The following is a message to the York University community from President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton and Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps:
We are pleased to inform the York community that, following a consultation process with staff and faculty in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), Alice Hovorka has accepted our invitation to undertake a second five-year term as dean of EUC, commencing July 1, 2023. On June 28, the Board of Governors concurred with our recommendation and approved the renewal.
Dr. Hovorka has provided outstanding leadership during her first term. She led the 2020 merger of the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Department of Geography into the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change and inaugurated new governance structures that brought their respective norms and cultures into a new, integrated whole. Under her direction, faculty have maintained a thriving research culture through the pandemic with several new funded projects underway. New undergraduate programs were finalized, including a collaborative Environmental Science program that highlights York’s overall strengths in this area. She has further solidified the vision and priorities for the Faculty with a new five-year Academic Plan, as well as Advancement Plan with an engaging focus on living labs. In consultation with the president, she has also drafted a new five-year strategic plan for the Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica, repositioning it as a campus for all of York University. Dr. Hovorka has set the tone for EUC with respect to EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion) initiatives, including a series of Anti-Black Racism dialogues, and recruitment of a new Black faculty member. She has provided effective leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and has fostered open, collegial dialogue toward developing consensus on key issues in the Faculty and across the University. She has made important contributions at a University level including as a member of the Service Excellence Program Steering Committee, the Global Positioning Group, and the Search Committee for the new Dean of Education.
Dr. Hovorka joined York University in October 2018 from Queen’s University, where she was a full professor in the Department of Geography and Planning and the School of Environmental Studies and where she had served as acting head and then head of Department for the School of Environmental Studies. There, she was responsible for leadership in relation to strategic planning, quality assurance, curriculum design and review, pedagogical innovation, branding, and financial and complement planning in an interdisciplinary context. Prior to her appointment at Queen’s in 2015, she was a member of the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph, which she had joined in 2003. She held several administrative roles at Guelph, including acting Chair, undergraduate coordinator and graduate coordinator in the Department of Geography, and acting associate dean (research) of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. In all of these capacities, she has been a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion.
Dr. Hovorka holds degrees in geography from Queen’s University (BA), Carleton University (MA) and Clark University (PhD). Her research is community-based, interdisciplinary, and explores human-environment relations, focusing on three areas: urbanization, gender and everyday life in Botswana, the lives of animals in Botswana and Canada, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her scholarship has been recognized through a Humboldt Fellowship and the Jan Monk Distinguished Professorship. She is a dedicated teacher and mentor, fostering innovative curriculum design, experiential learning, and interdisciplinary links across Faculties; and she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in a range of areas in both geography and environmental studies.
We would like to thank the members of the community for their contributions to the reappointment process.
We look forward to working with Dr. Hovorka as she continues to bring leadership to this important role. I hope that all members of the York University community will join us in congratulating her.