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New Faculty Hires

In the Faculty of Arts, we take great pride in hiring leading-edge tenure-track faculty, a process that helps shape our institutional reputation and the direction of Toronto Metropolitan University’s exciting future. The colleagues we are welcoming to campus represent the diversity of Arts and contribute to the strength of our faculty.

With our new hires, we place renewed emphasis on excellence in research, teaching and social awareness. Their addition to our faculty reflects our celebration of the humanities’ rich tradition of exploring ideas and cultures across ever-broadening contexts. They also help us pay tribute to the social sciences' rich tradition of exploring the nature of institutions, social phenomena and human behaviour through collaboration and innovative methodologies.

Get to know our new Faculty members 2022-2023

Dr. Iloradanon Efimoff
Dr. Iloradanon Efimoff, Psychology

Dr. Efimoff is Haida and European settler from the northwest coast of British Columbia. She completed her MA in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan and her PhD in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of Manitoba. She recently completed a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Efimoff's research focuses broadly on Indigenous peoples' experiences. She currently has two streams of research. One, she studies the impacts of education on anti-Indigenous prejudice. Two, she examines the experiences of multiracial Indigenous people, a growing yet understudied group in North America. Throughout her career, she has conducted laboratory and community work on related topics such as Indigenous wellness, Indigenization, and reconciliation.

"I am delighted to be joining the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University. Departmental and institutional values of diversity, interdisciplinarity, collaboration, varied methodologies, as well as applied and social impact make TMU a great fit for research on Indigenous experiences. I am looking forward to living and working in Tkaronto, among members of the vibrant and diverse urban Indigenous community."

Dr. Jessica Evans

Dr. Jessica Evans, Criminology

Dr. Jessica Evans is a community engaged scholar whose research examines the causes, conditions and consequences of incarceration in Canada, framed through anti-racist, decolonial, abolitionist and critical political economic theories. Dr. Evans holds a PhD from York University’s Department of Political Science, which was supported by the SSHRC Joseph-Armond Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Her most recent research was funded through a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant which, in collaboration with Prisoner HIV/AIDS Support Action Network, explored the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated persons throughout Ontario. This research will be published in forthcoming issues of Punishment &  Society, The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, and the Canadian Journal of Law and Society. 

Dr. Evans’ previous work has been published widely, including in peer reviewed journals such as Citizenship Studies, the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, and Punishment and Society. She has also written numerous op-eds for outlets such as The Conversation and Spring Magazine, and has conducted numerous media interviews on issues of incarceration and human rights in Canada. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Evans is a community activist and advocate for the rights of incarcerated persons. She is a co-founder of the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project, a member of the Abolition Coalition, and has recently been certified through Walls to Bridges.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Department of Criminology at TMU. This is an important space for the development of critical, community-engaged research into Canada’s criminal legal system. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues and the wider TMU community to support socially just transformations in our communities.”

Hoa Nguyen
Hoa Nguyen, English

Hoa Nguyen has written five full-length books including As Long as Trees Last, Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008, and Violet Energy Ingots which received a 2017 Griffin Prize nomination. Hoa’s most recent book, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award; the winner of the Canada Book Award; and named “Best Poetry of 2021” by CBC Books, The Globe and Mail, NPR Books, Library Journal, and Entropy Magazine

Her work has received notice from Publishers Weekly, The Poetry Foundation, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and has been promoted by literary outlets such as Granta, PEN American Center, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Magazine, The Walrus, PBS News Hour, Pleiades, Boston Review, and Poetry Northwest. 

Hoa has been invited to teach poetry and creative writing and present, perform, and speak at festivals, literary establishments, and institutions of higher education such as Princeton University, Columbia University, University of Adelaide, the Association for Asian American Studies, Singapore Writers Festival, California College of the Arts, Toronto International Festival of Authors, and the Chautauqua Institution. A forum of critical writing dedicated to Hoa’s work appeared in Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review in 2021, and in 2019, her writing was nominated for a Neustadt Prize for Literature, a prestigious international literary award often compared with the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is member of She Who Has No Masters, a Vietnamese and South East Asian diasporic transnational collective of women and non-binary writers and project of multi-voiced collectivity, hybrid poetics, encounters, in-between spaces, and (dis)places of the Vietnamese diaspora and founding mentor of the collectives’ inaugural mentorship.

Dr. Ryan Persram
Dr. Ryan Persram, Psychology

Dr. Ryan Persram has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Concordia University (Montréal, Québec) and specializes in developmental psychology. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) and McGill University (Montréal, Québec), where he examined the effects of cross-relationship perceptions on youth well-being that are experienced at different levels of time (e.g., days, months, years).

His primary research program focuses on the correlates and consequences associated with youth relationships. Specifically, he explores how positive and negative experiences with siblings, friends, and romantic partners promote and hinder well-being. He has also studied how contextual factors, including how family functioning, socioeconomic status, and cultural backgrounds shape youth relationship development and individual well-being. He has conducted research with collaborators in Colombia and looks forward to expanding and strengthening these partnerships. He has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – société et culture for his research.

Dr. M. Natasha Rajah
Dr. M. Natasha Rajah, Psychology

Dr. M. Natasha Rajah is an internationally recognized cognitive neuroscientist who uses interdisciplinary methods to study brain and cognitive health across the adult lifespan. At Toronto Metropolitan University, her program will build on her history of research excellence in the cognitive neuroscience of aging to investigate how biological sex, sociocultural gender, social determinants of health, and lifestyle factors contribute to individual variability and diversity in brain health and cognitive function in racially and culturally diverse middle-aged and older adults. Her work will advance current cognitive neuroscience models of memory, aging, and preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease by making them more representative and inclusive. 

