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Rita Deverell

  • Mentor 2011
  • Alumni
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Holder of Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies
Mount Saint Vincent University

    Rita Shelton Deverell, C.M., Ed.D. was the 12th holder of the Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University from July 2009 to June 2012. She holds a BA in Philosophy (Adelphi), a MA in the History of Religions (Columbia), and her doctoral thesis (OISE/University of Toronto) focused on arts policy for children.

    Deverell is a theatre artist, independent television producer/director, a founder of Vision TV, was the first woman to lead a journalism program in Canada as acting Director of the University of Regina's Journalism School in the 1980s, and concluded her term as News Director at APTN in 2005 where she mentored her Aboriginal successor. She was CanWest Global Fellow at the University of Western Ontario and Storyteller in Residence at Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communication. In 2010 Deverell's play McCarthy and the Old Woman had a first production by the School of Drama, University of Washington, which meant its central character appeared on the same stage from which she was blacklisted during the cold war 60 years ago. Deverell is the author, editor, or major contributor to seven books and producer/director/writer of eight independent TV titles. In 2016 her multi-media e-learning kit Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance was acquired by the National Film Board's CAMPUS  portal giving it widespread North American distribution.

    Deverell serves on several boards and advisory committees, including MediaSmarts, the campaign cabinet of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, is an Adjudicator at Large for the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, and in 2015-16  a Mentor for the Canadian Senior Artists Research Network (CSARN). Her many honours include two Geminis, the Black Women's Civic Engagement Leadership Award, and membership in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Her 2005 Order of Canada citation says in part: "Rita Deverell's career in journalism has been one of pioneering innovation and creativity. With an unceasing drive for social justice, she is one of the first Black women in Canada to be a television host and a network executive. An inspiring mentor and teacher, she serves as a role model for young journalists and audiences alike."