Explore the navigation below which highlights some of the research and initiatives of faculty, staff, and students at SFU working on refugee-related and newcomer issues. Please email sfui_refugee@sfu.ca if you would like to include your work and research on this page.  

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dr. Stephen Collis, 

Professor at the Department of English

Email: scollis@sfu.ca

Stephen Collis’s many books of poetry include The Commons (Talon Books 2008; 2014), On the Material (Talon Books 2010—awarded the BC Book Prize for Poetry), and Once in Blockadia (Talon Books 2016—nominated for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature). Since its inception in 2015 he has been involved in “The Refugee Tales” project in the UK (“a walk in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers, and detainees”—www.refugeetales.org), and has work collected in Refugee Tales (edited by David Herd; Comma Press 2016). He teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University. 

Dr. Suzanna Crage

Senior Lecturer, Sociology

Email: scrage @ sfu.ca

Dr. Parin Dossa

Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

Email: pdossa@sfu.ca

Her ethnographic work has focused on Muslim women in Canada, Lamu (Kenya), Afghanistan and of late India. Her research interests include: displacement, inequality and injustice, structural violence, disability, storytelling, memory work and diaspora. She is the author of (a) Politics and Poetics of Migration: Narratives of Iranian Women from the Diaspora (2004); (b) Racialized Bodies, Disabling Worlds: Storied Lives of Immigrant Muslim Women (2009) (c) Afghanistan Remembers: Narrations of Violence and Culinary Practices (2014). (d) Transnational Aging and Reconfigurations of Kin Work (co-edited with Cati Coe; in press). Currently, she is working on a project entitled, “Moral Imperative to speak up: Journeying with Canadian Muslims into the World of ‘Palliative care.’”

Dr. Samir Gandesha

Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, Director of the Institute for the Humanities

Email: gandesha@sfu.ca

He specializes in modern European thought and culture, with a particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. His work has appeared in Political Theory, New German Critique, Constellations Logos, Kant Studien, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Topia, the European Legacy, the European Journal of Social Theory, Art Papers, the Cambridge Companion to Adorno and Herbert Marcuse: A Critical Reader as well as in several other edited books. He is co-editor with Lars Rensmann of Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations (Stanford, 2012). He is co-editor (with Johan Hartle) of Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (University of Amsterdam Press, 2017) and Aesthetic Marx (Bloomsbury Press, 2017) also with Johan Hartle.

Dr. Dominique M. Gross

Professor at the School of Public Policy

Email: dgross@sfu.ca

In the past, she worked in International Organisations and universities in Europe. In her research, she is specialized in applied international labour and finance macroeconomic questions. She has been interested in foreign investment or immigrant location decisions and, in the relationship between international immigrants and the host countries’ labour markets. Her current researches are about some people’s opinion about immigrants and whether policies involving non-permanent immigrants such as temporary foreign workers in Canada and cross-border workers in Switzerland are affecting negatively domestic labour markets.

Dr. Margaret Jackson

Professor Emerita in the School of Criminology

Email: margarej@sfu.ca

Margaret Jackson is Professor Emerita in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, Director of FREDA, an SFU research centre focusing upon violence against women, and past Director of the School of Criminology.  In addition to issues surrounding immigrant, refugee, and newcomer women fleeing abuse, other research areas include justice policy, family/criminal law case decision-making and bullying and cyberbullying.  She publishes and presents widely in these areas as well as serving on many committees and boards in the community and in government related to addressing such issues.

Dr. Sanjay Jeram

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science

Email: sjeram@sfu.ca

Prior to joining SFU, Dr. Jeram was an Assistant Professor at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 2010 and 2011, he was a visiting scholar at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain. During this time, he used interview and participant observation methods to gather data about the reception and settlement policies of Basque political parties and the regional government  His research on topics related to migration, national identity, and democratization has been published in journals such as Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science. In his new role as teaching faculty, he hopes to experiment with active learning and hands-on community-based assignments alongside traditional teaching and evaluation methods.

Dr. Jen Marchbank

Professor, Graduate Chair in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Email: jmarchba@sfu.ca

She has taught in four countries and 9 institutions, in that time she managed to write a number of articles and books including Women, Power and Politics, A Comparative Study of Childcare, Introduction to Gender: Social Science Perspectives and co-edited States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance. She is also a community activist and curator of LGBTQ+ history exhibits and art shows. Her research interests are in the politics of care; gendered violence; feminist pedagogy; refugee settlement; LGBTQ+ history; and gender variant youth.

