Community-Engaged Research Advisory Board

Zafar Adeel

Zafar Adeel serves as the Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre, and as an SFU professor of Professional Practice at the School of Resources and Environmental Management. He has over 25 years of experience in a broad range of environmental science and policy issues. This includes 18 years of work as a United Nations official, with progressively increasing responsibilities in the field of international development and research. He served as the Director, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) from 2006 to 2016. He also served in a number of international leadership roles, including chairing a group of nearly 60 organizations called UN-Water during 2010-2012, and co-chairing the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment team of scientists that produced the global desertification synthesis in 2005. Adeel led the development of a south-south network of scientists working in water-scarce countries, particularly focused on rural and remote communities Africa, Middle East and Asia. His research focuses on the intersection of natural resources management, innovations in livelihood management and community-engaged research activities in rural as well as First Nations communities in B.C. and internationally. He is the Series Editor for a book series by Springer, Water Security in a New World.

Gwen Bird

Gwen Bird has been Dean of Libraries at SFU since 2014. Before this, she was Executive Director of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), a consortium of university libraries in western Canada from 2011 – 2014.  Prior to her appointment at COPPUL, she was Associate University Librarian, Collections and Scholarly Communication at SFU, with overall responsibility for collections management, the acquisitions budget and licensing of electronic resources. As Dean of Libraries, Bird initiated and has led the Community Scholars Program at the SFU Library, which provides access to academic literature for practitioners in community-based, non-profit organizations in B.C.  Participants can search for, find and read scholarly publications from anywhere they have an internet connection, consult with a dedicated librarian and participate in tailored workshops, journal clubs and other events. Bird supports open access and reform to scholarly publishing as critical steps in making the results of academic research free to read. In 2016-17 she chaired the Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group, a multi-sectoral national working group that developed a framework to improve infrastructure for scholarly publishing in Canada.

Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian

Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian is Secwepemc and Syilx from the interior plateau regions of what is known as British Columbia.  She is happy to be a good relative to her Coast Salish cousins while she lives, works, and plays on their lands.  Her research centralizes land, story, cultural protocols and how Indigenous Knowledge informs and guides interrelationships with Canadian Settler society.  Her curiosity in how cultural knowledge influences Indigenous production practice started when she was working for the national broadcaster VisionTV to bring Indigenous stories to the national screen. This prompted her to enroll in graduate school.

Another interest is how Indigenous peoples can have a peaceful coexistence with Settler Canadians who populate their ancestral homelands.  This is more than an “interest” because Dorothy sees and experiences this quest as critical to the survival of the planet. Dorothy became passionate about exploring the possibilities of transforming the status quo after her involvements in Indigenous communications behind the scenes at the so-called 1990 OKA crisis on Haudenosaunee lands and the 1995 Gustafsen Lake standoff on Secwepemc territories. Her trajectory of study to finding ways to live together started long before equity, diversity, inclusion and intercultural became the latest buzz words in academia. 

While she writes scholarly chapters and participates in community on many levels, Dorothy remains involved in the Indigenous visual storytelling culture in Canada.  She serves as a Board member of the Indigenous Screen Office in Toronto and has curated programs for the 2018 and 2019 ImagineNative film festival, the largest Indigenous film festival in the world.

At GPS Dorothy Cucw-la7 strives towards making academic life less stressful for Indigenous MA and PhD students/candidates by collaborating with the Indigenous Student Services and other student-centered departments.  She is new to her role in GPS and is investigating the myriad of intersections within the university that can be decolonized or indigenized to enrich the graduate student experience.  She continues to be a part of other Indigenous centered projects such as Michelle Pidgeon’s RESPECT project, which will impact the SFU experience for staff and faculty at SFU.

Learn more about Dorothy from PEOPLE OF SFU

Valorie Crooks

Valorie Crooks completed her PhD at McMaster University in 2005. The following year she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at York University. Since 2006 she has been an SFU faculty member in the Department of Geography.

Crooks currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies. She also holds a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. These salary awards enable her to have significant, dedicated research time in her faculty position here at SFU.

