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Dr. Neil Thomlinson is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, which he joined in 1995 as a sessional instructor. He was appointed an Assistant Professor in 2000, was transferred to tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2005. He served as Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) for both undergraduate programs from 2002 to 2006, as Department Chair from 01 July 2006 to 30 June 2011, as interim UPD for the Politics and Governance BA program from August 2016 thru December 2017, and as interim UPD for the Public Administration and Governance BA program from January 2018 thru June 2019. He serves as CE Coordinator for the Public Administration and Governance Certificates, as well as for CPOG and CPOL courses offered through the Chang School.
In addition to a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Neil holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science from the University of Calgary. A member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, Neil is affiliated with the MA program in Public Policy and Administration, and the interdisciplinary PhD program in Policy Studies.
He is a frequent media commentator on urban, Canadian, and sexual politics and public policy.
In 2011-12, 2014-15, and 2019-20, he was affiliated with the UFRJ - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) through its Institute of Urban and Regional Planning and Research (IPPUR - Instituto de Pesquisa e Planejamento Urbano e Regional), which includes the Observatório das Metrópoles. He also worked with the leadership of the GPDES - Gestão Pública para o Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Public Management for Social and Economic Development) program to establish exchange agreements that would facilitate student and faculty exchanges and collaborative research. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions was signed in Toronto on 27 June 2012.
In general, research interests are in the area of public policy, local government and politics, Canadian government and politics, and, increasingly, Brazilian government and politics.
Dr. Thomlinson typically teaches in both of the undergraduate programs offered by the Department (Politics and Governance and Public Administration and Governance), as well as a Liberal Studies elective available to students of all Ryerson programs. Courses typically include some combination of local and urban governance, Canadian government and politics, public policy, and the politics of sexual diversity and identity.
At the graduate level, Neil teaches in the MA program in Public Policy and Administration.
He was named a “popular prof” in Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities from 2003 until Ryerson withdrew from participation in the Guide.
Before entering the world of academe, Neil was the Parts Manager of a successful Ford dealership, while also serving as a municipal councillor, Mayor, and Chair of a Regional Planning Commission in Northern Alberta. He continued to work as a partsman while completing his BA and MA, and also continued to serve his community as a board member, Treasurer, and President of AIDS Calgary. In recognition of that volunteer service, he was awarded the Canada Volunteer Award by Health and Welfare Canada in 1991.
Neil's volunteer commitment continues in the profession, within Ryerson, and in the broader community.
He has served on the Editorial Board of The Hinge since 2007, and was an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Political Science Association (2013-15). He was Section Head for the Local and Urban section of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) for the annual conferences of 2011 and 2015 (the latter jointly with Duncan MacLellan). He served as CPSA Local Arrangements Coordinator for the 2017 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, held at Ryerson University in 2017.
He has also served on a variety of other standing and ad hoc committees within the University, Faculty, and Department.
He sits on the Policy and Accreditation Committee of the Ontario Municipal Management Institute (OMMI).