Environmental Studies and Education deans appointed

York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri has appointed two longstanding faculty members to lead the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) for the next five years. The appointments were made after extensive consultation with the York community and were approved by the executive committee of the Board of Governors of York University yesterday. The appointments take effect July 1.

"I am delighted that we have confirmed the appointment of Alice Pitt as dean of the Faculty of Education and Barbara Rahder as dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies," said Shoukri. "It speaks to the depth of the talent of the faculty at York that we were able to appoint two women from within the University to these important positions. Both are first-class academics and administrators, and I look forward to working with them."

Educational theorist Alice Pitt (right) has been a member of the Faculty of Education at York since 1995 and served as its associate dean, pre-service, from 2002 to 2007. As associate dean, Pitt led curriculum renewal efforts in the pre-service program, as well as the design of experiential components, including the expansion of partnerships with schools and community organizations. In addition to Education, she is appointed to the graduate programs in Women’s Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies; and is affiliated with the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies.

Pitt has served on the University Senate and, beyond York, is currently serving as a member of a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada grant adjudication committee. She holds a PhD in education from the University of Toronto, with specializations in curriculum theory, critical/feminist pedagogy, and cultural studies in education. She has published widely in these fields, as well as in the areas of teacher education and the implications of psychoanalytic theories for the study of teaching and learning and teacher/student relations. Her current research investigates the significance of the concept of autonomy for teachers, from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective involving Canada and Germany.

Pitt will succeed Dean Paul Axelrod, who completes his term on June 30.

Professor Barbara Rahder (left) has been a full-time faculty member in FES since 1993, having previously taught at York University on a part-time basis. She served as director of the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies from 2001 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2006, and since July 2007 has served as interim dean of FES. She holds an MSc and PhD in urban & regional planning from the University of Toronto. Her areas of research interest include participatory research and planning; women and planning; social sustainability, diversity and equity; access to affordable housing and community services; and urban planning history, theory and education.

In 2004, Rahder was named a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners in recognition of her contributions to planning education and the planning profession. At York, she is a member of the City Institute and the Institute for Research on Innovation & Sustainability. In addition to her scholarly interests, she has often served as a consultant and panel member on planning issues for organizations external to York.

Rahder succeeds former FES dean Joni Seager who resigned from the position on June 30, 2007.