Academic News and Other Notes

Spring 2020

St. Paul’s welcomes new Human Rights professor

Anna Purkey in front of a flowering shrub

We are pleased to announce the arrival of Anna Purkey, who has accepted a new tenure stream position in Human Rights. She will join the community in August as an assistant professor and play a critical role in developing St. Paul’s new Human Rights minor as the program’s first director. 

Most recently, she’s worked as a summer course director and senior research associate at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and as an assistant professor at St. Jerome’s University, teaching both Introduction to Legal Studies and criminal law courses. This coming year, she will be creating and teaching introductory courses in Human Rights and the Canadian Charter and working collaboratively with other faculty members to build out a strong program which will engage and prepare students to work in human rights.  

“My objective in teaching will be to marry a certain amount of substantive content with the development of important skills such as advocacy skills,” said Purkey. “Everyone is going to have to advocate for themselves at some point, regardless of what field they’re in, so this is an important skill to develop.” 

Her research interests focus on the role refugees can play in transitional justice processes and the importance of empowering individuals to access and to use the law to advance their rights and interests. In conjunction with this research work, she’s held a position as a member on the Board of Directors for the community organization Action Réfugiés Montréal and been a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. These experiences make her uniquely positioned for success within our community, given our role as a campus leader in supporting refugee matters through the Student Refugee Program.  

As a new addition to the College, Purkey hopes to integrate experiential components to her courses by inviting guest speakers to join the classroom and having students get involved in supporting human rights initiatives within the broader community.  

“We often think of human rights as something that happens or is dealt with in another country,” said Purkey. “But there are so many community organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo dealing with really important issues. We have to tie education to people’s actual lives, especially when it comes to human rights.” 

Purkey comes to St. Paul’s with vast experience as an educator, academic and legal professional. She received a BCL/LLB from McGill University (2005), an LLM from the University of Toronto (2008) and  a DCL from McGill University (2015). She’s also held a position of legal counsel at the Department of Justice Canada, taught as a contract instructor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa.  

“I’m really eager to join St. Paul’s,” said Purkey. “Everyone seems so happy to work here and having a group of people who are committed to an institution and its students is worth a lot to me.” 

We look forward to having Anna Purkey join the St. Paul’s community and know she will bring a great  deal of value and expertise to the College.

Board of Governors creates new fellowships to honour two former Chairs

The Board of Governors has created two new fellowships for students who wish to return to residence for a second year. The fellowships are named in honour of two retiring members of the Board who have provided outstanding service to the College over an extended period of time.

Rod BarrThe Rod Barr Fellowship is for a returning student in any academic field who has contributed to the life of the College. Rod Barr was a resident of the College in the 1960s. He went on to become a nationally recognized leader in the field of accounting. In 2009, Mr. Barr was appointed as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and helped lead the unification of various accounting professional bodies under one designation the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA). Mr. Barr served on the Board of St. Paul’s for over a decade, including a term as chair.

Bob RosehartThe Bob Rosehart Fellowship is for a returning student in Engineering who has contributed to the life of the College. Bob Rosehart was a resident at St. Paul’s in the very first year it opened. He holds a doctorate in Engineering and has had a very distinguished career in university administration, including appointments as president of Lakehead University and president of Wilfrid Laurier University. Bob Rosehart also spent over a decade on the Board of St. Paul’s, including a term as chair.

“Each of these gentlemen understands that residence-life adds immensely to a student’s experience,” says Richard Myers, St. Paul’s principal. “The Board deeply appreciates all they’ve done for their College and we could think of no better way to express that appreciation than through fellowships that will encourage residence leaders to return for a second year.”