Dr. June Larkin, Senior Lecturer in Women and Gender Studies and Equity Studies, is an award winning teacher widely recognized for her excellence in teaching, educational leadership and community-university connections. She has an MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a PhD in Education from the Ontario Institute in Studies in Education, OISE/UT. Her MA thesis won the Phi Delta Kappa Best Thesis award and her book, “Sexual Harassment: High School Girls Speak Out”, based on her doctoral dissertation, is included on the Women’s National Book Association list of Eighty Books for 21st Century Girls.
As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Larkin began her university teaching in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Toronto and went on to become Undergraduate Coordinator and Acting Program Director. She established and continues to administer Equity Studies at New College, a unique undergraduate program that has led the way in innovative programming around equity issues. As Vice Principal of New College since 2007, Dr. Larkin has headed up college-wide curriculum initiatives that include a rapidly expanding local and international service learning program, a skills building writing program, a global food equity initiative with local food groups, and a New Media project that provides instructors with the training to teach students the multi-modal arguments new media require. Her curriculum leadership is international and extends beyond the University of Toronto to Costa Rica, Namibia and South Africa. Dr. Larkin has authored or co-authored a number of curriculum documents as well as publications for university classrooms.
Through her community-based research program, The Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (GAAP) Project, Dr. Larkin creates opportunities for students to work with youth, community workers, researchers and policy makers on studies and initiatives related to youth, sexuality and HIV/AIDS. Her students benefit from the wide networks they access through GAAP and the opportunities for publication, conference presentations and research training. They learn about the new emerging field of arts-informed research, the key methodology of GAAP, and try their hand at photography, video making, performance and other arts activities. The arts-based products students develop through GAAP become teaching tools in Dr. Larkin’s classroom, creating a seamless connection between her research and teaching. Studies conducted through GAAP are notable for not merely studying youth, but for engaging them as fellow researchers. One project resulted in Dr. Larkin and her colleagues receiving the Synapse Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, in recognition of her outstanding mentorship of Canada’s next generation of health researchers. Dr. Larkin is also the recipient of a Community Based Research Award of Merit, for exemplary participation in community based research.
Dr. Larkin brings together scholarship, community work and activism in a unique approach to undergraduate education that values student experiential learning. She includes a community service requirement in all her courses as a way of creating a learning environment that extends far beyond the university walls. At the same time, she provides innovative ways to bring the community to the university through partnerships linked to her research and curriculum initiatives. The Daily Bread Food Bank gives an annual lecture on food security and invites students to help distribute their program evaluation survey; educators from the 519 Church Street Community Centre do a workshop on transphobia; Lee Maracle, a well-known Aboriginal author, reads from her novels. All of this is connected to the course material allowing students to see the social relevance of knowledge. Such teaching has earned her a prestigious Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Award for university teachers as well as an APUS-SAC Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Described as a “teacher’s teacher” and “an amazing lecturer” Dr. Larkin’s overall goal is to produce socially engaged citizens who can apply their academic knowledge to real-life situations for social justice ends. Through her teaching, research, and community work she provides an exemplary model for putting this philosophy into practice.