Feminist scholar to lead York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies


TORONTO, May 15, 2012 – York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies will welcome a new dean on August 1, as Noël Sturgeon, a scholar of feminism and environmental justice, begins a five-year term leading the Faculty.

The announcement was made yesterday by York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. The appointment of Sturgeon was made after extensive consultation and was approved by the Board of Governors Executive Committee on May 10.

“The provost and I are pleased to welcome Dr. Noël Sturgeon back to York University,” says Shoukri. “I look forward to working with her in this important portfolio, and I hope all members of the Faculty will join me in congratulating her and welcoming her.”

Sturgeon comes to York University from Washington State University (WSU), where she is a professor of women’s studies in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies. She is also a member of the University’s Graduate Faculty in American Studies. In 2010-2011, she spent a term at York in the Faculty of Environmental Studies as a Fulbright-York University Chair. She has also held visiting appointments at the JFK Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität, Berlin; Murdoch University, Perth, Australia; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and Rutgers University. 

From 1998 to 2008, Sturgeon served as Chair of Women’s Studies at WSU, enhancing the curriculum and building the unit from a program to a department with majors and minors, the only online women’s studies major in the US, and a graduate program. Following her term as Chair, she was engaged in planning for the merger of the Women’s Studies Department with the Comparative Ethnic Studies Department and the American Studies Program to create the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies. She also founded and directed two research units, the Centre for Social and Environmental Justice and Gendering Research Across the Campuses, and has been involved in several international collaborations. She has been deeply involved in a number of university efforts to promote diversity, environmental research, women’s programs, and interdisciplinary research efforts at WSU. 

"I am thrilled to be joining FES and York University, and honored by the confidence expressed in me by the president, provost and search committee,” says Sturgeon. “I've long admired the excellent work being done by FES and look forward to future accomplishments together."

Sturgeon holds a PhD in History of Consciousness (Politics) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has a strong scholarly record and enjoys an international reputation as an interdisciplinary feminist scholar, specializing in environmental justice cultural studies, feminist theory, social movements, and anti-racist and environmental movements. Her work has focused on questions of social change, cultural representation, and policy shifts arising from multi-issue movements such as anti-militarist and anti-nuclear direct action, ecofeminism, and environmental justice, in a range of cultural and historical contexts.

Shoukri thanked Barbara Rahder, outgoing dean, for her dedication and service to York.

“I would like to thank Barbara for her outstanding leadership and friendship,” Shoukri said. “During her time at York, she was instrumental in developing York’s environmental vision and advancing environmental knowledge and social change. I am grateful to Barbara for all that she has achieved over the years at York, and wish her well in all of her future endeavours.” 

York University is a leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto – Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 55,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 250,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.


Media Contact:

Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101, 416-455-4710 (cell) / wallsj@yorku.ca