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 Roxana Ng: colleague, professor, activist and friend


by Kiran Mirchandani on behalf of the Adult Education and Community Development Program

Roxana NgRoxana Ng was a Professor of Adult Education and Community Development at OISE, and the Director of the Center for Women’s Studies in Education. Her unexpected death on January 12th 2013 has been a shock to many of us, although her courage and grace will be remembered forever.

Roxana’s research on the experiences of immigrant women has shaped the field of immigration studies in Canada. Her work on institutional ethnography and embodied learning attracted interest from students and colleagues from around the world. Her studies on the garment sector in Canada and immigrants’ experiences of exclusion in the labour market established OISE’s strength in the area of work, learning and migration.

Many of her projects involved collaborations with students and co-workers. She was a caring and compassionate teacher and colleague, who took an active interest in the lives of others. She connected deeply with those around her, and made many, many close friends.

Her research was embodied – it was reflected in the ways in which she lived her life. Even as her body weakened she made new friends. She emerged from hospital visits with institutional maps of the relations of ruling. She shared findings from her years of research with foreign trained professionals with her caregivers (many of whom were immigrant nurses), encouraging them to study for their certifications while she napped. She had a profound impact on those whose lives she touched, right up to her last moment with us.

Roxana’s departure has left a void in many of the spaces she inhabited. Even though she is no longer with us, her radiant smile, positive energy and enthusiasm for life is unforgettable. She will be deeply missed.

“Many of us in OISE and beyond have been immensely impacted by Roxana's intellectual, pedagogical, and political work.”Roland Coloma, Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education.

“Roxana and I had many walks together with our dogs. She truly adored both of them as they did her. It is unbelievable to think she's gone.” –Jennifer O’Reilly, Applied Psychology and Human Development.

"I will miss Roxana’s grace and her reassurance that we walk our paths together. For the past two decades I lived with her quiet strength not even knowing how much it meant to me. To my everlasting regret, I never got a chance to tell her this, and I can only hope that she knew." Sherene Razack, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education.

A gathering of family and friends will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2013 from 2-5 p.m. at the NEWEDIUK FUNERAL HOME, KIPLING CHAPEL, 2058 Kipling Avenue (north of Rexdale Blvd.), Toronto, ON M9W 4J9, 416-745-7555. To honour Roxana's wishes, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Inter Pares ( Online Condolences

A Department memorial gathering will be held on January 30th, Peace Lounge, 7th floor, 2-4pm. There will be an opportunity to share a few words for those who wish to. Everyone is welcome.

On Tuesday, May 28, 2013, a celebration of Roxana's life and work will be held in the Library at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), 252 Bloor Street West, from 5-8 p.m. For more information, visit

Please follow the links to Roxana's obituary in the Toronto Star,  a Condolence Motion from Toronto City Council by Councillors Kristin Wong-Tam and Pam McConnell, and another memorial tribute by OISE faculty colleague Sherene Razack.