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Daniel Wallace Lang was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, on 24 January, 1944. He attended Cranston High School in Canston, Rhode Island, from which he graduated in 1962. That year he was the New England champion of the National Forensic League, the oldest and largest American high school speech and debate honour society. In the fall of 1962, aided by a General Motors Scholarship, he entered Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, from which he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1966. In the summer of 1965, he was a teaching associate in history and economics at the Phillips-Exeter Academy, a co-educational college in Exeter, New Hampshire. In the summer of 1966 he was resident master and a teacher of social studies at the Upward Bound program for the City of Middleton. In 1966-1967, with a Root-Tilden scholarship, he attended the School of Law at New York University. He received his Master of Arts from Wesleyan in 1969.
In 1967, Lang was offered the position of assistant to the Dean of Admissions at Wesleyan, which he held for a year before moving up to assistant dean. During that year he also taught history and American studies at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut. From 1969 to 1973 he was Associate Dean; he then left for Canada because he had accepted a position at the University of Toronto.
Lang’s move up through the administrative ranks at the University of Toronto was rapid. His first position, as research assistant to the Higher Education Group and the Office of the Provost, lasted until 1975. From 1975 to 1977 he was Research and Planning Officer for Academic Program Planning. He then moved on to a two-year stint as Director of Planning and executive assistant to the Vice-President, Research and Planning. In 1979 he became Assistant Vice-President and Director of Planning.
In 1983, Professor Lang was appointed chief of staff in the Office of the President, holding that position under two presidents, David Strangway and George Connell. He also served as Vice-Provost and Assistant Vice-President (Planning and Budget) and University Registrar from 1983 to 1997. In that capacity he chaired, variously, the Budget Planning Secretariat, the Development Planning Secretariat, the Accommodation and Facilities Directorate, and the President’s Advisory Committee on Archives and Records Management. In 1994-1995 he was Vice-President, Computing and Communications. From 2002 to 2007 he served as Co-ordinator for the Program in Higher Education and in 2004 as Associate Chair of the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at OISE/UT. He also served as Senior Policy Advisor to the President of the U of T from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2005 to 2012.
In 1974 Lang began working on his doctorate at the U of T, which he obtained in 1976. In 1978 he was appointed assistant professor in the Graduate Department of Educational Theory; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1983, a status that lasted until 1997 when the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) merged with the U of T. He then became a professor in the Department of Theory and Policy Studies at OISE/UT. In 1996 he was appointed professor in the Division of Management and Economics at U of T Scarborough. He has also been a professor in the Department of Geography and a professor at Victoria College. From 2006 to 2009 he served as Academic Colleague with the Council of Ontario Universities. In 2008 he was Visiting Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai and Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. At the University of Toronto he has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate level (they are listed in his curriculum vitae), and has supervised many graduate theses and a number of visiting scholars (also listed).
Professor Lang has long been active in a wide variety of professional activities. This includes professional associations such as the Association for Institutional Research (1975-2000), the Operations Planning and Analysis Group (1979-1991), the Center for Research Libraries (1993-1999), and the Ontario Universities Council on Admissions (1998-2005) where he chaired various committees and/or on the boards. He was a member of the Associate Graduate Faculty, Central Michigan University, from 1998 to 2005, and has served in various board capacities at the University of Toronto Schools (1986-1996), St. Augustine’s Seminary (2001-2007), Seneca College (2006, 2007), Algoma University College (1998-), University of Calgary (2006-) and the Toronto School of Theology (2008-). The single greatest beneficiary of his expertise has been the Council of Ontario Universities, where he has served on many committees and task forces, beginning in 1982. He has also done a lot of work for the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities/Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, especially its Task Force on Accountability (1991-1993), its Graduate Survey of 1997 with the COU, and Steering Committee / Working Group on Transfers (2008-2011). From 2016-2018, he served as Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister and served on the planning committee for a French-language university in Ontario [Conseil de planification de l'université de langue française, Université de l’Ontario français].
Professor Lang has also long promoted scholarly discussion by editing, sitting on the editorial boards of, or acting as editorial consultant to numerous academic journals, including Interchange: A Journal of Educational Studies (1974-1975), Canadian Journal of Higher Education (1973-1996), Ontario Journal of Higher Education (1994-1997), Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education Professional File (1997-), and Higher Education Perspectives (1998-2001). He was also a manuscript reviewer for the University of Toronto Press from 1997 to 1999 and for the years 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2009.
Professor Lang has also written three books, numerous chapters in books, and a substantial number of refereed journal articles and review essays, along with other articles and letters to the editor. He has presented papers at many refereed conference proceedings (some of which have been published), given a good number of other papers, public lectures and presentations at invitational panels.
Professor Lang has been the recipient of a number of honours including International Association of Universities Palgrave Prize (2003) and the Beijing Forum (2004). In 2005 he was made an honorary member of the Senate of Algoma University College, Laurentian University, and was named to the Papal Order of Saint Gregory in 2006. That year he also received the Arbor Award for outstanding personal service to the University of Toronto. His passion for baseball was recognized when he was named OUA Coach of the Year in 2004 for his many years of service to the University of Toronto Blues baseball team. In 2010 he was inducted into the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame. He stepped down from coaching in 2011.
Professor Lang retired in 2013 and subsequently received the title of Emeritus Professor. He continues to work and live in Toronto.