New Faces: Faculty of Education welcomes one new professor for fall term

Faculty of Education

This fall, the Faculty of Education at York University will welcome one new faculty member.

“We are thrilled to have Gillian join us,” said Faculty of Education Dean Lyndon Martin. “Her research addresses current issues in education and will add to the ways in which the Faculty is making a difference in the lives of young people in the GTA and beyond.”

Professor Gillian Parekh
Gillian Parekh

Gillian Parekh is an assistant professor joining the Faculty of Education. She has an upcoming nomination for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the area of disability, inclusion and education.

Parekh’s primary research focus explores structural barriers in accessing quality education, particularly for students with disabilities. Previous to her appointment to York University, ​she held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Centre for Urban Schooling at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. While at U of T, she conducted both quantitative and qualitative research on students’ experiences of belonging and exclusion​ in school, exploring trends around access to programming and pedagogical approaches employed in the classroom.

Throughout her PhD in critical disability studies and work as a research coordinator with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Parekh investigated trends and consequences associated with academic streaming and special education. In light of the disparate opportunities afforded to diverse racial, class, ability, and gender identities, and the significant implications regarding academic success, she is now launching two research projects that will track and measure distinct de-streaming initiatives taking place within the TDSB. One project focuses on the inclusion of students in special education across approximately 50 elementary schools, and the other is an initiative aiming to de-stream Grade 9 courses at the secondary level.

Her work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Education, Canadian Review of Sociology, Disability and Society, Canadian Diversity, and Association for Childhood Education International as well as has been taken up by many local and national media news outlets.

Parekh lives in Toronto with her two daughters, Isla and Kaia, and her partner, Neil.