Announcement of appointment of dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

JJ McMurtry

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton has issued the following message to the York University community:

I am pleased to inform members of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) and the York University community that the search for dean of LA&PS has reached a successful conclusion.

In 2018, I established a search committee, comprising members of LA&PS (faculty, staff, and students) and one member appointed by me, and chaired by Provost Lisa Philipps, charged with undertaking a search for the next dean and advising me with regard to the appointment. This is an important time in the development of the Faculty, as it builds on its outstanding teaching and research strengths and successes, continues to advance its national and international reputation, and prepares to expand its programming to the new Markham campus.

JJ McMurtry

Following an extensive national and international search which attracted very strong candidates, I am delighted to announce that Professor John Justin (JJ) McMurtry has accepted our invitation to take up a 4.5-year term as dean of LA&PS, commencing Jan. 1, 2020. On Dec. 13, the Board of Governors accepted my recommendation for the appointment.

Professor McMurtry will be well known to members of our community. He holds an appointment in the Department of Social Science in LA&PS and is a member of its Business and Society Program. Since October of 2018, he has been serving as interim dean of the Faculty. As interim dean, he has promoted research in the Faculty through the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence and supports for researchers to secure tri-council funding; enhanced the student experience through a review of advising, expansion of experiential education opportunities, and technology upgrades to classrooms; initiated a Colleges revisioning process; led the Faculty’s planning around York’s Markham Centre campus; welcomed the opening of the IBM Learning Space in Markham in September 2019; overseen the hiring process for close to 40 tenure stream faculty members, including Canada Research Chairs; and significantly improved the Faculty’s financial position.

Professor McMurtry has an extensive record of service to the Faculty and the University: immediately prior to his appointment as interim dean, he served as associate dean (programs) and subsequently, vice-dean in LA&PS. He has previously served in several other capacities, including Chair of the Department of Social Science (2014-15), graduate program director of Social and Political Thought (2012-15), coordinator of the Business and Society Program (2007-10), and as a member of the executives of both CUPE 3903 and YUFA.

Professor McMurtry earned his BA at the University of Guelph, and holds MA and PhD degrees in social and political thought from York University. He has an interdisciplinary social justice focused research and teaching record spanning community ownership and alternative energy, Indigenous communities and alternative economics, and the history and theory of the social economy and social enterprise in Canada and internationally. His publications include 26 authored or co-authored articles and book chapters, and he is editor or co-editor of the books: Living Economics: Canadian Perspectives on the Social Economy, Co-operatives and Community Economic Development and Co-operatives in a Global Economy: The Challenges of Co-operation Across Borders. In addition, he has participated in a number of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants including as principal investigator on “People, Power, Planet: Best Practices and Knowledge Mobilization in Community Energy Development.” From 2015-18, he served as English language editor of The Canadian Journal of Non-Profit and Social Economy Research.

I look forward to continuing to work with Dean McMurtry in the coming years to advance our shared objectives, and I invite all members of the Faculty and the University community to join me in congratulating him and wishing him well as he undertakes this important leadership role.

Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Search Committee for the dean of LA&PS for their contributions to this important process.