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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Adjunct professors

Jeffrey Abracen, PhD

Dr. Jeffrey Abracen is a Chief Psychologist for the Central District (Ontario) Parole, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). He has expertise in the study, assessment and treatment of high-risk offenders, as well as a number of other types of offenders. He is also a fellow of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA). In his role at CSC, he is responsible for engaging in both research and treatment. His research has primarily focused on treatment effectiveness for sexual offenders, the role of substance abuse, and predictors of sexual recidivism. Dr. Abracen has experience working in general sexology, a high-security correctional facility and community corrections. This breadth of experience allows him to provide insights into working with people with issues related to problematic sexual interests and behaviour more generally, as well as those who have committed various types of crimes, and the most effective approaches to assessment and rehabilitation.

Nawal Ammar, PhD

Dr. Nawal Ammar is the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rowan University in New Jersey. Prior to joining Rowan, Dr. Ammar spent nine years as the Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Ontario Tech University. Before her tenures with these universities, Dr. Ammar held a variety of positions for numerous organizations, both in the U.S. and beyond North America, including the Institute of Women Studies in the Arab in Beirut-Lebanon, the Institute of Community Research in Hartford Connecticut, and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department in Youngstown, Ohio. Her recent research includes studies on elder abuse in the Greater Toronto Area, violence against immigrant women in Canada and the United States, as well as working on socio-legal issues related to Muslim women, both in western and in Arab courts.

James Brown

An Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities since 2017, James has more than 30 years of experience in policing at the municipal and international level, and has been seconded to work with provincial and atate agencies as well as with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). His international experience includes leading community consultations across Eastern Europe, leading police development missions to Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary, and leading ministerial-level negotiations on police training focus. During this time, he led a team of international police officers in the design and delivery of the OSCE Law Enforcement Officers training program in responding to hate crimes in the OSCE region. His Canadian police experience focused on major project management, designing and leading police reform and organizational change, business-process mapping and analysis along with threat, risk and vulnerability analysis. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Policing, Security and Community Safety at London Metropolitan University, where his research focuses on human trafficking data collection, the evaluation of police data capture as it relates to human trafficking, and an evaluation of police service capacity to respond to, and investigate, incidents of human trafficking.

Sonja Brubacher, PhD

Dr. Sonja Brubacher earned her doctoral degree in developmental psychology in 2011 from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She served for three years as a Lecturer and Trainer at Deakin University's Centre for Investigative Interviewing in Melbourne, Australia. From 2012 to 2014, she held a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Central Michigan University. Dr. Brubacher maintains an active program of research at the intersection of developmental and forensic psychology with 47 peer-reviewed journal articles published in addition to numerous book chapters and other professional reports. Her research examines the cognitive underpinnings of children's memory development, and the socio-motivational factors that influence whether and how children's memories are reported to others including in investigative interviews. Dr. Brubacher has supervised and co-supervised many undergraduate and graduate students at various institutions. She has also taught Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Research in Cognitive Psychology, and several forensic interviewing courses. 

Ainslie Heasman, PhD

Dr. Ainslie Heasman is a Clinical Psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the Sexual Behaviour Clinic and an Associate at the Centre for Interpersonal Relations. She has expertise in the assessment (including risk assessment) and treatment of mentally ill and sexual offenders, and people with other sexological problems (e.g. hypersexuality). She has been involved in program development for people with serious mental illness who have been found Not Criminally Responsible or Unfit to Stand Trial. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Heasman has practical experience that will be invaluable to our Forensic Psychology program and students. She has firsthand experience dealing with issues with a number of forensic populations, as well as other populations with complex mental health needs. This includes experience considering and working through ethical issues in forensic psychology.

Tanya Karam-Zanders, PhD

Dr. Tanya Karam-Zanders earned her doctoral degree in cognitive and developmental psychology in 2014 from Louisiana State University in the U.S. She served for two years as Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University (NSU) before moving to Toronto but continues to work for NSU remotely. Dr. Karam-Zanders maintains an active program of research in cognitive psychology. Her research examines various aspects of human memory, including emotionality and memory, meta-cognition and person memory, as evidenced by her publications and conference presentations. Dr. Karam-Zanders also has impressive teaching experience, including a wide variety of psychology courses (e.g. Introduction to Learning, Sleep and Arousal, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology, Research Methods, Learning and Memory, Thinking and Decision Making) at various universities (Louisiana State University, Northwestern State University, Southern New Hampshire University, Trent University, University of Toronto, and Ryerson University).

Krystal Martin, PhD

Krystal Martin is an experienced Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Toronto. Currently, she holds a position as a research scientist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and her areas of research include forensic mental health, de-escalation, resiliency, trauma, policing, and first responders. Dr. Martin is also an adjunct faculty member at York University and works closely with Durham Regional Police Services by providing training, education and consultation.

Tim McTiernan, PhD

Tim McTiernan is the President Emeritus for Ontario Tech University. He received his PhD in Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1982. His major area of research in social psychology was on stereotyping processes. He also researched environmental attitudes and quantitative and qualitative-based data collection in diverse community settings. He joined Ontario Tech University from the University of Toronto. 

Alana Saulnier, PhD

Dr. Alana Saulnier earned her Master of Arts in Criminology at Ontario Tech University and her doctorate degree in Sociology at Queens University. After graduating from Queens, she served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she continued to develop her independent research program. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Lakehead University. Her scholarship blends theoretical work in procedural justice, building upon work from her research at Ontario Tech, with applied research in surveillance studies, building upon her work at Queens. Her research examines the topic of body-worn cameras. Dr. Saulnier has active research collaborations with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Durham Regional Police Services. To date, she has authored 10 peer-reviewed articles, two book chapters, and numerous conference and invited presentations.