Professor of Political Science
Communities & Connections, School of Arts and Social Sciences
Professor of Political Science (Full Professor)
Department of L’Nu, Political and Social Studies
Dr. Tom Urbaniak, a political scientist, is the Director of CBU’s Tompkins Institute. He is the Past Chair of Political Science. In addition to Political Science, he teaches in CBU’s MBA program in Community Economic Development.
Tom is also an Administrative Justice of the Peace for the Province of Nova Scotia.
Tom is Past Chair of the National Trust for Canada, which works with Canadians in every province and territory to protect historic places and regenerate communities. He is an expert on governance and administration in the non-profit sector and is called upon frequently to give advice to organizations and communities, and to facilitate planning exercises.
He is the author of five books, including Her Worship: Hazel McCallion and the Development of Mississauga (University of Toronto Press), Action, Accommodation, Accountability: Rules of Order for Canadian Organizations (Writing on Stone Press), and Dignity, Democracy, Development: A Citizen’s Reader (Breton Books)
In addition, with colleague Dr. Andrew Molloy, Tom recently co-edited a book of essays with contributors from across Canada, entitled Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation (Cape Breton University Press).
Tom has served in pro bono leadership positions for local, provincial, and national organizations, focusing on crime prevention, affordable housing, public libraries, child welfare, and heritage conservation. Tom was founding chair of the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership (which does research and demonstration projects), helped to establish Habitat for Humanity’s presence in Cape Breton, and proposed Nova Scotia’s first local heritage conservation revolving fund and co-founded the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society to administer it.
Tom is frequently called upon to offer political and policy analysis in the media, giving interviews in both English and French. He chaired the Parish Council of St. Mary’s Polish Church in the multicultural community of Whitney Pier, Nova Scotia, where he resides. He provided leadership alongside fellow parishioners to the rebuilding of the historic church following a devastating fire. Tom is involved in initiatives that bring together people of diverse faith and cultural backgrounds. He is a member of the Canadian Polish Research Institute and has served on the Canadian Election Observation Mission in Ukraine.
Tom is involved in numerous community-building activities. He is currently chairing the Whitney Pier Community Kitchen Steering Committee as well as the steering committee for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s partner-city agreement with Walbrzych, Poland. He regularly leads community development walks.
Tom is the Vice Chair of the CBU Senate and a member of the university’s Strategic Planning Committee.
Tom is married to Rev. Alison Etter, United Church minister in Glace Bay.