Check out the University of the Fraser Valley's Geography class presentation at the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) in Chilliwack. The subject: planning a future community at the former Minter Gardens site in Popkum, British Columbia. Click here: 

Cherie Enns, MA, MCIP, PhD candidate

Office: A406b, Abbotsford
Phone: 4716









Current Positions

Faculty, Department of Geography



Upon graduating from Trinity Western University, I went on to earn my Masters of Arts in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia (1986). Since then, I have worked as a planner and research analyst responsible for community development, social planning, public art, and housing projects throughout Canada.

I have taught at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1988. My teaching and research center on planning, urban social geography and international development. Courses taught include social geography, community development and planning, and the regional geography of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Part of my goals, as an instructor, is to deliver the most up to date curriculum and forum of learning possible. Beyond internship development, I am in the final stages of the development of an innovative mobile learning project for UN Habitat youth in global south related to social enterprise and sustainable development.

Over the past two decades, I have participated in several research projects in the United States, Southeast Asia, India and Sub-Sahara Africa.  I also co-lead travel study tours to Kenya, Hawaii and Tanzania.  Most recently I have been working with Save the Children Pan African on a project related to children’s rights including workshops in Senegal, S. Sudan, Zambia and Egypt to develop child friendly material relate to their rights and for civil society working in Africa.

I am also involved in professional planning work. Currently, I work with the following organizations in various capacities: BC Housing, Villages of Hope Africa Society, Dodson Foundation and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In the past, I have worked with a number of Canadian communities, including the Township of Langley, the City of Surrey, and the City of Langley, non-profit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, local churches, housing societies, Salvation Army and the United Way, and local residents in creating social policy and planning policies that are inclusive and include the voice of the marginalized.

I am currently completing my PhD at Darmstadt University in Germany. My research considers the voice of children and youth within community design, while creating a design that is based on traditional knowledge, vernacular design, social, economic, and environmental durability and longevity.


PhD Candidate, Darmstadt University, Germany
MA, University of British Columbia, 1986
BA, Trinity Western University, 1983

Teaching Philosophy and Experience
As education increasingly moves from the classroom into the “real” learning realm, teaching needs to change to reflect what this generation of students’ desire. Students of today want education to provide tangible and applied outputs and real life experience within the community. I value engaging students and finding innovative ways of maintaining student interest. I emphasize global and community participation as a way to supplement traditional pedagogical methods.

It has long been stated that the best classroom is the world in which we live, our own experiences, our lives, and how we connect to places, space, and time. My teaching practices honor this philosophy as I strive to connect my students to real-life experiences, practice, and people. I bring the classroom into the “real” time and offer real learning experiences through field trips, internships, practicum, and travel study. I also incorporate guest speakers and seminars into class time. My goal is to introduce students to community members who have similar goals and interests. 

My goal as an instructor is to not teach by rote or test for memory retention. Instead, I give my students the basic skills that they require and lead them on a journey of knowledge through grounded theory and hands-on experiential learning. It is my responsibility as an instructor to impart my knowledge and understanding of concepts and principles, but it is the students’ responsibility to develop those concepts and principles into working theories and practices that they can put to use in their own professional lives.  This method of instructing, I believe, gives students the opportunity to move in the direction that suits their desired employment objectives and life goals.

I believe that a good teacher leads effectively by example and by providing students with opportunities to explore their own interests and passions. For this reason, I highlight the importance of discussion in the classroom. Each student has a different background, different knowledge and different abilities. Through open forum and discussion we are able to highlight each other’s strengths while finding solutions each other’s weaknesses.

I integrate a range of sources beyond experiential learning/problem based learning into my classes including academic reading, novels, movies, documentaries, guest speakers, and conferences.  Students immerse themselves in the concepts and practices that are being taught. The students are asked to write papers; give presentations; keep a generalized journal that pertains to specific readings, reflect on the connection to the world as they are learning; and create posters.

I taught my first course at UFV in 1988 following a contract at UFV related to job market and education opportunities. Over the following decade, my position and teaching load evolved from part-time to full-time. Early on, I developed Economic and Social Geography courses while, at the same time, teaching all the second year human geography courses. 

In addition to the lectures listed below, I coordinated and co-led travel studies to Hawaii, India, Kenya (adjunct at TWU) and Tanzania. I have also supervised interns on three continents and placed students in practicum positions.  In Africa, I have placed students in over five countries.  Over the last two years, I have had fifty students complete coursework and internships in Tanzania.

"This internship has broadened my outlook by giving me invaluable planning experiences in an international setting. Not only has it enhanced my understanding of East Africa, but it has opened by eyes to the world of development, opportunity, and reality that lies in this vast continent." Athena Von Hausen, Summer 2013


Teaching Interests

Innovative Teaching: I have worked to make my teaching practical and applied. For this reason, I developed both Field Study and Studio courses. These courses are certainly my most popular and appreciated courses offered. Such courses provide students with an opportunity to put theoretical ideas and concepts into practice one day per week.

Course Development: Involving global topics in course material has been a key focus of my teaching. Over the past five years, I have developed new courses and course curriculum that pertain to global learning. More recently, I have offered a number of opportunities for students to complete internships and coursework simultaneously. Through such opportunities, students are provided with opportunities to intern in Canada or Africa. Those students that travel to Africa, study alongside African University partners. Such experiences help students to build their resumes and pinpoint their career interests. In these travel studies, students have performed well and have provided positive feedback. Other endeavors include a project to provide travel study experiences for working professionals and accredited planners in Africa.

Core Courses

  • GEOG 140: Human Geography
  • GEOG 233: Geography of Tanzania/India
  • GEOG 240: World Regional Geography
  • GEOG 241: Social Geography
  • GEOG 340: Poverty and Development
  • GEOG 341: World Cities (retiring)
  • GEOG 360: Introduction to Regional and Community Planning
  • GEOG 396/3988: International and Local Internship
  • GEOG 433: Regional Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • GEOG 460: Practicum in Planning
  • GEOG 452: Field Methods
  • GEOG 470: India and Africa


Research Interests

My current research and project interest focus on child and youth friendly communities, HIV/AIDS Orphans, and Vulnerable Children care in Sub-Saharan Africa. I have continued to work on projects related to child friendly community planning and have initiated and participated in several sustainable community planning projects related to child friendly rural development in Kenya and, most currently, Tanzania. 

Additionally, I have been exploring alternatives methods to teaching beyond the typical classroom instruction and online forum. This research has led to the development of mobile classes for tablets and Smartphone technology. It is the goal of this forum of learning is to create an entrepreneurial and sustainable development applied certification program that is interactive and dynamic (in essence a virtual global classroom), using state of the art digital media.

I have continued my research and work related to affordable housing throughout Canadian and African communities, including, but not limited to,  the following: 

  • Peachland United Church Seniors Housing Project (Peachland, BC, 2012)
  • Slum Upgrading and Community Housing Projects (Dar es Salaam, TZ, 2011-2012)
  • Affordable Housing and Collaboration; (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp., BC, 2011)
  • District of Peachland Affordable Housing Study (Peachland, BC, 2011)
  • Child and Youth Friendly Affordable Housing Study (Abbotsford, BC, 2010)
  • Seniors Affordable Housing Study (Abbotsford, BC,  2010)
  • Aged-Friendly Community Evaluation Study (Township of Langley, BC, 2010)
  • Harmony Flex Housing – City of Abbotsford (Abbotsford, BC, 2009-2010)

For my complete curriculum vitae, click here.�

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