expenses of the position for five years. The department's goal is to hire a specialist in Ukrainian language pedagogy for foreigners. This visiting professor will, under the supervision of the current Ukrainianists, Profs. Maxim Tarnawsky and Taras Koznarsky, teach two Ukrainian language courses per year, help develop curriculum for three levels of Ukrainian language courses, organize and conduct a weekly Ukrainian language table, and develop an enrichment program of activities for students and the community. Current plans envision partnering with universities in Ukraine, particularly the Ukrainian Catholic University Logoin Lviv and the University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, where active programs already exist for the development of Ukrainian language teaching materials and methods for foreigners. The candidates who will initially fill the visiting professorship will likely come from these institutions. If this initiative at the University of Toronto proves successful, the department will solicit funding to establish the professorship on an ongoing basis beyond the initial five-year period. Building on the department's experience with a similar position in Polish language, the Ukrainian visiting professorship will reinvigorate the undergraduate experience for students in Ukrainian programs at the University of Toronto and help to re-focus attention on language learning--a vital component of any cultural program.

   The Ukrainian Senior Citizens Home of Taras H. Shevchenko was initially conceived in 1976 with a Ukrainian community planning committee exploring the possibility of founding such an institution in Windsor and Essex County. In 1980, a site was purchased in Amherstburg, Ontario, and construction began on a seventy-three unit building. The home opened on August 31, 1981 and functioned as a living community for Ukrainian (and non-Ukrainian) seniors for the next thirty-five years, earning a well-founded reputation as one of the best administered and maintained Seniors Apartment Institutions in Ontario. Over time, circumstances and demographics changed and the trustees and members of the home sold the building. The trustees Buildingof the fund resulting from the sale included President Bohdan Senchuk, the son of one of the original founders of the home, as well as Walter Hwozdecky, vice president, and Mark Lekhyj, secretary-treasurer. After lengthy deliberations, the trustees identified a number of Ukrainian organizations, institutions, and programs to receive their support, among them the Visiting Professorship in Ukrainian Language and Culture at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures of the University of Toronto. “We wanted to support a program that plays an important part in the lives of Ukrainians in Canada. We take great pride in being able to give forward. This professorship will be a lasting legacy for the members of our Corporation. We also hope it will encourage others to follow our example of giving to worthy Ukrainian organizations and programs in Canada,” says Bohdan Senchuk. Speaking on behalf of the University and the members of the department, Prof. Orwin heartily endorsed Mr. Senchuk's view and offered a cordial “schyro diakuiemo” (we are sincerely grateful) for the very generous donation.

For more information, contact one of the Professors of Ukrainian in the Department.
Maxim Tarnawsky
Taras Koznarsky
Alumni Hall, Rm 403Alumni Hall, Rm 417
416-926-1300 x3338 416-926-1300 x3236