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New Chair Appointment in English

The Faculty of Arts announces Dr. Randy Boyagoda as Chair of the Department of English Link

Randy Boyagoda

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Randy Boyagoda as Chair of the Department of English for a 3-year term effective July 1st, 2012.

Dr. Randy Boyagoda (PhD 2005, Boston University; Associate Professor of English) joined the Faculty of Arts in 2006 after holding a postdoctoral fellowship at Notre Dame University. His scholarly focus has been devoted to literary and cultural representations of the human person in the modern age, specifically in the context of First World immigrant experience, evolving national identities, and U.S. literature and culture. In his six years at Ryerson, Dr. Boyagoda has published three books: a monograph, Race, Immigration, and American Identity in the Fiction of Salman Rushdie, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner (Routledge, 2008) and two novels, Governor of the Northern Province (Penguin, 2006) and Beggar’s Feast (Penguin, 2011). His two novels have earned him a prestigious Giller Prize nomination and wide critical acclaim. His scholarly work has also appeared in journals including the Southern Literary Journal, Studies in American Culture, and South Asian Review. He is currently at work on a SSHRC-supported biography of Richard John Neuhaus, an influential and controversial Catholic priest and neoconservative New York intellectual.

Committed to extending his work in the academy to the broader community, Dr. Boyagoda has developed a national and international profile as a writer and public intellectual through regular contributions to the New York Times, Harper's Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and CBC Radio. He also serves as Vice-President of PEN Canada. His public contributions were recently recognized with the 2012 "Community Voices Award," from the Canadian NGO initiative called "BuildChange," which is made up of Sri Lankan-Canadians working for reconciliation and redevelopment in post-Civil War Sri Lanka. At Ryerson he has been a productive and enthusiastic contributor at all levels, serving as Practicum Coordinator for the MA in Literatures of Modernity program, as Ryerson University Senator, and as member on the Dean of Arts search committee.

Dr. Boyagoda is excited about the opportunity to lead the Department of English over the next three years. Reflecting on the appointment, he offered the following: “Our English Department has grown faster than any other in Canada in the last five years. As a writer, researcher and teacher, I have benefitted from this flourishing as much as I hope I've contributed to it. Over the next three years, our popular new BA will achieve steady state, our distinctive MA will continue to attract promising candidates, and the Department will keep recruiting excellent new faculty to join an already-impressive roster of researchers and teachers. As Chair, I look forward to serving and leading this thriving Department during an important and exciting period.” He adds, "The Faculty of Arts is on the move, and I'm excited to join Dr. Boudreau's ambitious and energetic team to help make this Faculty nothing less than the very best in Canada!"

I look forward to working with Professor Boyagoda on the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Council and welcome his contributions to faculty building. I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Randy Boyagoda on his new appointment.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank the search committee and staff support team (listed below), as well as Dr. Dennis Denisoff whose very successful term ends on June 30, 2012. 


Jean-Paul Boudreau

Dean of Arts



Chair of English Search Committee:

Mr. Bassam Chiblak, English MA student
Mr. Daniel Gomez-Ortega, English BA student
Dr. Sarah Henstra, English
Dr. Andrew Hunter, Chair of Philosophy
Dr. Anne-Marie Lee-Loy, English
Dr. Nima Naghibi, English,
Dr. Elizabeth Podnieks, English
Dr. John Shields, Politics & Public Administration & Graduate Program Co-Director
Dr. Sophie Thomas, English
Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau, Committee Chair (non-voting) 


Search Committee Resource Staff:


Gail Duffus, Dean’s Office
Kathryn Rowan, Dean’s Office

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