She is a health geographer by training.  As such, she is interested in the spatial and place-based dimensions of health and health care. She broadly conceives of herself as a health services researcher, and has an ongoing interest in understanding lived experiences of accessing needed/wanted health and social care services.  Because of this experiential focus, Crooks primarily engages in non-hypothesis-testing qualitative research, or lead qualitative components of mixed-methods studies. Learn more about the health geography research group at SFU.

Jeff Derksen

Jeff Derksen’s research and teaching interests revolve around issues of culture, space, politics and contemporary poetics and art. Following his doctoral work on globalization, national cultures and multiculturalism, he worked on urbanism and globalization (with a focus on gentrification and the transformation of cities) and on the cultural and spatial aspects of the long neoliberal moment. This work is collected in two volumes: Annihilated Time: poetry and other politics and After Euphoria. His related teaching and research include cultural studies, Asian North American poetics and critical theory. A series of linked essays on scale, urbanism and the nation-state in Canadian literature have appeared in the anthologies, Material Cultures (ed. Thomas Allen and Jennifer Blair),  Transnationalism, Activism, Art (ed. Aine McGlyn and Kit Dobson) and Shifting the Ground of Canadian Literary Studies (ed. Smaro Kamboureli and Robert Zacharias). He has published articles and columns in Public, Springerin, Camera Austria, Fillip, Open Letter, West Coast Line, Hunch, and he recently blogged on photography for the German Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale. He has written catalogue essays for artists such as Stan Douglas, Brian Jungen, Alfredo Jaar, Holly Ward, Kevin Schmidt, Andrea Geyer, Denis McNulty, Ian Wallace and Sam Durant.

In 2004, Jeff formed—with the artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber—the research collective, Urban Subjects, whose work on cities, militancy and autogestion has been presented in the form of edited volumes, bookworks, curated exhibitions, public posters, situations and para-academic seminars. He has also been involved in long-term research projects such as Networked Art Histories (SSHRC, Concordia), Justice, Citizenship and Vulnerability: Precarious Narratives and Intersectional Approaches (La Laguna, Spain), Canada and Beyond (Vigo, Spain), and Researching the Militant Image (with Urban Subjects as Artists in Residence at Leuphana University, Germany). He currently serves on the editorial broads of Amodern (Montreal) and Canada and Beyond (Huelva, Spain). Jeff was a Fulbright fellow at City University of New York in 1999 and was later a research fellow at The Centre for Place, Culture and Politics (2001-2003) where he worked and collaborated with the geographer Neil Smith.

He is an associate member of SFU’s Department of Geography and the Dean and Associate Provost (Pro Tem) of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Steve Dooley

As SFU Surrey campus director, Steve sits at a number of community partnership tables, including the City of Surrey’s Social Policy Advisory Committee, the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition (co-chair), the Local Immigration Partnership, the planning secretariat of Innovation Boulevard and the Surrey Healthier Community Partnership. Steve is also a director of the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT). He remains active in community-based research projects and is the lead for a study of refugee settlement and integration with the City of Surrey.

Prior to joining the team at SFU, he worked at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for more than 20 years, where he was the founder of the Centre For Interdisciplinary Research: Community Learning and Engagement (CIR:CLE). Steve has a strong commitment to the development of community-campus partnerships.

Faranak Farzan

Faranak Farzan is the endowed Chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health and assistant professor at SFU's School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering. Farzan is the founder of SFU's core facility, eBrain Lab, and is directing an embedded neurotechnology research laboratory at John Volken Academy, a long-term addiction recovery program in Surrey. Prior to joining SFU, Farzan was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at University of Toronto, and Independent Scientist at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Farzan has obtained her Bachelor in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering from McMaster University, her PhD in the Collaborative Program of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Science from University of Toronto and her Postdoctoral training in Cognitive Neurology from Harvard Medical School. This multi-disciplinary background has been crucial in enabling her to lead a unique research program aimed at development and practical implementation of neurotechnological solutions for studying brain health and function, and for diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Farzan has over 66 peer-reviewed journal articles in top tier journals, and her work has received funding from prestigious agencies such as NSERC, CFI, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, CIHR, NIMH, NARSAD, Brain Canada, GRAMMY Foundation and OBI.