Prior to joining the Psychology Department at TMU, Natasha was a Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, and Associate Member of the Department of Psychology at McGill University (2005-2023). Natasha also held senior administrative roles at McGill University, including as Director of the Douglas Brain Imaging Centre (2011-2021) and Assistant Dean (Academic Affairs), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) (2022-2023). She received her PhD in Experimental Psychology at University of Toronto (St. George Campus) and did her postdoctoral training at The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California (Berkeley). Natasha has received numerous recognitions during her career, such as: CIHR New Investigator Award (2007), FRQS Junior 2 Salary Award (2013), and CIHR Sex & Gender Research Chair (2020) and she currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition, Associate Editor of Psychological Science, and Senior Editor at Brain Research.

Dr. Cheryl Rogers, Geography and Environmental Studies

Dr. Cheryl Rogers joins the Faculty of Arts in the department of Geography and Environmental Studies as an Assistant Professor in Environmental Geospatial Data Science. She holds an M.Sc. in Natural Resource Science from McGill University, and a Ph.D. in Physical Geography from the University of Toronto. Most recently she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Earth, Environment & Society at McMaster University. Her research focuses on linking measurements from earth observation platforms to photosynthesis on the ground in order to better understand, map, and monitor carbon exchange between ecosystems and the atmosphere. Her work involves characterizing spatial and temporal variability in vegetation structure, function, and physiology across scales ranging from individual leaves and ecosystems, to the global Earth system. Her research is motivated by a desire to contribute to solving the challenges posed by climate change, in hopes that we can better monitor, predict, and mitigate the impact of this global threat.

Dr. Daniel Rubio
Dr. Daniel Rubio, Philosophy

Daniel Rubio completed a Ph.D in Philosophy at Rutgers in 2019, after which he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Princeton University Center for Human Values. His areas of expertise include metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and decision theory. Much of his current work is centered on the nature of agency, addressing questions like: 'what explains the continuity of persons over time?' 'how do the varying demands of goodness interact?' 'what decision rules should we employ?' and 'how should our concepts of agency apply in a religious context?' His work has appeared in journals such as Mind, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Studies, and Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. 

Dr. Moriah Sokolowski
Dr. Moriah Sokolowski, Psychology

Dr. Sokolowski completed her M.Sc. (2015) and Ph.D. (2019) in Psychology at Western University at the Brain and Mind Institute. Following this, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Baycrest Hospital at the Rotman Research Institute and a contract lecturer at TMU. Dr. Sokolowski has received multiple competitive awards, including the SSHRC Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship, CIHR Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Governor General’s Gold Medal, and NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships (Master and Doctorate). 

Her research program addresses the fundamental question: how does the developing mind support complex learning? She uses mathematical thinking as a model to study the development of complex cognition in children, adolescents and adults, applying diverse methodologies, such as behavioural and brain-imaging techniques. In addition to conducting basic science research, she is passionate about linking her findings to real-world outcomes to support individual well-being and population-level innovation.

Dr. Isma Yusuf, Geography and Environmental Studies

Dr. Isma Yusuf is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged scholar, within training in criminology, women's studies, sociology, and geography. This robust lens is utilized in her research, as well as in her leading roles as project coordinator/researcher for the Inaugural Robbins-Ollivier Award for Excellence in Equity and as co-applicant for a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Both projects are committed to addressing anti-Black racism at multiple scales and scopes. 

An intersectional feminist geographer, Isma's research interests converges around three interwoven themes: power, positionality, and place. Her work draws upon several qualitative methods (e.g., mapping focus groups, static and walking interviews) to explore everyday Black life in Canada. A taken-for-granted arena, she selects everyday life because it is in the public realm -- through in/formal yet in/formative social interactions -- that people learn of their 'place' in society. Intersectionality is a throughline in Isma's work, as she routinely contemplates how Black geographic experiences dovetail and diverge across ethnicities, genders, religions, abilities, classes, locations, and ages (among others). 

The population at the overwhelming heart of her research program are Black Muslim women. As a Somali Canadian Muslim woman, she maintains a vested interest in creating the frames for understanding how race, gender, and religion compound to create a distinct engagement with the city, positively and precariously. Her PhD research and publications are the first within the Canadian context to extensively document the critically telling spatial patterns, practices, and perceptions of Black Canadian Muslim women. Her PhD introduced the term "musogynoir" to name qualitatively specific marginalization Black Muslim women negotiate when anti-Blackness, misogyny, and gendered Islamophobia interact(s) in place.

  • Dr. Alyssa Counsell (Psychology)
  • Dr. Damien Lee (Sociology)
  • Dr. Ajay Sandhu (Criminology)
  • Dr. Zahir Kolia (Criminology)
  • Dr. Rohan Sud (Philosophy)
  • Ms. Hyunju Lee (Economics)
  • Dr. Diane Enns (Philosophy)
  • Ms. Conely de Leon (Sociology)
  • Dr. Hongbing Yu (Languages, Literatures & Cultures)
  • Dr. Naomi Hamer (English)
  • Dr. Doosoo Kim (Economics)
  • Dr. Katherine Zubovich (History)
  • Ms. Lauren Kirshner (English)
  • Dr. Antoine Panaïoti (Philosophy)
  • Dr. Shiri Pasternak (Criminology)
  • Dr. Christopher Wellen (Geography)