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 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 reviews in more than fifteen Ontario municipalities. He has also testified as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board in several cases involving electoral arrangements.
In 2011, Dr. Williams completed two reports for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, in relation to a Boundary Review Applications submitted by Cape Breton Regional Municipality and by Halifax Regional Municipality. Beginning in 2013, he has been retained as Integrity Commissioner for two Ontario municipalities.
Building on his long-standing interest in municipal government and the role of the arts in Canada, Dr. Williams is currently 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. Municipal cultural planning is a municipal-led process that enables communities to identify, leverage, integrate and strengthen the management of their local cultural resources within municipal government planning and decision-making. He is also completing a second term as Chair of the City of Waterloo’s Advisory Committee on Culture.