Newsletter No. 1 (December 2013)


Welcome to the first issue of the Department of Human Geography’s newsletter!

It has been a busy Fall semester for the new Department of Human Geography. The new department website is better organized and more dynamic, and we have plans to make it even more informative for students and visitors.

The Department of Human Geography is proud to be at the forefront of experiential and service learning at UTSC. We continue to create opportunities for students to engage in ongoing community research and development efforts in Scarborough. In early November, faculty and students participated in the third annual Community Connections Leadership Forum and celebrated UTSC's ongoing partnership with community agencies in Scarborough. Currently our students are working as researchers and community volunteers with organizations such as the East Scarborough Storefront, the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough, the Malvern Family Resource Centre, Social Planning Toronto, and the Centre for City Ecology.

In November, our department was reviewed by a distinguished team of external assessors. We are pleased to say that our department performed very well. An assessor described our curricula to be rigorous and up-to-date, “aligned with the intellectual trends of the discipline and with great potential for continued growth.” We appreciate the positive review, and thank all the participants in student surveys and focus groups that guided us in evaluating existing programs and developing new plans. As one example of exciting new developments, we are happy to announce that we plan to launch a Minor Program in GIS starting Fall 2014. Please look out for more details in the coming months.

1. Upcoming Events and Announcements

On the Move: Call for submissions -- extended deadline!

On the Move: an undergraduate journal of creative geographies is a web-based publication project. The journal is seeking contributors for the Spring 2014 issue. We welcome analytical essays, personal reflections, ethnographic field notes, photo essays, creative nonfiction, and short research papers. New Extended Deadline: 12:00 pm (noon) on Friday, December 20, 2013. All interested student writers are invited to apply online at

Geography and City Studies Careers event

January 23, 2014 at 5:00 p.m., UTSC Ralph Campbell Lounge

Several graduates from our UTSC programs will talk about the interesting work they do in the Toronto area, and share their experiences with building a career. Highly recommended for all students interested in thinking about career prospects in Geography and City studies.

Lecture series 2013-2014

The department will continue the lecture series featuring distinguished speakers including Prof. Serena Kataoka (Nipissing University, Canada), Professor Aly Karam (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa), and Prof. Wendy Cheng (Arizona State University, US). For a full list of past and upcoming events, please visit the website.

2. Faculty in the News

Prof. Kepe on CTV and CBC regarding Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy (December 7, 2013)

Geography Professor Thembela Kepe shares his insights regarding Nelson Mandela’s life, death, and funeral.

Prof. Taylor discusses Ford Nation on TVO (November 14, 2013)

City Studies Professor Zack Taylor discusses Toronto’s political geography of the amalgamated city and breaks down the 2010 Toronto municipal election results.

Prof. Bunce on using research in community building (Fall 2013)

Geography Professor Susannah Bunce and Professor Malcolm Campbell (Department of Biological Science) are leading research efforts to reinvigorate the Kingston Galloway/Orton Park (KGO) region in Scarborough.

Prof. Han discusses student diversity in UTSC Commons (Fall 2013)

Geography Professor Ju Hui Judy Han joins sociology Department of Sociology Chair Patricia Landolt in discussing how the diversity of students’ global experiences enriches the classroom.

Prof. Ekers featured in The Underground (October 24, 2013)

Geography Professor Michael Ekers is passionately committed to teaching geography.

3. Students and Community News

Community partnership showcased at Community Connections Leadership Forum

The third annual Community Connections Leadership Forum was held on on November 6, 201. City Studies student Ashley Vieira and Gabrielle Sew, a youth resident of the Kingston-Galloway-Orton Park neighbourhood, spoke about the positive impact the City Studies Community Outreach Initiative had on their academic and personal development. The highlight of the evening was the keynote speaker Matt Galloway, host of the CBC radio show Metro Morning.

Geography and City Studies Students Association on Rouge Valley hike

Janine Jivani, President of the Geography and City Studies Students Association (GCSA), writes about hiking to Rouge Valley with students and faculty. The Geography and City Studies Student Association (GCSA) are working tirelessly to build an active community of students and develop fun projects in collaboration with the faculty. We encourage students to get involved, and attend upcoming events.

Oral history project uncovers stories of Scarborough

In the fall semester, City Studies students had the opportunity to partner with students in Women’s and Gender Studies and History to uncover the stories of Scarborough in the context of the inaugural interdisciplinary research seminar: Oral History and Urban Change. The course was offered through partnerships with the Scarborough Museum, the East Scarborough Storefront, the Toronto Public Library (Morningside Branch) and Women’s Place.

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Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough