Celebrating EUC excellence through the Dean’s Awards  

A tree next to a building

Five awards were presented to members of the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), recognizing their significant contributions within the Faculty and beyond.

These awards are granted to faculty and staff members nominated by their peers in four categories: Teaching Excellence, Service Excellence, Research Excellence and Staff Service Excellence. 

This year, Dean Alice J. Hovorka presented the EUC Dean’s Awards to Associate Professor Jin Haritaworn – Dean’s Teaching Award; Associate Professor and Planning Program Coordinator Luisa Sotomayor – Dean’s Service Award; Research Officer Rhoda Reyes – Dean’s Staff Recognition Award; Professor Ilan Kapoor – Dean’s Research Excellence Award; and Professor and Director of The City Institute (CITY) Linda Peake – Dean’s Research Excellence Award.  

During a virtual awards ceremony, Hovorka presented the awards to EUC members. “It is my honour and pleasure to present the 2022 EUC Dean’s Awards to these deserving faculty and staff members, who offer their extraordinary talents to positively impact our EUC community,” says Hovorka.  

Dean’s Teaching Award 

Award recipient: Jin Haritaworn  

This award recognizes and celebrates teachers in EUC who challenge, motivate and inspire students, and who innovate pedagogy and curriculum to enhance the quality of student learning.  

Haritaworn’s nomination notes students’ praise for the associate professor’s commitment to activist scholarship and queer of colour methodologies, as well as creating a learning environment that aligns with the hopes, intentions and dreams for structural transformation.  

Jin Haritaworn  

Haritaworn is recognized for creating a sense of community and real inclusivity within their learning environment. Students thrive in Haritaworn’s “classroom community” which brings students together with community artists, activists and organizers. As noted by students in the ENVS 5073: New Social Movements and ENVS 4800: Queer of Colour Art and Activism in the City courses in their comments on Haritaworn’s nomination, the approach, develops real-world relationships and connections between what students are studying and the social movements that are building or emerging, in real time. Students also noted this approach honours the knowledge, intelligence and lived experiences of activist scholars and thereby bridges the gulfs between activism, academia and art.  

Haritaworn is recognized for challenging students to think deeply and critically.

Dean’s Service Award 

Award recipient: Luisa Sotomayor  

This award recognizes and celebrates excellence in faculty service within EUC. 

Luisa Sotomayor

Sotomayor’s nomination notes their invaluable role in serving the York University community and beyond. Sotomayor’s breadth of service contributions includes leading the MES (Master of Environmental Studies) Planning program, developing and offering planning skills workshops, driving EUC renewal in urban and planning realms, coordinating research seminars, organizing and chairing conferences, engaging with York organized research units YCAR (York Centre for Asian Research) and CITY Institute, serving on Social Sciences and Humanities Research council (SSHRC) adjudicating committees, working with the Professional Standards Board for Planning in Canada, and holding numerous senior positions in professional organizations. 

Sotomayor is praised by colleagues for her professionalism, thoughtfulness, respectfulness, empathy and practicality. Sotomayor is recognized for having an open-door policy and a willingness to find time to help those in need. Sotomayor embodies the positivity and change-making that EUC strives for and is supported with a sincere sense of admiration and gratitude for their contribution and dedication to the Faculty.  

Dean’s Staff Recognition Award 

Award recipient: Rhoda Reyes 

Rhoda Reyes

This award recognizes and celebrates staff members who are committed to excellence in their service to EUC and whose performance inspires professionalism, creativity and innovation. 

Reyes is recognized for her ongoing efforts to ensure EUC researchers are supported in their research endeavours. Reyes skillfully navigates York systems to address financial and administrative challenges. She offers guidance and support throughout research funding cycles, from substantive feedback on proposals to aligning budget protocols with application criteria. Reyes is recognized for her invaluable role in celebrating and promoting research excellence at EUC and being on hand to support public talks and events featuring EUC faculty and students. Ultimately, Reyes ensures that EUC researchers are supported and contributes to elevating the culture of research excellence within the Faculty. 

Dean’s Research Excellence Award 

Award recipient: Ilan Kapoor  

Ilan Kapoor

This award recognizes and celebrates researchers in EUC who make significant contributions to their field of scholarly work and demonstrate research leadership beyond normal expectations. 

Kapoor is described as a critical theorist of the highest calibre. The professor’s most recent books (three published in the last four years) have earned high accolades from some of the most prominent scholars in the field. Kapoor’s contribution to the international reputation of the University and the intellectual life of the Faculty is noted as being exceptional. Kapoor is described by peers and graduate students as a generous, inspiring, and impactful mentor. 

Dean’s Research Excellence Award 

Award recipient: Linda Peake  

Linda Peake

This award recognizes and celebrates researchers in EUC who make significant contributions to their field of scholarly work and demonstrate research leadership beyond normal expectations. 

Peake’s nomination described the professor as an exceptional international, collaborative, feminist scholar dedicated to excellence in critical and justice-oriented research and committed to facilitating an empowering community-based research program. Peake has garnered $4 million to support their innovative research agenda that has illuminated urbanization as a deeply gendered process. Peake’s research leadership has benefited students and postdoctoral Fellows, built research capacity in the global south, and created a transnational web of scholarly knowledge production by feminist urban scholars. Moreover, Peake has transformed CITY Institute into an international hub of geography, urban studies and urban sociology. Peake’s record of collaboration and co-publication is exemplary, as is the impact of their work on policy and communities around the world.