Meg Holden

Meg Holden is a professor of urban studies and resources and environmental management at SFU, where she also directs the Centre for Sustainable Development. Meg conducts and mobilizes research in urban and regional planning and policy, sustainable development and well-being, and pragmatic philosophy to create a more sustainable and climate-resilient urban future. This has led to a number of long-duration community engaged research initiatives, locally in BC with municipalities, housing and policy advocates, the development and design industries, and neighbourhood houses toward more sociable, neighbourly and green housing and neighbourhoods, and internationally through her critical examination of case studies of the development and spread of model ecourban neighbourhoods in cities around the world. Meg also contributes to capacity- and network-building in the study and pursuit of well-being, through her advisory role on the Canadian Index of Well-Being and her founding editorial role with the International Journal of Community Well-Being.

Professor Holden holds a PhD (2004) in Public and Urban Policy from the New School for Social Research, a MSc (1998) Geography from Rutgers University and a BSc(Hons) (1996) Geography from the University of Victoria. She publishes widely in academic and non-academic venues and highly values the pursuit of more lively, informed, self-reflexive collaborative and deliberative writing. Her 2017 book, Pragmatic Justifications for the Sustainable City: Acting in the common place, has been recognized as a significant new means to bridge the gap between academic research and urban planning practiceTogether with Cédissia About and Claire Doussard, she is coeditor of the 2019 book, (re)Penser la ville du XXIe siècle: 20 ans d’écoquartiers dans le monde (Paris, Dunod). In 2022, she is currently co-editing a review of the state of urban studies research together with Sandra Breux and the Villes, Régions, Monde research network, to be published by Laval University Press, called Crossing Paths, Crossing Perspectives: 20 years of urban studies in Quebec and British Columbia.

Grace Iarocci

Grace Iarocci is an SFU psychology professor and the Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab. Her research is founded on the idea that atypical and typical development can be understood better when they are studied together—that is, there are more commonalities than differences and the differences can help us understand how developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) uniquely affects development but also studying ASD can help us uncover the limits and potential variations on typical development. She is a faculty mentor of the Autism Research Training Program (ART). The ART program is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), designed to recruit and train outstanding researchers of autism in disciplines such as psychology, genetics, imaging, epidemiology and neurology. Iarocci is the past president of the Board of Directors of Autism Community Training and work closely with government and community agencies in British Columbia to disseminate research information on ASD and influence policy on ASD and other developmental disabilities. Her current research is funded by: The Natural.

Willeen G. Keough

Willeen G. Keough is an SFU professor of History, and her research interests include gender, ethnicity, immigration, communal violence, embodiment and affect. Her methodologies immerse herself in communities through the study of oral histories, material cultures and gender performativity in conjunction with more standard archival research.  Keough's earlier research on Irish women who immigrated to Newfoundland in the eighteenth century and on ethnic tensions and violence in Newfoundland involved extensive work with collective historical memory. Her current project—exploring conflicting articulations of masculinity during the Newfoundland seal hunt and related animal rights/welfare protests of the 1960s–1990s—engages deeply with oral histories, gender expression and affect.  All projects have received SSHRC funding.  Additionally, she was a co-investigator on a multi-disciplinary SSHRC Community Partnership Development Grant project called (Re)Claiming the New Westminster Waterfront, which traced the changing nature of work on the waterfront since the Second World War.  She has also worked with other community groups—the local Irish community, British Columbia Teachers’ Association, Bowen Island Archives—in training them in ethical and effective oral history practices. She regularly teaches a course on oral history theories and practices, having students work with community groups to collect oral history and create podcasts, documentaries and memory walks. She invites members of these community groups to audit the class and participate in the group projects. Keough's course, Creating and Re-creating the Downtown Eastside also engages deeply with that neighbourhood: residents and activists come to her classroom to have conversations with her students; and she offers students the opportunity to volunteer with community groups throughout the semester and write their reflections on the experience as a final project.

Genevieve LeBaron

Dr. Genevieve LeBaron is Professor and Director, School of Public Policy, at Simon Fraser University's Vancouver campus (as of January 2022).

