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Global Development Studies


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Cherie Enns

Dr. Cherie Enns

Associate Professor

Planning, Geography, and Environmental Studies

Abbotsford campus, A407b

Phone: 604-504-7441 ext. 4716

email Cherie


Watch Cherie Enns' 2018 Teaching Excellence Award video



Cherie Enns is a registered urban planner and experienced educator with extensive experience engaging internationally. She has initiated and led international projects related to child rights, food systems, sustainable development goals(SDGs), urban planning policy, and youth engagement.  Dr. Enns has experience managing programs, mobilizing resources, and working on projects in several countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia, and India. She has more recently led several humanitarian projects within the Eastern Africa Community.  She holds an MA in Community and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in International Policy and Program Management at Ardhi Regional University in Tanzania.

Cherie also leads a Universities Canada Internship program, has worked on housing projects, and assisted with the coordination of many international and community events. She has worked on local projects related to homelessness and affordable houses as well as child and youth policy.

She has taught courses at the University of the Fraser Valley since 1988, primarily in geography and global development studies.  Courses most often taught include:

World of Development (Geog 109/GDS 100),  Social Geography(Geog 241), Community Urban Planning(Geog 360/460), Planning Studio courses(Geog/GD 464, 466), Climate change and International Policy(Geog 364), and GD/Geog internships.

Cherie is also involved in several applied projects, as highlighted in the following links. 



  • PhD, International Policy and Program Management, IHSS, Ardhi University, Tanzania, 2019 (Began program in Darmstadt Tech University, Germany).
  • MA, University of British Columbia, 1986
  • BA, Trinity Western University, 1983


  • Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP)
  • Registered Professional Planner (RPP)

Teaching Philosophy

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.

I have coordinate and co-led travel studies in Hawaii, India, Kenya (adjunct at TWU) and Tanzania. Over the last 10 years I have managed University Canada internship programs and placed students in multiple practicum positions locally and globally.  In Africa, I have placed students in over five countries.  Over the last few years, I have had over 75 students complete coursework and internships in Tanzania. Many have gone onto graduate school and into planning and development related employment. 

"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, 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.

Core Courses

  • GDS  100  / Geog 109    A World of Development
  • GEOG 241   Social Geography
  • GEOG 340/GDS 340   Geography of Poverty and Development
  • GEOG 360   Introduction to Regional and Community Planning
  • GEOG 364   International Planning and Climate Change
  • GEOG 396/GDS 310/SOC 396   Canada Internship
  • GEOG 398/GDS 311/SOC 398   International Internship
  • GEOG 464   Community Planning and Development 

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 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. I also am involved in planning policy related to affordable housing, climate change and child rights. 

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.

Community Engagement:


Aid Effectiveness

  • “Advocating for Aid Effectiveness” Presentation at Engineers without Borders Conference, 2010.
  • "Intergenerational Design and Intervention leading toward Sustainability." Presentation at Child in the City Conference – Zangreb, Croatia - September 26-28, 2012.

Child Rights and Child Friendly Cities

  • “Child Friendly Version of the Guide for CSOs on How to Engage with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)” Presentation at African Union, 23rd Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 9-16, 2014.
  • “Child and Youth Friendly Design Guidelines for Informal Settlement Upgrading” Poster Presentation at Child in the City Conference – Zangreb, Croatia – September 26-28, 2012.
  • “Children’s Homes and Sustainable Design.” Presentation at Villages Of Hope-Africa Leadership Conference, Zimbabwe - August 21-23, 2012
  • “Child Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of OVC’s in Western Kenya: Considering the Voice of the Child”, Presentation of findings, IDRC, February 2011.
  • “Child Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of OVC’s in Western Kenya: Considering the Voice of the Child”, Poster Presentation of findings, Child in the City Conference, Florence Italy, October 2010.
  • “Child in the City: A Canadian Perspective.” Presentation with Lisa Wolff, Child in the City Conference, Florence Italy, October 2010.

Gender Equality

  • “How to Involve and Empower Adolescent Girls” Presentation at CUSO-VSO East Africa Gender and Partnership Capacity Building Workshop. February 2011.
  • “Because I am a Girl – Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape” -Presentation at 3rd Annual Technical Roundtable on Plan International’s 2010 report cohosted by Plan Canada and CIDA in Ottawa/Gatineau on October, 2010.

Age Friendly Community Planning

  • “We’re All Getting Older: Innovative Approaches for Planning an Age-Friendly Future” –Presented with Lisa Grant and Kate Lambert at the PIBC 2015 Annual Conference - Beyond Borders in Seattle, Washington on April 16, 2015.

Youth and Development

  • “The Impact of ICT on Education and Sustainable Development” Presentation at The Annual CASID Conference at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario on May 30, 2014.
  • “Engaging with the World: Highlights from the Students for Development Program” Presentation at Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Symposium, May 31, 2011.


  • “Social Enterprise and Sustainable Development - E-Learning Professional Training Program” (2015) publication for ICICTE 2015 conference in Kos, Greece.
  • “Eminus: eLearning” Presentation at eLearning Africa 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 22, 2015.
  • Enns, C. and City of Abbotsford (2012) “Harmony Flex Housing Project”, Planning West Vancouver: Planning Institute of BC, Volume 54 No 2 Spring, pp 5-7.
  • “Harmony Flex Housing – Key Elements of Success.”Housing Now: Local Solutions Through Local Collaboration. Simon Fraser University (W. Vancouver) - September 22, 2011.
  • “Engaging with the World: Highlights from the Students for Development Program.” Presentation at Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Symposium, May 31, 2011.
  • “Best Practices: Harmony Project, Van Maren Construction & City of Abbotsford” – CMHC Affordable Housing Seminars – Cowichan, Terrace, Kelowna – January-April 2011, with Eric Van Maren, Partner, Van Maren Construction Management Ltd.
  • “Affordable Housing Opportunity Overview” Presentation at BC Non-Profit Housing Association Conference, November 24, 2010.
  • “Harmony Flex-Housing Project and City of Abbotsford – Housing Action Plan”- Presentation at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Municipal Toolkit Workshop, October, 2010
  • “Child in the City: A Canadian Perspective.” Presentation with Lisa Wolff, Child in the City Conference, Florence, Italy, October, 2010.
  • “Child and the City: Planning and Implementation (Toolkit).” Presentation with Michelle Hoogland, Cities Fit for Children Summit (for Provincial Municipal Leaders), Langley, BC, October 2009.
  • “Models of Child and Youth Friendly City Policies.” Presentation, City of Surrey, BC, February 2009.
  •  “Child-Friendly Community Design: Responding to the Needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Western Kenya”, IDRC Ecopolis Graduate Research and Design Award, 2008.
  • Enns, C, et al. “International Child-Friendly Conference: A Summary and Steps Forward”, Shastri Seed Grant, 2008.
  • Enns, C. et al., Muhanda Community Report, Kenya, East Africa, 2007.

Community Engagement

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