Geog467 2018 Kayaking Newcastle

Vancouver IslandUniversity

Faculty News

Faculty News

Don Alexander retired at the end of July 2021, but remains active in the Geography Department as an Adjunct faculty member and continues to publish his work. 

Matthew Bowes and Dr. Rick Rollins, Professor Emeritus, in VIU's Department of Recreation & Tourism completed their Regional Initiatives funded project this fall: Nanaimo Trail Survey 2021: Economic impact of mountain bike tourism; Management considerations and user characteristics.

Over the 2021/2022 academic year, Matt's urban and regional planning and management students are working with the Campbellton Neighborhood Association, in Campbell River, to develop an action plan to help chart the course for this transitional neighbourhood over the next decade.

Matt, VIU Geography's Jeff Lewis, and VIU Political Studies professor Mark Williams contributed a chapter on Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific in Mark's 2021 forthcoming book, The Politics of the Asia-Pacific: An Active Learning Textbook.

In Spring 2021, Matt 's sustainable resource management students worked with VIU's Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI), and the Elders Council for parks in BC with some preliminary planning work on West Ballenas Island, recently acquired Parks Foundation. The work in this class will assist Snawnaw-as Government, Provincial Government, and Federal Government determine what type of future perhaps, Protection/ Parks/Economic Opportunity, etc they may wish for the Ballenas Winchelsea Archipelago in the near future.

Jessica Craig, has been on maternity leave this past year. She returns this summer and will be continuing to offer the ever popular 'Geography Major' at GrandKidsU - an institution-wide program for grandparents and their grandchildren where students participate in faculty facilitated learning workshops in a University setting. She continues to volunteer her geographic talents for the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society. Jessica also plans to further expand the Geography Textbook Trust. Gently used geography textbooks, donated by faculty and students, are lent out to incoming students for the term, and again next term, and so on. The program has been in operation for only a few years now, with a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, but has grown in volume and popularity. 

Hannah Wilson’s past academic year was dedicated to a complete conversion of her lab-based techniques and physical geography courses for blended and online offering formats. A success story to emerge from this was a series of projects in which cartography students crowd-shared their geo-knowledge on a chosen topic through use of OpenStreetMap.

Jeff Lewis continues as a faculty Advisor for ACER, Awareness of Climate Change through Education and Research, funded by NSERC and SSHRC. ACER is a public outreach initiative led by an inter-disciplinary group of students and faculty at Vancouver Island University, which is dedicated to increasing the public's understanding of the science and implications of climate change through presentations, hands-on demonstrations and interactive activities. On top of regular school and community presentations, ACER is currently working on hosting a climate change symposium in the spring of 2022 focused on the economics of climate change. In 2021, Jeff gave a number of climate change presentations to various groups including the Vancouver Island Emergency Preparedness Conference, VIU Elder College, as well as to local community groups and a number of schools in the ParksvilleQualicum (SD69) and Nanaimo-Ladysmith (SD68) School Districts.

Pam Shaw is delighted to report that the Master of Community Planning Program has just started its 7th year with another full cohort. Five classes have graduated and are engaged across the globe in addressing a wide range of planning issues. The program continues to focus on creating applied opportunities for students: even with the shift to entirely online classes for 2020/21, the students still engaged with the City of Nanaimo on the Re-Imagine Nanaimo project and with other partners on a wide range of community based research and applied projects. The Urban and Regional Planning Certificate (an optional certification open to students in the program) has also been popular, and most students are choosing to complete it along with their graduate degree. Working in cooperation with the National Aboriginal Lands Management Association (NALMA), approval was achieved in 2021 for a new Professional Indigenous Lands Management Certificate. The Certificate is a stand-alone accreditation at VIU, or students who complete the Certificate can ladder into the NALMA Level 2 Training. Additionally, students who have NALMA Level 2 plus an undergraduate degree are guaranteed a placement in the Master of Community Planning Program. This Certificate was delayed for one year due to the pandemic, but was successfully offered online in Summer 2021. It is anticipated that the Certificate will proceed with the first course as face to face and the other five courses online in subsequent years. The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) continues to engage undergraduate and graduate students a variety of research projects relating to human/nature interactions in fragile environments. MABRRI is also a partner in the Canadian Mountain Network, a federally-funded Network of Centres of Excellence.