Membership Spotlight - Brian Desrosiers-Tam

The Mission of NAGAP is to support, advance and engage graduate enrollment professionals by promoting integrity, excellence and collaboration through education and professional development.


Monday, January 7, 2019 - 10:00am

Brian Desrosiers-Tam

Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Education: BA in International Studies and Political Science, Glendon College, York University and MA in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University in Ottawa

Brian Desrosiers-Tam, Director in the Office of the Vice-Provost at the University of Toronto is new to his current office, but not new to higher education.  Brian has been in the field for 12 years and enjoys the higher education arena. As the Director in the Vice-Provost’s office, Brian’s key responsibilities are interpreting, analyzing and creating policy and the governance and operations for the School of Graduate Studies. His favorite part of work at the University of Toronto is tackling issues and challenges in a creative way. He also enjoys working in an environment that is collaborative and promotes and supports positive change.  If he could change anything about his job (which he loves) it would be to have more time to meet and work directly with the graduate students and graduate faculty, who are integral parts of the university community.

Brian recognizes a number of challenges in higher education, specifically within graduate enrollment management.  He lists access and inclusion, time to completion, and professional development in support of all types of careers as some of the biggest challenges faced today. When asked what advice he might have for someone new to GEM – he responded by saying “it is certainly important to develop a depth of expertise in your primary area of responsibility, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture (breadth): stay current, read, connect and network.”

Brian’s first job after graduate school was in higher education.  After 4 years he felt the need to transition to work in public service.  He soon realized that higher education was a special place and quickly returned to find his path back to higher education, and graduate enrollment management.  His time away made him appreciate the field more and realize it was his true passion.  When asked if there was another field he might consider if not education he said “any creative fields – I would be a maker in woodworking and textiles”.  A difference from higher education for sure.

Brian is not only a member of NAGAP (2 years), but is also a member of CAGAP – the Canadian NAGAP chapter and serves as its current president.  Brian has attended two national annual conferences and continues to be impressed with the diversity of topics presented and the “willingness from colleagues to share their experiences, challenges and how they have tackled them.”  He goes on to say that “Issues, challenges and opportunities are often the same at each institution, collectively, we can make a difference by learning from our challenges.”

Brian is also a member of CAGS and OURA, two groups in Ontario that are excellent in networking initiatives and that provide excellent educational sessions oriented to the Canadian and Ontario context.  Brian has benefitted greatly from his association with NAGAP.  “I have developed good friendships thanks to NAGAP/CAGAP and expanded my network of professional and like-minded peers.”

Some interesting facts about Brian.  When he is not wearing his higher education hat, he can be found watching and participating in Dragon Boat racing – on ice of course!  For the first time in 2019 Brian will be steering a dragon boat on ice in Ottawa, Canada, in full control of the “boat on skates”.  His other loves are woodworking and textiles.  Navigating a dragon boat over the ice is much like helping a potential student navigate their way through our often complex graduate school systems.  As GEM professionals we all hope to “steer” everyone in the right direction.  And speaking of “right direction” be sure to say “hello” to Brian when you are in Toronto, CA for the next NAGAP conference.