Areas of specialization
Canadian municipal government & politics
Ontario provincial politics
Public policy for the arts and culture
Robert J. Williams was an active member of the Department of Political Science from 1971 until his early retirement at the end of 2006. During that time he primarily taught courses in the Canadian politics field with emphasis on parliament and parties, plus courses on provincial, Ontario and municipal government and politics.
Over the years he served in administrative positions in the Department (Chair, Graduate and Undergraduate officer and a variety of other roles), in the Faculty (Chair of Arts Faculty Council and of both the Admissions and the Examinations and Standings committees) and the University (as a member of Senate and the Board of Governors, as well as the Board of the Faculty Association). He also volunteered as mediator in the University’s Conflict Intervention Programme and as a resource person for the Resolution Support Programme.
From 1994 until 2003 he was Academic Director of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme at Queen’s Park.
In retirement, Dr. Williams has been engaged independently or with Watson and Associates to conduct or advise on ward boundary and electoral system reviews in more than twenty-five Ontario municipalities. He has testified as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board in several cases involving electoral arrangements. He has served as Integrity Commissioner for the Township of Wilmot since 2013 and for the Town of Erin from 2014 to 2018.
Building on his long-standing interest in municipal government and the role of the arts in Canada, Dr. Williams served as President of Municipal Cultural Planning Inc., a not-for-profit organization created in late 2009 to advance the practice of municipal cultural planning in communities across Ontario. He also served as Chair of the City of Waterloo’s Advisory Committee on Culture and is presently an active member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Volunteer Committee.