Profile: Dr. Colleen Hanycz

Dr Colleen Hanycz – 7 Years of Leadership

A Message from our Principal

colleen_hanyczWhen Brescia University College was founded in 1919 by the Ursuline Sisters, it was uncommon for young women to pursue higher education. The Canadian landscape in 2013 is dramatically changed, with the rate of women pursuing undergraduate education consistently outstripping the rate for men. The difference holds true in many areas of graduate and professional education as well, where women have comprised over 50% of the graduating classes of many programs across the country, for some time. This is a matter of significant pride for Brescia, as Canada’s only women’s university.

As co-educational university campuses continue to expand across Canada, I am often asked if there is still a need for an all-women’s institution. After all, the evidence suggests that sometime between 1919 and 2013, women have been able to achieve equality in higher education participation. The evidence also strongly suggests that single-sex education nurtures leadership and lays the groundwork for academic success.  Like women’s universities around the globe, Brescia is able to shape leaders in ways that co-educational environments simply cannot. We are able to sharpen our focus, as educators, on the specific learning preferences and styles of women and that focus ensures learning experiences in and beyond our classrooms that optimize success. This success is further assured by our remaining true at Brescia to the Catholic values that animated the Ursuline Sisters in establishing this centre of learning for women over 90 years ago.

Further, our students benefit from the excellent opportunities that come from Brescia’s affiliation with Western University. Whether they take a class on main campus or participate in the diverse athletic, social and cultural activities, our students are able to benefit from the best of what Brescia and Western each have to offer.  And benefit they do! In addition to the many leadership opportunities at Brescia, our students regularly participate in Western’s varsity athletics, its many student clubs and academic events, and often pursue graduate or professional studies at Western after their graduation with a Western degree. Brescia has a long history of a deep commitment to internationalization, with our students hailing from all corners of the world. The richness in our classrooms as a result of this diverse student population only further serves to support Brescia’s commitment to forming leaders, one woman at a time.

Of all the many factors that combine to create this superb learning environment, I am reminded on a daily basis that it is our faculty at Brescia who make the difference. Whether you come here to study English Literature, Food & Nutritional Sciences, or our newest program in Leadership, you are certain to encounter professors who care about your success and who will support you every step of the way. Our small student body ensures a student-faculty ratio that is far better than the national averages, so that the rigorous challenges of the classroom find great support in the faculty.

Mark Twain believed that education should always be the ‘lighting of a fire’ rather than the ‘filling of a bucket’. I assure you that sparks are being ignited every single day in Brescia classrooms and I look forward to welcoming you to our campus to experience a superior learning environment.


Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.(law) Principal


Principal’s Bio

Colleen_profileDr. Colleen Hanycz was named Principal of Brescia University College in July 2008, making her only the second lay Principal in Brescia’s history. Dr. Hanycz completed her undergraduate history degree at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, after which she completed her LL.B. at Dalhousie University and her LL.M and Ph.D. at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

Following several years in practice as a commercial litigator, Dr. Hanycz served as an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she taught civil procedure, legal negotiation and dispute resolution, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her scholarship and teaching focus is on alternative dispute resolution and she has practiced as a civil mediator for many years.

Publications of Interest