Dr. Coloma leaves a legacy in Canada
By Marissa Largo
Filipino American scholar, Dr. Roland Sintos Coloma will return to the U.S. at the end of the month after six years of academic and community engagement in Canada.
Dr. Coloma will leave the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Justice Education Department of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education/University of Toronto, where he served as Associate Chair and professor. He goes on to a tenured position as Chair in the Department of Teacher Education at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, at the rank of Full Professor.
Dr. Coloma’s relatively short time in Toronto was replete with astounding scholarly and political accomplishments. At U of T, Dr. Coloma co-founded Kritikal Kolektibo (Critical Filipina/o Studies), was co-convener of the Asian Canadian and Transnational Studies (ACTS) working group, was instrumental in the development of the Asian Canadian Studies as academic program and has worked on the establishment of an Asian Canadian History Archive. Dr. Coloma mobilized research to connect the academy with community, as seen in his Filipino Elderly Wellbeing study, which made policy recommendations to address the living conditions of senior Filipinos in the city.
In 2009, Dr. Coloma was at the forefront a group of scholars who organized the Spectres of Invisibility symposium, which brought together various groups within the Filipino Canadian community to address issues of representation, equity, and action in an academic context. This led to the publication of Filipinos In Canada: Disturbing Invisibility – the first book on Filipino/a Canadians to have ever been published.
His interventions have had an impact within the academy and greater Canadian society. Considering that the Philippines is now the primary source of immigrants to Canada and the Filipinos comprise of the fourth largest visible minority group in Canada, Filipinos are heavily underrepresented in academic faculties and in graduate classrooms. Being critically aware of this reality, Dr. Coloma was dedicated to mentoring intellectuals of colour and to the development of Filipino/a Canadian Studies as an academic field.
On Friday, April 11, his immense scholarly and community contributions were honoured at a despedida hosted by OISE/UT. It was attended by University of Toronto faculty, staff, students, colleagues from other institutions, as well as members of the Filipino community who congratulated Dr. Coloma on his promotion and wished him well on his future endeavors.