James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), has joined Ryerson University as distinguished visiting professor in the Faculty of Communication & Design’s School of Journalism. His appointment is effective Sept 1, 2014.
“James Turk is highly respected in the post-secondary sector and recognized as one of Canada’s leading champions of academic freedom,” said Gerd Hauck, dean, Faculty of Communication & Design. “His outstanding scholarship on freedom of expression has benefitted the academy as a whole and we look forward to his ongoing contributions to this very important national dialogue as a distinguished visitor at Ryerson.”
After 16 years at the helm of CAUT, Turk is stepping down on June 30. He is recognized for building the association which represents over 68,000 academic and general staff from across Canada, for defending academic freedom and for his contributions to post-secondary education in Canada. Prior to his work at CAUT, he was the executive assistant to the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and director of education for the Ontario Federation of Labour. For 20 years, Turk was a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He is currently an adjunct research professor at Carleton University’s Institute of Political Economy.
As distinguished visiting professor, Turk will organize a seminar series addressing questions and issues around freedom of expression in education, journalism, writing and publishing, law, research and science; and work with the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre to identify possible areas of research and opportunities for publication of a paper series. He will also develop a module on expressive freedom that can be delivered to classes from various programs throughout the university.
Turk is an accomplished writer and presenter and his most recent book, Academic Freedom in Conflict: The Struggle over Free Speech Rights in the University, was published in 2014. In 2013, Turk received the Jay Newman Award for Academic Integrity from the University of Guelph Faculty Association.
Turk received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Toronto, his MA from the University of California at Berkeley and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor degree in sociology, social psychology and anthropology. He was a Knox Fellow in Political Science and Philosophy at Cambridge University.