The Centre for Civic Religious Literacy is led and supported by an esteemed Board of Directors and Advisors who are specialists and committed to promoting understanding.
Board of Directors
Siebren Miedema, Chair
Siebren Miedema is Emeritus Professor in Religious Education in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and Emeritus Professor in Educational Foundations in the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has published numerous books, chapters and articles both in academic and professional journals and newspaper articles and gave numerous lectures all over the globe. His main research topics are: personhood formation from an inter-worldview perspective; the interrelated positioning of worldview education in the public, the social and the private domain, and the concept of worldview citizenship education within liberal-democratic societies.
John Valk, Vice Chair
John Valk has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (University of Toronto) and is Professor of Worldview Studies at the University of New Brunswick (Canada). His teaching, research and writing focuses on worldviews. He has presented academic papers at numerous national and international conferences, has published two books, and written book chapters as well as articles in various international academic journals. He is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Protestant University Darmstadt (Germany), University of Heidelberg and the University of Zurich. He is an International Advisory Board Member of the British Journal of Religious Education and of the Europäisches Institut für interculturelle und interreligiöse Forschung (Heidelberg, Germany).
Kathryn Chan, Secretary
Kathryn Chan is an Associate Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria. In 2022-23, she will serve as the Acting Director of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. Kathryn’s research and teaching focus on Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, and Non-Profit Sector Law. She is currently involved in two SSHRC-funded studies: one on the impact of non-governmental interveners in Canadian religious freedom litigation, and another on the adjudication of religious refugee claims. She is the author of The Public-Private Nature of Charity Law. Previously, she practiced law at a boutique firm in Vancouver that provides strategic, legal, and operational advice to persons involved in the non-profit sector and was an executive member of the provincial and national branches of the Canadian Bar Association Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Subsection.
Bryan Hillis recently retired as Professor of Religious Studies at Luther College, University of Regina. During his tenure, he was head of the UR Religious Studies department, Dean (1995-2005) and President of Luther College (2010-2020). Graduating from the UR, he completed graduate work at the University of Manitoba before attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar graduating with an MA in Theology (1981). After some time in the corporate world, he returned to studies at the University of Chicago, receiving his PhD in 1988 in the History of Christianity under the mentorship of Martin E. Marty. His teaching and publishing interests include world religions, religion in Canada and Christian theology.
Dwight Newman, KC
Dwight Newman, KC (King’s Counsel) is Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law at the University of Saskatchewan (2013-2023), where he has been on faculty since 2005 and has previously served a three-year term as Associate Dean. He holds a BA in Economics (Regina 1996), JD (Saskatchewan 1999), MSc in Finance and Financial Law (SOAS/London 2021), and BCL, MPhil, and DPhil in Philosophy of Law (Oxford 2002/03/05), and he recently completed an MATS in History of Christianity (Regent College 2022). He writes on areas that include constitutional law, domestic and international Indigenous rights law, and law and religion.
Kunle Akingbola is Associate Professor of Human Resource Management & Organizational Behaviour in the Faculty of Business Administration at Lakehead University. He is interested in the complex interactions in the environment that influence strategic change and human resource management in nonprofit and healthcare organizations. He is the author of Change Management in Nonprofit Organizations: Theory and Practice and Managing Human Resources for Nonprofits. He is on the board of directors of Association for Nonprofit & Social Economy Research, and two community organizations, and established and facilitates the HR Nonprofit Network.
Lorna A. Turnbull is an engaged community member, a mother of three, and a professor and former Dean in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. Her teaching subjects include Income Tax Law and Policy, Children, Youth and the Law, Human Rights, Family Law, Legal Systems and Legal Methods and she teaches in French and English. Her research is focused on the work of care, its importance to carers and those who depend on the care, and how legal frameworks support or fail these important relationships. She is also concerned with economic inequality affecting indigenous families and communities, and women and children. She is a summer visiting professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in the WiSE Centre for Economic Justice in Scotland. She is the author of Double Jeopardy: Motherwork and the Law (2001) and a co-editor of Mothering and Welfare: Depriving, Surviving Thriving (2020).
Rabbi Ellen Greenspan
Rabbi Ellen Greenspan served as the Rabbi-Educator at Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom from August 2014 to June 2022. She moved to Montreal from New Jersey, and is excited to remain in Montreal to pursue various interests, including serving on the CCRL board, maintaining her involvement in interfaith activities, and studying French. Rabbi Greenspan is a Reform Rabbi, Judaism’s most liberal movement. She is passionate about helping people explore their spiritual and religious identities. She was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), in New York. She received two Masters Degrees from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles: a Masters of Hebrew Letters and a Masters in Jewish Education. She served as a rabbi and in other educational and community building capacities for many years in New Jersey.
Robert Jackson is Emeritus Professor in Religions and Education at the University of Warwick, UK, and a Visiting Professor at Stockholm University. He has contributed to the educational work of the Council of Europe since 2002 including writing Signposts (Council of Europe Publishing 2014) His book Religious Education for Plural Societies: The Selected Works of Robert Jackson, is about to be published by Routledge. In 2017, he was awarded honorary doctorates by NTNU, Trondheim and the Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.
Uzma Majeed joins the CCRL with over 25 years of multi-faceted experience in administration, management and service acquired from working in various disciplines and environments within the public, private and academic sectors. She is currently a Research Administrator at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management where she provides support to faculty members by facilitating and propelling the researchers’ funding through varying initiatives and enhancing the presence of faculty researchers locally, nationally and internationally. Uzma is passionate about initiatives that aim to advance knowledge, understanding, and well-being. She is grateful to be able to support these initiatives through service in both her professional and personal life. Previously, she was the CCRL Board Secretary. She transitioned in the advisory role in 2023.
Friends of CCRL
Blair Stonechild, previous CCRL Advisor (2018-2022)
Dr. Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation. He attended Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School and Campion Collegiate then went on to obtain his Bachelor’s degree from McGill, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from University of Regina. In 1976 Blair joined the First Nations University of Canada as its first faculty member. He has been Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development responsible for construction of the university’s facility. Major publications include Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion,(1997) a history book which won national attention; The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006) a study of Canadian Indigenous higher education policy; and the biography Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way on the life of the internationally renowned singer which has received awards and his latest work The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality which relates the teachings of Indigenous Elders is published by the University of Regina Press in 2016. Blair resides in Regina with his wife and 3 adult children.
Shauna Van Praagh, previous Chair of the Board (2018-2023)
Shauna Van Praagh is a Professor of Law at McGill University, where she has taught and researched since 1993, and served as Associate Dean, Graduate Studies in Law, from 2007 to 2010. A graduate of University of Toronto (BSc 1986, LLB 1989) and Columbia University (LLM 1992, JSD 2000), she clerked for Chief Justice of Canada Brian Dickson in 1989-1990. Her areas of research and expertise include religion and law, children and law, and legal education. In 2017, she received the One World Award from Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in recognition of her contributions to community and outreach.