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 courses at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1988, primarily in social geography, community development and planning, internships and the various regional geography courses. Currently, I’m also expanding an innovative mobile learning project with UN Habitat youth in the 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. Recently I have been working with Save the Children and UNICEF on a project for the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit centred on the child’s voice regarding humanitarian aid including workshops in South Sudan, Uganda and Somalia 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, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. In the past, I have worked with a number of Canadian communities, including the City of Abbotsford, Township of Langley, 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.
I am currently completing my PhD through 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
As education increasingly moves from the classroom into the “real” learning realm, teaching needs to change to reflect what this generation of students desire. I support this shift and believe 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. I value engaging students and finding innovative ways of providing tangible, applied outputs and real life experience within the community. I emphasize global and community participation as a way to supplement traditional pedagogical methods.
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 as an instructor is to not teach by rote or test for memory retention, rather it is to introduce students to community members who have similar goals and interests and give my students the fundamental skills that they require. I enjoy leading them on a journey of knowledge through grounded theory and hands-on experiential learning. I strive to encourage students in developing 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 lead independent lives and move in the direction that suits their desired employment objectives and life goals.
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 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 also highlight the importance of discussion in the classroom and see it as an effective tool for learning. 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 and achieve remarkable results, benefiting the entire group.
In addition to the lectures listed below, I coordinate and co-lead travel studies in Hawaii, India, Kenya (adjunct at TWU) and Tanzania. I have also placed students in multiple practicum positions. In Africa, I have placed students in over five countries. Over the last few years, I have had over 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
Innovative Teaching: I have worked to make my teaching practical and applied, often through Field Study and Studio courses. These are certainly my most popular and appreciated courses offered as they provide students with an opportunity to put theoretical ideas and concepts into practice.
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 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.
GEOG 464 Community Planning and Development
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 continue to work on projects related to child friendly community planning including initiating and participating in several sustainable community planning projects related to child friendly development in Kenya and, most currently, Tanzania.
Additionally, I have been exploring alternative 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. This has led to the creation of 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:
Child Rights and Child Friendly Cities
Age Friendly Community Planning
Youth and Development