Innis College

Faculty List

Associate Professors, Teaching Stream 

C. Messenger, MA 

D.J. Roberts, PhD 

A.L. Williams, PhD


Innis College offers courses that sustain two interdisciplinary academic programs: Urban Studies (designated URB) and Writing and Rhetoric (designated WRR). Innis College is also the home of the Cinema Studies Institute, which offers an impressive collection of courses (designated CIN) listed separately under Cinema Studies Institute. Courses for the Innis One Program have been inspired by the College's two academic programs and its special relationship with the Cinema Studies Institute.

Innis One: The Creative City

Innis One: The Creative City is a first-year foundations program for students who wish to develop their creative and critical capacities by exploring the dynamism of our urban environment. Drawing from the College’s two academic programs — Urban Studies and Writing and Rhetoric — and its special relationship with the Cinema Studies Institute, Innis One coaxes students to venture beyond the academy walls and engage in an imaginative, inquiry-based, and civic-minded learning experience.

In a small-class setting, students will be encouraged to bring their own experience, passions and history into relationship with the civic issues and landscapes of Toronto, thus gaining a greater appreciation of the interplay between personally driven writing, film, and urban life. Seminars featuring guest lecturers, films and special field trips offer a unique experiential learning opportunity that will also help students to develop writing, research, and analytical skills.

All first-year students in the Faculty of Arts and Science (St. George campus) are eligible for admission. Further information is available at

Enquiries: Jannie Chien, Innis College Program Coordinator, Room 233E Innis College (416-946-7107),

Urban Studies

Urban Studies at Innis College provides students with the tools to make sense of their urban world. The Program examines the complex and dynamic relations among institutions, people, and physical form that create, sustain, or destroy cities.

The Program is suited for those students who wish to study cities using several disciplinary approaches. It is also of interest to those students who wish to become involved in urban issues in Toronto. The Program offers an internship in the office of either a municipal politician, non-profit research group, or other government organization as part of its experiential learning program. Because urban issues are so varied, Urban Studies combines well with many other program areas. Students are advised to consult the Program Director when designing programs that meet their particular interests. The Program encourages students to take advantage of the Study Elsewhere Program at the University of Toronto to broaden their knowledge of cities.

Enquiries: Jannie Chien, Innis College Program Coordinator, Room 233E Innis College (416-946-7107), Also see the Urban Studies website at

Writing and Rhetoric

Innis College’s Minor Program in Writing and Rhetoric offers a diverse array of courses that explore the worlds of oral, written, and online discourse.

Writing and rhetoric go hand in hand. In an increasingly digital world, where the variety and sheer number of texts are rapidly proliferating, the ability to produce persuasive and eloquent writing, as well as analyze and interpret texts, couldn’t be more foundational. Guiding our program is the premise that students must be equipped to engage both theoretically and practically with the multimedial world of discourse.

Rhetoric, one of the oldest disciplines in the humanities, is fundamentally concerned with how persuasion circulates in society: what transpires in texts necessarily reflects, deflects, and impacts what happens outside of them. The study of rhetoric includes analyzing the circulation of influence, identities, seductions, ideologies, narratives, tropes, ideas, compromises, and effects across a wide variety of contexts: for example, digital media environments (digital rhetoric), marketing campaigns (advertising rhetoric), medical and scientific settings (rhetoric of science and technology), and the contemporary world of political activity and activism (rhetoric of social change—including feminist rhetoric, rhetoric of race, and environmental rhetoric).

Writing, one of the most important rhetorical skills that anyone can develop, is an invaluable craft both in academic programs and beyond the university. Rhetors—those who can adapt their language to audience and context and use language skillfully—exert a powerful influence in almost any setting. Our writing courses teach students how to write well in the modes, genres, and styles appropriate to particular disciplinary, institutional, and creative contexts. Each course is oriented towards the specialized writing, reading, research, and editing skills involved in a specific writing genre.

Enquiries: Jannie Chien, Innis College Program Coordinator, Room 233E Innis College (416-946-7107), Also see the Writing and Rhetoric website at