Dr. Catherine Murray

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Enrolment Management in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

Email: murraye@sfu.ca

She has established a bursary for refugees in FASS. Her research interests include political communication, immigrant, and third-language community media and multicultural communication infrastructure, the creative economy and inclusive communities. She has served as an ombudsman for new immigrant media in monitoring the coverage of election news and facilitated roundtables on intercultural standards of fairness in news coverage associated with the BC Ethnic Media Study.

Dr. Nicolas Schmitt

Professor in the Department of Economics

Email: schmitt@sfu.ca

He has been affiliated with SFU since 1990. He held positions at the University of Geneva, the University of Western Ontario, and at Laval University. His field of expertise is international economics and he wrote several articles on newcomers, more specifically on the international mobility of highly skilled individuals and on temporary foreign workers.

Dr. Habiba Zaman

Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

Email: hzaman@sfu.ca

Zaman is the author of several books and reports including Breaking the Iron Wall: Decommodification and Immigrant Women’s Labor in Canada (2006) and Asian Immigrants in “Two Canadas”: Racialization, Marginalization, and Deregulated Work (2012). She is a Board member of South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) and South Asian Film Education Society (SAFES).

Beedie School of Business 

Dr. June Francis

Associate Professor at Beedie School of Business, Director of the Development and Sustainability Program at the Faculty of Environment and Director of Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement 

Email: francis@sfu.ca

Her research interests lie at the intersection of development, poverty alleviation and business. Specific research focus on non traditional intellectual property law such as geographical indicators and traditional knowledge; and poverty alleviation strategies in the extractive sectors. She previously served for several years on the board of directors of MOSAIC, a key immigrant and refugee settlement society.

Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Dr. Robert Anderson

Professor Emeritus of Communication 


Bob Anderson began to work among refugees and migrants soon after completing his doctoral studies. He was appointed field director in 1972-74 for refugees in a part of Bangladesh with 250,000 population, all as a consequence of the 1971 Bangladesh war. This experience stimulated his interest in conflict analysis, negotiation and dialogue. In the 1980s he studied migration patterns in, around, and out of the Caribbean. He continues to study displacement and migration inside and on the frontiers of Myanmar since the 1940s.

Trained as an anthropologist, he became professor emeritas of communication at SFU in September 2018.

Dr. Laura Marks

Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts


I work on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus. Much of my work involves identifying non-Western origins of Western culture, and developing cross-cultural approaches to the arts. I am especially interested in media art from the Arab world, Islamic art, Islamic philosophy, and African-diaspora art and philosophy. 

Faculty of Education

Dr. Susan Barber

Continuing Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education

Email: susan_barber@sfu.ca

Dr. Huamei Han

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education

Email: huamei_han@sfu.ca

Her research focuses on language learning, multilingualism, and socioeconomic inclusion of linguistically marginalized individuals and groups in globalization, who often are also marginalized along the lines of race, class, religion, and gender. Two completed ethnographies: language learning and settlement among adult immigrants in East Canada (2002-2006), and multilingual practices and identity constructions among minority youths in west Canada (2008-2010). Two ongoing ethnographies: China-Africa trade migration and grassroots multilingualism in China, Namibia, South Africa, and a few other African countries (2009- ), and a multi-year, multi-sited collaborative project exploring intra-group dynamics among Chinese immigrants in Canada (2014 -).

Dr. Sharalyn Jordan

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education

Email:  sjordan@sfu.ca


As a scholar–practitioner and educator in Counselling Psychology, I work at the nexus of mental health and social justice. Recent and current projects explore the implications of homophobic and transphobic stigma, trauma, and intersectional oppressions for refugee protection, settlement, and mental health.

My research uses critical, interpretive, and collaborative qualitative inquiry methods, and I strive to involve communities and participants in active, respectful, knowledge co-production. Results of these projects include academic and practitioner publications, policy briefs, public advocacy, and knowledge exchanges.

In parallel, I am working with community agencies that support LGBTQ and refugee mental health as they develop and assess their counselling practices and programs. 

