Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Getting to Know the New College Head: Professor Zachary Spicer

Getting to Know the New College Head: Professor Zachary Spicer

Founded in 2009, New College is, as the name suggests, the latest addition to York’s nine colleges, and one of the Faculty of LA&PS’s four colleges. It supports undergraduate students in Commerce, Information Technology, Human Resources Management, and Disaster and Emergency Management.

Today, we bring to you a one-on-one talk with Professor Zachary Spicer, who was recently appointed as the Head of New College.

Professor Zachary Spicer headshot

We’re building a new service profile for graduate students at New College, meaning that we’re serving two communities: our undergraduates associated with New College and graduate students across LA&PS. On the graduate side, I’m aiming to create a welcoming and collegial community space for students. I’m passionate about helping graduate students find their mission and purpose, so I envision us focusing on programming that will not only help students achieve their academic goals while at York, but also support them as they launch their careers. I’m hoping that LA&PS grad students will join me in co-creating something special. We have a unique opportunity to build from the ground up and support students throughout their time at York.

Tim Hortons – much to my wife’s chagrin.

I’ve always had an interest in politics and political systems. My mom has stories of me watching political debates on TV as a kid or insisting we watch the evening news so that I could follow bills in Parliament. I was a bit of a nerdy kid, as you can tell! That interest in government never faded, which prompted me to complete a political science degree when I was older. I’ve always really enjoyed teaching and continuous learning, so these passions came together nicely in a career as a political scientist. I consider myself very fortunate to have found a job like this.

Comedy. Although I’m always up for an intriguing drama or documentary.

My first job was working the night shift at a grocery store. We restocked the shelves every night with new products, arriving well after the store closed and leaving before it opened. It was definitely tough, but pretty crucial for me as a teenager to learn the value of hard work.

The road to doing anything worthwhile is hard. I was the first in my family to attend university, so there was a steep learning curve for me even as a student. I benefited tremendously from having good mentors and professors who helped me along the way, so I try to do the same for others, whenever possible. Ultimately, finding your way and finding a career as a graduate student is hard. It can be a lonely road to walk as you complete an MA or a PhD, which is why I’m so passionate about building a really supportive community here at New College. I want to build the kind of support system and network for others that really benefited me.

Definitely interacting with students. I get a chance to meet a lot of graduate students from all areas of study across the faculty, which is a great experience. Our events and programming put me in touch with a lot of students. Getting to know them better and having the opportunity to build something from scratch that will serve them is exciting.

To me, service is a critical component of citizenship. What I mean by that is seeking out opportunities to serve in your community and help others. That’s what I try to do in my personal and professional life as well and what ultimately drove me to seek this position with New College. I was reminded a lot growing up that public service isn’t an option, but rather an obligation. I suggest students think about ways in which they can serve their community and help others. Ultimately as we build others up, we build ourselves as well.


I would encourage students to keep in touch with the Colleges. We have some cool plans and events lined up. We really are engaged in co-creation, so there is a great opportunity for students to help us build our community together. I hope that students will see us as a welcoming and valuable addition to their time at York!