Executive Committee

The members of the Executive Committee, other than the Director and any Associate Directors, will be appointed by the Executive Committee. At least once a year, the Executive will solicit faculty at York to seek nominations for appointments to
the Executive. Appointments will start on July 1st of each year and be for three years, although students including post-doctoral fellows, will be appointed for one year terms. Student members may also run again for re-election the following year or in later years. However, students may not hold the position for more than two terms consecutively (i.e., they must not run for third re-election in a row). Appointments will be staggered so that normally no more than half of the Executive Committee shall change in a given year. If a member of the Executive Committee misses three consecutive meetings, the Director may ask the person to voluntarily step down. Vacancies due to resignations, departures or other contingencies are to be filled by the Director in consultation with the Executive.

Professor William Jenkins (February 2018 – January 2021)
Department of History, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

William Jenkins is an associate professor in the Department of History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. A Dubliner by birth, he completed a PhD at the University of Toronto on Irish immigrant experiences in Buffalo, USA, and Toronto, Canada, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has also published on issues of social and economic transformation in rural Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and more than twenty articles on his research on Ireland and the Irish diaspora in the United States and Canada have appeared in edited collections and journals such as the Journal of Urban History, Immigrants & Minorities, and the Journal of Historical Geography. In 2013, his book Between Raid and Rebellion: the Irish in Buffalo and Toronto 1867-1916 was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press and has since received awards by four scholarly bodies. He is currently editing a volume of essays on Canada and the Great Irish Famine and is preparing a manuscript on the transatlantic dimensions of the famine as they relate to the evolution of Toronto between the early 1840s and early 1880s.

Professor Shubra Gururani(September 2019 – September 2022)
Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Professor Gururani is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University. Her areas of research are at the intersection critical political ecology, urbanization in the Global South, space and place, and history of science and technology. Over the last ten years, she has been conducting research on urban peripheries of metropolitan cities, namely the making of Gurgaon in India. From a political ecological perspective, she focuses on the questions of urban nature/ecologies, planning, villages in the cities, agrarian-urbanism, waste, sewage, infrastructure, and labour migration. ​

Professor Vidiya Shah (September 2019 – September 2022)
Faculty of Education

Professor Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, and teaches in the Master of Leadership and Community Engagement and Initial Teacher Education Programs. Her research explores the contributing factors to district reform for equity. Vidya has worked in the Model Schools for Inner Cities Program in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and was a primary, junior and intermediate classroom teacher in the TDSB. She is currently the GTA Regional Lead for the Réseau de Savoir sur l’Équité/Equity Knowledge Network in partnership with the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa and the Ontario Ministry of Education. Vidya is also a curriculum writer and is actively involved in community initiatives

Professor Luisa Sotomayor (September 2019 – September 2022)
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change

Professor Sotomayor is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (FEUC) and the Planning Program coordinator. Her research and teaching interests focus on the various dimensions of urban inequality and governance, and their connections to planning practice. She is interested in how regimes of socio-spatial inequality consolidate in contemporary cities and the roles that planning tools, tactics, politics, and discourses may play in their formation. She also considers the limits and possibilities of grass-roots activism, collective action, equity planning approaches, and state-led policy experimentation to overcome such urban divides. The geographic scope of her work involves both, Latin America and Canada.

Professor Jeffrey Squire (September 2019 – September 2022)
Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

Professor Jeffrey Squire is passionate about cities and the complex dynamics of urbanization in postcolonial urban spaces. A faculty member in the Department of Social Science at York University, Professor Squire’s current research examines the political economy of plastic packaging in Ghana and Post-conflict Rwanda. He has an extensive teaching and research background in the fields of urban studies (theory, planning, governance and policy) ‘critical’ development studies, waste & water management, pollution, plastic packaging, social exclusion, global health and popular culture. As well, social justice, experiential education and community-based learning are cardinal features of Professor Squire’s approach to teaching and research. .


Nicholas Del Prete (January 2020 – September 2020)
The Toronto Urban Journal Editor

Nicholas is an undergraduate student in York University's Urban Studies program and a member of Federation of Urban Studies Students (FUSS) at York University. He has a growing interest in land-use planning, walkability, environmental sustainability and climate change. 

Dr. Elsa Koleth (October 2017-October 2019)
Post-Doctoral Visitor

Dr. Elsa Koleth is a Post-Doctoral Visitor at the City Institute at York University. During her time at CITY Elsa will be working on the SSHRC Partnership Project, ‘Gender and Urbanisation in the Global South: a Transformative Knowledge Network’ (GenUrb) under the leadership of Professor Linda Peake. Elsa completed her doctorate at The University of Sydney in the field of migration studies with a thesis entitled ‘Haunted borders: temporary migration and the recalibration of racialized belonging in Australia’. During her doctoral study Elsa was a researcher in an international study funded by the Australian Research Council on Social Transformation and International Migration in the Twenty-First Century (STIM). She has previously worked in legal policy and parliamentary research roles in Australia. Elsa’s research interests include the spatialities and temporalities of processes of urbanisation, migration and mobility, transnationalism and border-making, and the shifting nature of governmentalities and subjectivities, particularly in relation to the intersections of race, gender and class.

Leeann Bennett (April 2017 – Present)
Grant Manager

Leeann Bennett is the Grant Manager of the new SSHRC Partnership Grant, Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: a transformative knowledge network, with Dr. Linda Peake, at the City Institute. She took on this role in November 2017. Leeann has been the coordinator of the CITY Institute since April 2017, but has worked at CITY in various roles since 2013.  Leeann has a Master's degree in Women's Studies from York University. Her research interests include Sexuality Studies, particularly sex work and LGBTQ activism, Caribbean Studies, transnational feminism, feminist methods and methodologies, and popular culture. To contact Leeann, please email her at leeann3@yorku.ca

Justine Bonczek

Justine is an Urban Studies student at York University with a passion for public transportation and walkable neighborhoods. She hopes to pursue graduate studies for Urban Planning in order to work with transportation planning in the future.

Ellen Spencer

Coordinator at the City Institute

Ellen is a seasoned Executive Assistant with over 20 years of experience in the resource industry. She also spent time as the Operations Manager at the Toronto location of a for-profit Academy. Ellen recently worked with York’s Schulich School of Business, where she was responsible for the execution of the Inaugural Virtual Celebration for the IMBA graduates of 2020. She studied Accounting at the University of Toronto, during which time she received her Mutual Fund and Canadian Securities licenses. She also studied Business Administration at Georgian College.