Dr. Suzanne Smythe

Associate Professor

Email: sksmythe@sfu.ca

Dr. Smythe is a researcher and practitioner in adult literacy and adult education; her current research explores digital literacies and access to new technologies among refugee women and low income and homeless adults. Drawing on participatory, ethnographic and speculative approaches to technology design, she asks how people navigate unequal digital landscapes and how literacy education might work toward digital democracy.  She is a Research Associate and member of the Research Advisory Committee at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Vancouver, BC, a board member of Collège Éducacentre, and a member of the Downtown Eastside Literacy Roundtableand the Burnaby Now Literacy Roundtable. 

 To learn more about her research, here

Dr. Robert Williamson

Assistant Professor of Special Education and Exceptionality


Dr. Williamson’s research focuses on the examination of inclusive educational and support practices from the perspectives of individual diverse learners, their families, and from an external systems perspective. Questions concerning these perspectives within the Canadian context focus primarily on their effects within and upon students with differences within an educational context. From an international context, these perspectives are applied to understanding the experiences and needs of displaced refugee children with disabilities and their families. Current efforts are focused on understanding the educational experiences of refugee students with disabilities living in Turkey.

Faculty of Environment

Dr. Joanna Ashworth

Director of Professional Programs and Partnerships in the Faculty of Environment

Email: joanna_ashworth@sfu.ca

Joanna is an educational planner, sustainability expert and international development researcher and educator. She is also a senior associate at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue and teaches in the SFU Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate, a program that she founded in 2008. Joanna co-led a public dialogue project at SFU called Engaging Diaspora in Development from 2010 - 2012. The publication from that project, Diaspora Voices, is available here.  

Faculty of Health Science

Paola Ardiles

Lecturer, Social Innovation and Community Partnerships, Faculty of Health Sciences

Email: pardiles@sfu.ca

Throughout her career she has led various collaborative and innovative approaches in research, policy, practice and education, to promote health for underserved communities. In 2017, Paola was recognized as one of TD Bank’s 10th Most Influential Hispanic Canadians. Today, she serves as a bridge or a “knowledge broker” through her roles as an educator, mentor, advocate, policy analyst, social entrepreneur, advisor, facilitator and public speaker. Her lived experience has been instrumental in her role as a co-designer and co-facilitator of Beyond Borders: Refugee Livelihood Lab.

Dr. Tim K. Takaro

Associate Dean, Research, Professor at the Faculty of Sciences

Email: ttakaro@sfu.ca

Dr. Takaro is a physician-scientist. Trained in occupational and environmental medicine, public health and toxicology, at Yale, the University of North Carolina and University of Washington, his research is primarily directed toward the links between human exposures and disease, and determining public health based preventive solutions to such risks. His work includes use of biological and other markers for medical surveillance, exposure assessment, and disease susceptibility with a focus on immunologic lung disease, human health and war, clinical occupational and environmental health and population resiliency in the health effects of climate change. Dr. Takaro’s past work focused on community-level interventions to reduce asthma in low-income children. Current research on human health and climate change focus on water quality in BC communities, building and mapping watershed resilience in Nicaragua and the level of preparedness in BC for climate migrants.

Dr. Shira Goldenberg

Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences

Email: shira_goldenberg@sfu.ca 

Shira Goldenberg is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU and a Research Scientist with the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative. Dr. Goldenberg’s research aims to address sexual health and social inequities and improve access to care for immigrants, newcomers, and other marginalized populations, including sex workers. She has led and collaborated on public health research in Canada, Latin America, and other international settings. Her current research includes U.S. NIH and CIHR-funded studies examining  the unique health, safety and human rights issues faced by migrant sex workers, who often experience intense barriers to health access and rights due to criminalization, stigma, social isolation, and language barriers. She is also involved in leading new community-engaged research with local partners to support the sexual and reproductive health and rights of immigrant and refugee women in Metro Vancouver.

Learn more about her research here.

Faculty of Science

Dr. Sharon Koehn

Clinical Assistant Professor

Email: skoehn@sfu.ca

Trained as a medical anthropologist, she conducts interdisciplinary community-based research with immigrant older adults on dementia, health care access, chronic disease self-management support, quality of life, and mental health promotion.