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.

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.

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.

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.


Jen Marchbank 

Jen Marchbank is an SFU professor in the Deptartment of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies. Her community-engaged research and activities include:

  • Participatory Action Research with Youth for A Change on a variety of areas involving LGBTQ2SIA+ youth, such as creating Canada's first educational materials on LGBT elder abuse, Basically Queer: An intergenerational guide to LGBTQ2SIA+ lives and ongoing projects with the City of Surrey
  • Annual educational display on LGBTQ2SIA+ matters in City of Surrey to coincide with Pride
  • Participatory action research with Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships (NEVR)
  • Beyond 1969 - An intergenerational oral history - marking the passing of Bill C150 which decriminalised certain same sex acts in Canada
  • Gender Vectors of the Greater Vancouver Area—mapping trans and non binary youths' experiences into an educational video game portal.

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.

Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is the Liber Ero Chair of Coastal Science and Management at SFU and is an associate professor of Aquatic Ecology & Conservation. Moore received his PhD from University of Washington and his BSc from Carleton College. Prior to SFU, he was a professor at University of California Santa Cruz and a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At SFU, he leads the Salmon Watersheds Lab. They focus on freshwater biodiversity, watersheds and global change, with particular focus on B.C.’s rivers and their salmon. They work closely with a diverse array of collaborators and partner organizations to codevelop research and communicate their findings so that contribute to environmental stewardship. Active research projects include research on estuary ecology on the north and central coast of B.C., cumulative effects in large rivers and systems-ecology of watersheds. Other recent activities include: helping create the Liber Ero Fellowship Program for training the next generation of conservation scientists in Canada, co-leading the Salmon Science Network Initiative, to help connect salmon science across their international range and serving as the director of the Cooperative Resource Management Institute at SFU, which links governmental and academic scientists towards the goal of effective management of natural resources.

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.

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.

Kevin Oldknow

Kevin Oldknow is a Senior Lecturer at Simon Fraser University, and inaugural Director of its School of Sustainable Energy Engineering. He has previously held appointments in the Faculty of Applied Sciences as Associate Dean Undergraduate and Faculty Teaching Fellow, and is a recipient of SFU’s 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award.  Dr. Oldknow has researched and published in the areas of dynamics and controls, wheel-rail and vehicle-track interaction, tribology and friction control, and engineering education. Oldknow also has 20 years of industrial experience, primarily in railway systems. This has included an array of domestic and international projects on passenger and freight rail systems, including vehicle-track studies and simulation work, and the deployment and verification of technologies for asset life extension, improved system performance and reduced GHG emissions. He has held technical, strategic and senior management roles at Procter & Gamble, Cameleon Controls, Kelsan Technologies, Portec Rail Products and LB Foster Rail Technologies.

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.