James L. Turk is a distinguished visiting professor in the Faculty of Communication & Design’s School of Journalism.

As distinguished visiting professor, Turk has created the Centre for Free Expression is serving as the Centre’s Director.  The Centre, based in the Faculty of Communications and Design, is a hub for public education, research and advocacy on free expression and the public’s right to seek, receive and share information. It works collaboratively with other academic and community organizations in better understanding and advancing expressive freedom rights.

The Centre organizes a dozen public events yearly on issues related to free expression, has a blog on which many of Canada’s top experts on free expression regularly participate, is a leading advocate for legislative changes that advances free expression and the public’s right to know, is undertaking research in key issues related to free expression, and is Canada’s foremost organization regarding all aspects of whistleblowing. Information on all these activities is available on the Centre’s website — www.cfe.ryerson.ca

Turk spent 16 years at the helm of CAUT, where he was recognized for building an association which represents over 70,000 academic and general staff from across Canada, for defending academic freedom and for his contributions to post-secondary education in Canada. Prior to his work at CAUT, he was the executive assistant to the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and director of education for the Ontario Federation of Labour. For 20 years, Turk was a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto.

Turk is an accomplished writer and presenter and his most recent book, Academic Freedom in Conflict: The Struggle over Free Speech Rights in the University, was published in 2014. In 2012, Turk received the Distinguished Member Award from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. In 2013, he received the Jay Newman Award for Academic Integrity from the University of Guelph Faculty Association, and in 2014 he was the recipient of the Peter C. Dooley Legacy Award from the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association.

Turk received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Toronto, his MA from the University of California at Berkeley and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor degree in sociology, social psychology and anthropology. He was a Knox Fellow in Political Science and Philosophy at Cambridge University.