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Instructor, Sociology, Toronto Metropolitan University

Deena Kara Shaffer, PhD, MEd, BEd, (Hons)BA, OCT is the Coordinator of Student Transitions and Retention at Ryerson University, and the President of the Learning Specialists Association of Canada. Whether by immersion in nature, somatic programming, digital strategies, or arts-based provocations, Deena helps students learn how to learn, and to do so from an equity-guided, research-driven, health-promoting approach. Formerly a learning strategist with Ryerson’s Disability Services Office, and a skilled OCT teacher, Deena offers a holistic, empathic, and joy-based pedagogical stance. Deena is co-initiator of the Thriving in Action resilience intervention, and oversees the Portage paddling program and Mood Routes campus st/rolling initiative. Deena holds a doctorate in nature-based pedagogy and learning strategies, and is also a trained yoga teacher (200 hour), restorative yoga teacher (60 hour), mindfulness meditation teacher, published poet (The Grey Tote, Véhicule Press, 2013), and a writer, public speaker, and consultant on learning and wellbeing.


  • 2017–2020
    Coordinator, Student Transitions and Retention, Ryerson University
  • 2016–2017
    Learning & Transition Specialist, Ryerson University
  • 2011–2016
    Learning & Transition Facilitator, Ryerson University
  • 2010–2011
    High School English, Journalism & Media Studies Teacher, American School of Valencia


  • 2017 
    OISE, PhD
  • 2008 
    OISE, MEd

Professional Memberships

  • Learning Specialists Association of Canada (President)