Professor Meric Gertler is one of the world’s foremost urban theorists and policy practitioners. He is widely known as an expert on innovation, creativity and culture as drivers of the economic dynamism of city-regions.
On November 1, 2013, Professor Gertler began his term as the 16th President of the University of Toronto.
Previously, President Gertler served as the Dean of the University’s largest and most diverse academic division, the Faculty of Arts & Science, a position he had held since December 1, 2008. As Dean, his priority was to provide students with a top quality academic experience in which they benefit directly from U of T’s strength and diversity in research and teaching.
During his term, undergraduate education in the Faculty of Arts & Science underwent a fundamental transformation. Today’s curriculum has a renewed emphasis on breadth in preparing global citizens and ensuring all students graduate with core competencies in critical thinking, writing, quantitative reasoning, problem solving and ethical awareness. He also focused on significantly increasing the number and range of research and international academic opportunities for Arts & Science students.
Before becoming Dean, Professor Gertler was Vice-Dean, Graduate Education and Research in the Faculty, where he led the division’s ambitious graduate expansion plans, established governance mechanisms for graduate education and played a key role in U of T’s tri-campus graduate curriculum committee.
Professor Gertler is internationally renowned as a distinguished scholar. His research focuses on the geography of innovative activity and the economies of city-regions. He has served as an advisor to local, regional and national governments in Canada, the United States and Europe, as well as to international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris) and the European Union. He was the founding co-director of the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School of Global Affairs, served as director of the Department of Geography’s Program in Planning, and holds the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies.
His research has attracted $8.4 million in external funding and he has published seven books including Manufacturing Culture: the Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice, and Innovation and Social Learning, the latter co-edited with Professor David Wolfe.
Professor Gertler’s more than 80 journal articles and book chapters have had significant impact in his field and have led him to be one of Canada’s most highly cited geographers. He is co-editor of the widely used Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography and winner of Choice Magazine’s “Outstanding Academic Book” award. He has held visiting appointments at Oxford University, University College London, UCLA, and the University of Oslo. He won the 2007 Award for Scholarly Distinction from the Canadian Association of Geographers. Professor Gertler was also a member of the Expert Panel on Business Innovation established by the Council of Canadian Academies, which published its landmark report “Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short” to wide acclaim in 2009.
In May 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctor of philosophy from Lund University, Sweden for his exceptional contributions to the fields of economic geography and regional development. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). Most recently, Gertler received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of California, Berkeley and the 2014 Distinguished Scholarship Honor from the Association of American Geographers (AAG).