Cameron Owens

Cameron Owens
Teaching Professor
Historical geographies; environmental assessment and sustainability; experiential learning

On leave

Office: DTB B210

PhD (Simon Fraser)

Area of expertise

Historical geographies; environmental assessment and sustainability; experiential learning

Dr. Cam Owens (PhD Simon Fraser University) is a Teaching Professor in the Geography department at UVic. His role is a tenure track position dedicated to teaching excellence. Currently he does not supervise graduate students but is potentially available to serve on a committee.


Given his appointment, Dr. Owens’ energies are more directed towards teaching. However, he has developed a robust research program exploring pedagogy and assessment of off-campus travel study programs, culminating in co-editing a collected volume of essays entitled Out There Learning: Critical Reflections on Off-Campus Study Programs. Owens’ pedagogical research interests also focus on how community-engaged learning can promote mutual benefits for students and community partners and how best to teach and learn about the wildly popular but elusive concept of sustainability. See student video blog from our sustainability field school program.

His substantive research interest surrounds critically assessing sustainable community development and environmental management efforts with a focus on the over-consumptive Global North. Past research has explored barriers to municipal waste reduction efforts, has outlined effective process in community-led sustainability indicators programs, and has critically examined the notion of “urban livability”. His dissertation Contesting Sustainability in the Valley of the Grizzly Spirit: Models of Justice in environmental conflict and assessment critically interrogates the political context of environmental impact assessment grounded in a case study of the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort proposed for the Jumbo Valley or Qat’muk in the territories of the Ktunaxa First Nation. Currently, he continues to explore the political context of ostensibly technical, scientific environmental management endeavours and to identify the complex barriers in the way of and promising pathways towards more inclusive, equitable, resilient and sustainable community development. Drawing on a range of disciplines, Dr. Owens has developed a critically pragmatic approach to understanding human / environmental relationships that appreciates both the “hatchet” of critical interrogation and the “seed” of creative, restorative action (Robbins 2011).


Dr. Owens is an enthusiastic teacher, who endeavours to make his classroom and field study offerings both highly engaging and highly relevant. Regular courses include:

  • GEOG 209 Introduction to Environmental Management,
  • GEOG 301 Environmental Impact Assessment,
  • GEOG 306 Geography of Canada,
  • GEOG 339 Disaster Management & Community Resilience (as part of the Clayoquot Sound Field School),
  • GEOG 391 Food & the City, and
  • GEOG 406 Sustainable Cities.

He also leads the Sustainability Field School, a travel study program with itineraries in Europe or Cascadia each spring. See student video blog.


Owens, C, & Rutherford, M. 2019. “A Resort Municipality Without Residents? The Case of Jumbo Glacier Resort in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, Canada”. In U. Pröbstl-Haider, H. Richins, & S. Türk (Eds.) Winter Tourism: Trends & Challenges. Köln, Germany: Deutsche Sportochschule

Curran, D., Owens, C., Thorson, H. & Vibert, E. (2019). Out There Learning: Critical Reflections on Off-Campus Study Programs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Owens, C., Soutedehnia, M. and Erickson-McGee, P. (2015) ‘Teaching and learning sustainability in the field: Student reflections on the Cascadia Sustainability Field School’ Journal of Geography in Higher Education (accepted for publication)

Holden, M., Scerri, A. and Owens, C. (2013) ‘More publics, more problems: The productive interface between the pragmatic sociology of critique and Deweyan pragmatism’ Contemporary Pragmatism 10(2) 1-24

Holden, M., and Owens, C. (2009) ‘Lessons from a community-based process in regional sustainability indicator selection’ In J. Sirgy, R. Phillips, and D. Rahtz (Eds.) Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases IV 59-80 Blacksburg, VA: International Society for Quality-of-Life

Owens, C.  (2009) ‘Challenges in evaluating livability in Vancouver, Canada’ Revisiting Urban Planning: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009 Nairobi, Kenya: UN Human Settlements Programme

Owens, C. (2005) ‘An integral approach to sustainable consumption and waste reduction’ World Futures: Journal of General Evolution 61(1&2) 96-109