About Dr. Leo Groarke

Dr. Leo Groarke smiling at the camera in his office, wearing a blue suit and tie

Dr. Leo Groarke was born in London, England. His family immigrated to Canada when he was three and grew up in Western Canada, on a reserve close to Fort St. John; in Edmonton; and in Calgary. As a university student, he studied at the University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Western Ontario (Western) with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has three children – Scott, Jazz, and Katie – who have (in the great majority of respects :) turned out well. 

Prior to joining Trent University, Dr. Groarke served as Vice-President, Academic and Provost at University of Windsor, and as Principal/Vice-President of the Brantford Campus of Wilfrid Laurier University, where he spearheaded the development of a new and highly successful campus that has, in partnership with the City, become a model for downtown revitalization in Canada.

Dr. Groarke was appointed President of Trent in 2014. Since he arrived he has restructured Trent’s budget and marketing, recruitment, and admissions operations. Reviews have been completed on retention, internationalization, Traill College and the college system.

Dr. Groarke has played a key role in bringing a number of capital projects to the Symons Campus in Peterborough – a new Student Centre on the banks of the Otonabee River, a new baseball diamond and playing field, and a new twin pad arena complex which is being developed in partnership with the City of Peterborough. Other key developments include the expansion of Trent’s Durham Campus, located in Oshawa, and the Trent Research and Innovation Park, which aims to make Trent and Peterborough a focal point for the development of green industry.

In addition to his administrative experience, Dr. Groarke brings extensive academic credentials. He has many years of experience in teaching, research, editorial board membership, conference and institute leadership, as well as authorship and editorial contributions to many critical notes, articles, journals and books.

His areas of research and scholarly interest include ancient philosophy, higher education, the history of ideas, social and political thought, and "informal" logic. His most recent work examines the role of visual images in reasoning, argument and persuasion -- a role that is heightened in digital communication. His influential scholarship includes the textbook, Good Reasoning Matters!, co-edited with Christopher Tindale, a former Trent professor. He and Professor Tindale serve as editors-in-chief of the book series Windsor Studies in Argumentation. 

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Selected Publications:

  • 2011 "Logic, Informal," Stanford World Wide Web Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu.
  • 2010 Reinventing Brantford: A University Goes Downtown (Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, The Dundurn Group). 
  • 2009 Jan Sobocan and Leo Groarke, eds. Critical Thinking, Education and Assessment: How can we test higher order thinking? London, Ontario: The Althouse Press.
  • 2008 Leo Groarke and Christopher Tindale, Good Reasoning Matters! Revised 4th ed. (Toronto: Oxford University Press); 
  • 2007 David Birdsell & Leo Groarke, Guest Editors, Argumentation and Advocacy: The Journal of the American Forensic Association, Special Double Issue on Visual Argument, Vol. 43: Nos. 3&4 (Winter & Summer). 
  • 2006* Leo Groarke and Gary Warrick, “The Ethics of Stewardship,” in Chris Scarre and Geoffrey Scarre, eds. Ethics in the Field: Philosophical Perspectives on the Practice of Archaeology (Cambridge University Press). 
  • 2005* “Teaching History: The Future of the Past,” in Peter Farrugia, ed. The River of History: Trans-National and Trans-Disciplinary Perspectives on the Immanence of the Past. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. 
  • 2004 “Can Capitalism Save Itself? Some Ruminations on the End of Capitalism” In Tom Beauchamp and Norman Bowie, eds Ethical Theory and Business. 7th edition. New York: Prentice-Hall.
  • 2003* Michael A. Gilbert, Floriana Grasso, Leo Groarke, Corrin Gurr, Janne M. Gerlofs, ‘The Persuasion Machine,’ in Chris Reed, Timothy J. Norman, Argumentation Machines: New Frontiers in Argument and Computation (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers).
  • 2003* “Are Musical Arguments Possible?” Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Argumentation. Amsterdam: Sic Sat, 419-423.
  • 1990 Greek Scepticism: Anti-Realist Trends in Ancient Thought. Kingston, Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. (McGill-Queen's Series in the History of Ideas) 176pp.


Ph. D. in Philosophy (University of Western Ontario)
M.A. in Philosophy (University of Calgary)
B.A. Honours in Philosophy (University of Calgary)

Employment History

Trent University  
2014 President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Windsor  
2010-2014 Professor of Philosophy; Provost & Vice-President, Academic
Wilfrid Laurier University  
2009-2010 Principal & Vice-President, Brantford Campus:
2008-2009 Provost & Vice-President, Academic (Acting)
2001-2006 Renewed 2006-2009 Dean, Brantford Campus
2000-2001 Acting Dean, Brantford Campus
1999-2000 Assistant Dean (Program Development), Faculty of Arts & Science/ Arts
1994-1997 Chair, Philosophy Department
1993-2010 Full Professor, Department of Philosophy
1993-2010 Adjunct Professor, Religion & Culture M.A. Program
1988-1993 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
1991-1993 Cognate Faculty, English M.A. Program in Gender and Genre
1989-1993 Adjunct Faculty, Religion & Culture M.A. Program
1983-1988 Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
1991 Université canadienne en France, Nice: Instructor


An avid kayaker, Dr. Groarke frequently takes advantage of the proximity to water at Trent’s Peterborough and Oshawa campuses.