Message from the Chair

JosephMensahI am delighted to welcome you to the Department of Geography at York University, which offers undergraduate, masters, and PhD degrees, with a range of courses in human geography, physical geography, and the techniques of geography. Established in 1962, the Department has grown to become one of the most comprehensive and top-quality geography programs in North America. In the Greater Toronto Area where we are located, the local is essentially global, and our perspective reflects the cosmopolitan outlook of our cherished metropolis. Accordingly, the diversity of students, faculty, and staff is a valued priority with which we promote inclusiveness and leadership among under-represented groups, such as women and ethno-racial minorities—my own appointment as the very first Black African-born Chair of a major Geography Department in Canada is a testament to this. The Department has a sustained tradition of partnership with cognate programs, not only in Ontario, but, indeed, across Canada. We have over 20 full-time faculty members, many of whom are Canada’s leading scholars in the study of migration; political ecology; urban issues; Marxist, feminist, and labour geographies; and Arctic biophysical dynamics. The breadth of our regional interest is also impressive, ranging from Northern and Southern Canada, through the United States, to the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. While it is almost impossible to assess the impact of our teaching and research, there is little doubt that, over the years, we have made a significant contribution to the production of knowledge in Canada and beyond; no wonder, our reputation is solid in the academy.

Our students complete their studies with the necessary mapping, statistical, analytical, and critical thinking skills to tackle the complex socioeconomic and technical issues of our time. Their diverse career paths include employments in education, environmental analysis, urban and regional planning, resource management, GIS mapping etc. Additionally, York Geography has an active student club (i.e. GESS@Y) in which our students develop lifelong friendships and networks, as they pursue opportunities in their chosen fields. Our graduate students have won several internal and external academic awards. In fact, SSHRC, NSERC, and OGS grants are common among them. With the support of our graduate students, retired faculty, and the York Geography Alumni Network (YGAN), the Department often organizes research events (e.g., Speaker Series, Research Days, and colloquia) where faculty and students share ideas about their ongoing research. The academic and social life of the Department is enhanced by the generous support and involvement of our Alumni and retired faculty colleagues, many of whom continue to supervise graduate students.  I encourage you to learn more about our program by contacting me or any of our faculty and staff. Do not hesitate to visit us at the 4th Floor of the Ross Building (North). You can also look for us on Twitter @YorkGeography and Facebook @YorkUGeography.  I look forward to welcoming you to our community of geographers.

Dr. Joseph Mensah