The university says it appointed Chow as a distinguished visiting professor in the Faculty of Arts for three years.
Chow says she's excited to join a program where she will focus partially on mentorship.
The university says Chow will also start a program based on community engagement and democratic participation in addition to teaching courses and give talks.
Chow has been out of the spotlight since late October when she came in third in Toronto's mayoral election.
She joins the university where her late husband, NDP leader Jack Layton, taught for many years.