Her award-winning research investigates the business of forced labour in global supply chains and the effectiveness of government, industry, and worker-led strategies to combat it.  Her latest books are Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It (Polity Press, 2020) and Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: History and Contemporary Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2021, co-edited with David W. Blight and Jessica Pliley). She is the author of over forty academic journal articles and book chapters (her list of publications is here). LeBaron was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and has held visiting positions at Yale University, Sciences Po Paris, and the International Labour Organization.

LeBaron was ranked #1 academic in the world on the 2017 Global Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influencers List. She has worked closely with global companies to build measures to prevent forced labour directly into their business models and supply chain relationships. She currently serves on the UK Parliament’s Modern Slavery and the Supply Chain Advisory Committee. 

Sean Markey

Sean Markey is a professor, and certified planner with SFU's School of Resource and Environmental Management. His research concerns issues of local and regional economic development, rural and small-town development, community sustainability and natural infrastructure. Sean has extensive experience with community-engaged research, working with municipalities, non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and the business community, locally, nationally and internationally to promote and develop sustainable forms of community and regional development. He has published widely in the field, including Doing Community-based Research: Perspectives from the Field (McGill-Queens Press, 2016), and is active within SFU to promote community engagement and engaged research, serving on the Community Engagement Granting Committee, the Community Engagement working group, the Community-University conference organizing committee and other efforts and initiatives within the university to build capacity and awareness for CER. Sean is also an associate with the Department of Geography at SFU, and an adjunct professor with the Department of Geography at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Tiffany Muller Myrdahl

Tiffany Muller Myrdahl is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and the Urban Studies Program. She completed a master’s in public policy, followed by a doctorate in geography with a certificate in feminist studies from the University of Minnesota. Her research examines urban inequalities and inclusion strategies, especially those targeting women and LGBTQ2S communities. She serves as Secretary to the board of Women in Cities International, a Montreal-based NGO focused on enabling all women and girls to lead in the creation of safe, inclusive and equitable cities and communities.

Shaheen Nanji

Shaheen Nanji (MA, International Studies) is the Executive Director, SFU International and is responsible for the collaborative development and implementation of the University’s international engagement. As a convener of engagement and dialogue on global issues, she is committed to collaboration between diverse disciplines, sectors, cultures, perspectives and interests for deeper impact. Her areas of work have included international development; the Sustainable Development Goals; refugees and migration; equity, diversity and inclusion; education; and diaspora. She serves on the Board of the Proteknon Foundation for Innovation and Learning, and is an Associate of the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

Michelle Nilson

Michelle Nilson is an associate professor in SFU's Faculty of Education, where she works in collaboration with foundation and school district partners to develop and implement program evaluations using qualitative longitudinal research. She is interested in uncovering the factors and dimensions of participation, access and development of student aspirations and postsecondary education. Most recently, she has been working to explore the distribution and disparities in opportunities for youth in out of school programs. Currently, she is an academic co-lead for the SSHRC funded Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) and is honoured and excited to be working with several partners to build Community Campus Engage Canada. Michelle is a settler in Canada and is deeply honoured and grateful to be working on and with these lands.

Lyana Patrick

Lyana Patrick is an Indigenous scholar and practitioner from the Stellat’en First Nation and Acadian/Scottish. She has worked as an education specialist for over two decades, developing curriculum, managing education programs and evaluating Indigenous health and education initiatives. She has also worked as a community planner, most recently for the City of Vancouver helping design community engagement for a municipal poverty reduction strategy. Dr. Patrick works together with communities to develop Indigenous-focused, collaborative research models that can transform Indigenous experiences of health, planning and justice. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University where her work focuses on the intersection of community planning, health and justice.

Meghan Winters

Meghan Winters an associate professor in SFU's Faculty of Health Sciences, a core investigator at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. She leads the Cities, Health and Active Transportation Research (CHATR) Lab, with a focus on ways that cities and their infrastructure can play a role in promoting healthy and safe transportation, for people of all ages and abilities. She is happiest when working in close collaboration with cities and stakeholders to conduct research and create tools that address real-world challenges. Meghan has a PhD from the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia.