Associate Professor

Research Supervision Interests

I am interested in supervising research students in the following areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Environmental Education
  • Theory and Method


I have a PhD in Sociology. My research expertise is in sustainability and the related areas of social movements and capacity building.

Questions that inspire my research are:

  • How can we understand human action across individual, collective and institutional scales?
  • What strategies, such as green jobs, foster interactions among neighbourhood organizations, non-profits, and government bodies and thereby promote sustainable communities?
How can catalytic interventions, such as mega-events, be planned to offer “creative solution-making” for existing social problems?
How can pedagogy make common cause with progressive social movements by incorporating action theory?

My research can be categorized into the following broad topics:

  • Sustainability education
  • Sport mega-events
  • Green economy

I employ diverse strategies and tools to study each of these areas, such as indicator-based measurements, multi-stakeholder engagement, cultural models, cross-case analysis, and simulation technology. My research and educational interests are interdisciplinary, participatory, and sensitive to local problems.

Please visit to learn more about my work.


Bowling Green State University, 1997, PhD (Sociology)
University of Western Ontario, 1989, MA (Kinesiology)
University of Western Ontario, 1987, BA (Kinesiology)

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

VanWynsberghe R. (in press). Green jobs for the disadvantaged in British Columbia: The perspectives of non-governmental organisations and social entrepreneurs. Local Environment.

VanWynsberghe R. (in press). Host leveraging of sport mega-events: A case study of 2010 using the Olympic Games impact data. Leisure Studies.

VanWynsberghe R., & Herman A. (in press). Transformative education, pragmatist theory, and the features of educative environments designed for social change. International Journal of Lifelong Education.

VanWynsberghe R., & Moore J. (in press). Enabling sustainability: Five key features of the learning city classroom. Environment, Development and Sustainability.

VanWynsberghe, R. (2014). Towards a pragmatist-inspired redesign of education. Antistasis, 4(2).

VanWynsberghe, R. (2014). The Olympic Games Impact (OGI) study for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games: Strategies for evaluating sport mega-events’ contribution to sustainability. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics. doi:10.1080/19406940.2013.852124

VanWynsberghe, R., Surborg, B., & Wyly, E. (2013). When the games come to town: Neoliberalism, Mega‐Events and social inclusion in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(6), 2074-2093. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2012.01105.x, Reprinted in pp. 419-438 of B. Flyvbjerg (Ed.). Megaproject Planning and Management: Essential Readings. Edward Alger Publishing.

VanWynsberghe, R., Derom, I., & Maurer, E. (2012). Social leveraging the 2010 Olympic Games: “Sustainability” in a City of Vancouver initiative. International Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure & Events, 4(2), 185-205. doi:10.1080/19407963.2012.662618

VanWynsberghe, R., & Moore, J. (2008). Envisioning the classroom as a social movement organization. Policy Futures in Education, 6(3), 298-311. doi:10.2304/pfie.2008.6.3.298

Khan, S., & VanWynsberghe, R. (2008). Cultivating the under-mined: Cross-case analysis as knowledge mobilization. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(1), Article 34.

VanWynsberghe, R., & Khan, S. (2007). Redefining case study. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 6(2), 89-94. (2014). Reprinted in G. Thomas (Ed.) Case study methods in education. Sage Publications and M. Tight (Eds.) Case studies. Sage Publications.

VanWynsberghe, R., Carmichael J., & Khan, S. (2007). Conceptualizing sustainability: Simulating concrete possibilities in an imperfect world. Local Environment, 12(3), 279-294. doi:10.1080/13549830601183362

VanWynsberghe, R., & Andruske, C. (2007). Research in the Service of co-Learning: Sustainability and community engagement. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(1), 349-376.

VanWynsberghe, R. (2005). A firm footing on a soapy floor: A modest proposal for integrating sessionals into departments of sociology. Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, January-February, 1-5.

VanWynsberghe, R., Moore, J., Tansey, J., & Carmichael, J. (2003). Towards community engagement: Six steps to expert learning for future scenario development. Futures, 35(3), 203-219.doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(02)00054-X

VanWynsberghe, R. (2001). The ‘unfinished story:’ Narratively analyzing collective action frames in social movements. Qualitative Inquiry, 7(6), 733-744. doi:10.1177/107780040100700606

VanWynsberghe, R., & Cassivi, M. (2000). Critical thinking in the introductory sociology classroom: Some teaching tips. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 4(3), 124-130.

VanWynsberghe, R. (2000). Sustainability in proximity to industry: The case of critical events in Walpole Island. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 24(1), 99-128.

VanWynsberghe, R., & Matthew, R. (1999). Leisure as the basis for community: Cohousing, sustainability and diversity. The Journal of Urban Labour and Leisure Studies, 1(1), 7-16.


VanWynsberghe, R. (2002). AlterNatives: Sustainability, environmental justice, and collective identity on Walpole Island. Boston, MA: Allyn Bacon Press.


VanWynsberghe R., & Pentifallo, C. (2014). Sport, social development and peace (Research in the Sociology of Sport, Volume 8) (pp. 245-275). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

VanWynsberghe R., & Pentifallo, C. (2014). Insights and investigations of the social legacies in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games: The Olympic Games Impact (OGI) Study. In K. Young & C. Okada (Eds.), Sport, social development and peace (Research in the Sociology of Sport, Volume 8) (pp. 245-275). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

VanWynsberghe R., & Pentifallo, C. (2014). “Leaving Las Megas” or can sustainability ever be social?: Vancouver 2010 in Post-Political Perspective. In J. Grix (Ed.), Leveraging legacies from sports mega-events (pp. 73-84). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

VanWynsberghe, R., Edwards, S., & Jacobs, D. (2012). Duty to consult: Native environmental justice and Walpole Island. In Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Eds.), Hidden in plain sight: Contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canadian identity and culture (Volume II) (pp. 135-150). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

VanWynsberghe, R., Derom, I., & Maurer, E. (2010). Leveraging of the 2010 Olympic Games: “Sustainability” in a City of Vancouver initiative. In R. K. Barney, J. Forsyth & M. K. Heine (Eds.), Rethinking matters Olympic: Investigations into the socio-cultural study of the modern Olympic movement (pp. 209-223). London, ON: International Centre for Olympic Studies.

VanWynsberghe, R. (2001). Critical thinking in the introductory sociology classroom: Some teaching tips. In S. Hagedorn (Ed.), Sound instruction: Ready to use classroom practice (pp. 214-219). Chattenooga, TN: Rapid Intellect.

VanWynsberghe, R. (2001). Organizing a community response to environmental injustice: The case of Walpole Island’s heritage centre. In R. K. Schutt & S. Hartwell (Eds.), Research in social problems and public policy (Volume 9) (pp. 221-243). New York: JAI Press.

VanWynsberghe, R., & Ritchie, I. C. (1998). (Ir)Relevant rings: The symbolic consumption of the Olympic logo in postmodern media culture. In G. Rail (Ed.), Sport and postmodern times (pp. 367-384). New York: State University of New York Press.

VanWynsberghe, R. (1998). Culture, ideology and social movements. In L. Pertusati & P. McGuire (Eds.), Second dimension: A sociology reader (pp. 231-245). New York: Kendall-Hunt.

VanWynsberghe, R., & Ritchie, I. C. (1994). Hyperreality reigns: Advertising and the Olympic logo. In K. V. Meier (Ed.), Critical reflections on Olympic ideology (pp. 147-165). London, ON: International Centre for Olympic Studies.

Students Supervised

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Elizabeth Maurer, Human Kinetics (2010)
Mariana Gatzeva, Human Kinetics (2009)
Janet Moore, Institute of Health Promotion Research (2006)

PhD Students

Inge Derom, Human Kinetics (current)
Caitlin Pentifallo, Human Kinetics (current)
Nicolien van Luijk, Human Kinetics (current)
Marissa Munoz, Educational Studies (2010)

MA Students

Spring Gillard, Educational Studies (current)
Stephanie Lim, Educational Studies (current)
Amber Perreca, Educational Studies (current)
Timothy Straka, Educational Studies (current)
Elizabeth Brin, Educational Studies (2009-2012)
Amanda De Lisio, Human Kinetics (2008-2010)
Brett Dolter, Environment & Management (2003-2006)
Harmony Folz, Urban Planning (2000-2004)
Jodi Newnham, Urban Planning (2001-2004)

MSc Students

Solveig Madsen, Environment & Management (2006-2007)
Julie Clark, Environment & Management (2005-2006)

MEd Students

Jeske Grave, Educational Studies (2012-2013)
Catherine Mallet, Educational Studies (2012-2013)
Stella Chow, Educational Studies (2010-2011)
David Proctor, Educational Studies (2008-2011)
Stephen Goobie, Educational Studies (2008-2009)

Courses Taught

EDST 601B — Doctoral Seminar: Education, Knowledge and Teaching
EDST 588 — Environmental Education
EDST 570 — Sociology of Education
EDST 520 — Perspective on Adult Education Practice
EDST 516 — Adult Education and Community
EDST 451 — Issues and Frameworks in Adult Education
EDST 314 — Social Issues in Education
HKIN 574 — Seminar in Health Promotion through Physical Activity