My home within the University of Alberta is in the Augustana Faculty in Camrose, an undergraduate liberal arts and sciences faculty. During my academic career, I have developed many international teaching and research connections and collaborations most notably in Scandinavia, the UK, and Japan. I grew-up in northern Canada (Newfoundland and Yukon) and have spent the last 30 years traveling by canoe, raft, foot, snowshoe, and dogsled to many parts of the NWT and Nunavut. One of the most gratifying aspects of my academic career has been sharing my love and knowledge of the north with students and colleagues from around the world.
My research and teaching are tightly interwoven. My research explores questions that have arisen from my experience of teaching which includes spending hundreds of days and nights with students on extended wilderness educational expeditions, particularly in the Canadian north. For example, my research has explored perceived learning, critical elements, lasting impacts of wilderness educational expeditions, sense-of-place, journal writing, and research methods. In many ways, my research is a form of self-reflection on my experience of teaching with the goal of improving and understanding my life of teaching. In partnership with Dr. Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, we hold a SSRHC grant investigating the philosophies, characteristics, and goals of Outdoor Education in Canada.
My teaching is primarily in the areas of outdoor, adventure, and experiential education. Many of my courses include wilderness expeditions such as canoeing, dogsledding, and hiking. However, these activities are primarily a means-to-an-end. The end I seek is a liberal education where students learn about themselves, working in groups, leadership, the world around them, and, of course, the development of wilderness travel skills while pursing the specific disciplinary goals of a particular course. Pedagogically, I seek to create organic learning experiences that encourage students to engage head, hands, and heart.
The course allows students to learn about approaches, methodologies and/or analytic techniques specific to a discipline, while offering an opportunity to practice working collaboratively in groups on a large project. Prerequisite: AUIDS 101.Fall Term 2022
This course is designed to provide students with the foundational skills and knowledge for safe and enjoyable work and recreational experiences in the outdoors. Students will develop skills such as personal thermoregulation, efficient camp management, trip planning, equipment selection and repair, food planning and water treatment, knots and shelters, fire lighting and stove use, axe and saw use, outdoor cooking and a variety of safety skills including hypothermia prevention and treatment and bear safety. Skills will be practiced during weekly labs and other short local field experiences.Fall Term 2022
Introduction to winter travel skills of snowshoe, hand-hauled toboggan, and wall tent living. The course examines a variety of outdoor education theories and perspectives regarding leadership, group dynamics, and nature-human relationships. In addition, placed-based educational strategies will be used to develop a broad understanding of the expedition route. Note: The course requires participation on a multi-day overnight field trip. Students are required to provide personal outdoor clothing and equipment.Winter Term 2023 Winter Term 2023
Introduction to theoretical and practical aspects of outdoor education. The course examines a variety of outdoor education theories and perspectives regarding leadership, group dynamics, and nature-human relationships. In addition, outdoor skills needed for wilderness canoe tripping will be developed. Note: The course requires participation on a multi-day overnight field trip. Students are required to provide personal outdoor clothing and equipment. Prerequisite: second-year standing. Note: Credit may only be received for one of AUPED 283 and 284.Fall Term 2022 Fall Term 2022
Spending time alone in natural places has a long tradition in the human experience. These experiences of silence and solitude have been sources of wisdom, self-awareness, and physical and mental wellbeing as well as served as a rite of passage for some people and cultures. This course will include regular readings followed by solo explorations in local urban parks and green spaces with the goal of having students discover a Listening Point that might serve as a foundation for wellness and a lifetime practice of solo and solitude.Winter Term 2023