Associate Professor;
Program Coordinator for the Adult Learning and Education Program (ALE)

Individual Research Interests

Adult literacy
Policy studies in adult and higher education
Health professions education
Community service learning
Comparative and international adult and/or higher education
Social movement learning
Emotions in adult learning and education

Research Supervision Interests

Critical policy studies in adult and higher education
Transformative learning theory
Social movement learning
Health Professions Education


“It is our ontological vocation to be more”  Paulo Freire

My interest in adult education was sparked almost twenty years ago while living in Latin America and then through exposure to the ideas of Paulo Freire during my undergraduate degree. It is the transformative potential of adult education that led me to commit my life to the field, first as an educator of adults in community and school settings, and then in teaching and conducting research within the university.

I am particularly interested in the intersection of the macro and micro in adult and higher education education. My research thus far has focused on: policy in adult literacy and lifelong learning;  higher education reform; and the scholarship of teaching and learning within health sciences education. I seek to understand the drivers and characteristics of educational reform and how policy shapes, and is mediated by, practice.

I have learned much through travel, having lived in 7 different countries (Canada, US, Argentina, New Zealand, UK, Malawi and Uganda) and visiting over 50 additional countries. I am a kiwi at heart but an adopted canuck; long live the kiwi and the moose…


University of British Columbia, PhD, Educational Studies
University of Auckland, MA, Adult Education
University of Auckland, BA, Latin American Studies & Spanish

Research Projects

The influence of academic research and researchers on Canadian adult education policy Current
June, 2016May, 2020

SSHRC Insight Development Grant (Principal Investigator)

What makes academic research and researchers successful in influencing government policy? A pilot study Completed
November, 2014October, 2016

UBC Hampton Grant (PI)

The role of adult education and training in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Completed
January, 2015July, 2016

HSS Grant (UBC) (PI)

Environmental Activists, Allyship and Learning in the Standing Rock Protest Current
March, 2019March, 2020

HSS Grant (UBC)–Co-investigator. Pierre Walter (PI)

Service in Tenure and Promotion at UBC: Questions of equity

Equity Enhancement Fund (PI)
Maryam Nabavi, Shauna Butterwick, Gillian Creese, Susan Allen & Mary Bryson

Selected Publications


Walker, J. (2020). Comparing adult education systems: Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung [Published online]

Walker, J., & Oldford, S. (2020). Risk and reflection in the academic workplace. Advances in Developing Human Resources [Published online]

Kluttz, J., Walker, J., & Walter, P. (2020). Unsettling allyship: unlearning and learning towards decolonising solidarity. Studies in the Education of Adults 52(1), 49-66.

Elfert, M., & Walker, J. (2020). The rise and fall of adult literacy: Policy lessons from Canada. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults , 11(1), 109-125.

Walker, J., & Manyamba, V. (2020). Towards an emotion-focused, discomfort-embracing transformative tourism education Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education 26 (1).

Walker, J., & Smythe, S. (2019). The (Un)deserving adult: Examining British Columbia’s adult basic education policy. Studies in the Education of Adults [Published online]

Waldron, S., Walker, J., Kanji, Z., von Bergmann, H. (2019). Dental hygiene clinical instructors’ pedagogical beliefs and described practices about student-centered education. Journal of Dental Education , 83 (9), 1019-1029.

Walker, J. & Sarkodie, G. (2019). Adult education as Corporate Social Responsibility: Performing the good citizen for greater self-regulation. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education , 49(2), 298-317.

Walker, J. (2018). Creating an LNG ready worker: British Columbia’s blueprint for extraction education. Globalisation, Societies, & Education , 16(1), 78-92.

Walker, J., & Walter, P. (2018). Learning about social movements through news media: Deconstructing New York Times and Fox News representations of Standing Rock. International Journal of Lifelong Education , 37 (4), 401-418.

Elfert, M., & Walker, J. (2018). Level 3, bureaucrats, and stigmitisation: Why ‘mainstreaming’ literacy failed in Canada. In M. Schemman (Ed.), International Yearbook of Adult Education , (pp.33-50). Bielefeld, Germany: WBV.

Walker, J. (2017). Shame and transformation in the theory and practice of adult learning and education. Journal of Transformative Education , 15(4), 357-374.

von Bergmann, H., Walker, J., Dalrymple, K., & Shuler, C. (2017). International dental instructors’ pedagogic beliefs and curricular aims in problem-based learning: an exploratory study. Journal of Dental Education , 81(8), 937-947.

Walker, J., & Yoon, E.S. (2017). Becoming an academic: the role of doctoral capital in the field of Education. Higher Education Research & Development., 36 (2), 401-415.

Walker, J., & Palacios, C. (2016). A pedagogy of emotion in teaching about social movement learning. Teaching in Higher Education , 21 (2). 175-190.

Best, L., Walton, J., Walker, J., & von Bergmann, H. (2016). Reaching consensus on essential biomedical science learning objectives in dental curriculum. Journal of Dental Education , 80(4), 422-429.

Walker, J. & von Bergmann, H. (2015). Lessons from a pilot project of Cognitive Task Analysis: The potential role of intermediates in clinical teaching. Journal of Dental Education, 79 (3), 286-294.

Walker, J. (2015). Stratification and vocationalization in Canadian higher education. In B. Taylor & S. Slaughter Higher education, stratification and workforce development. . Springer: New York, NY.

Walker, J. (2015). Exploring the academic capitalist time regime. In B. Cantwell & I. Kauppinen (Eds.). Academic capitalism in the age of globalization. Chapter 4. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD.

Walker, J. & Rubenson, K. (2014). The media construction of an adult literacy agenda in Canada. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12(1), 143-163.

Walker, J. & von Bergmann, H. (2013). Teacher education policy in Canada: Beyond professionalization and deregulation. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(4), 65-92.

Gibb, T. & Walker, J. (2013). Knowledge economy discourses and adult education in Canada. In T. Nesbit et al. Building on critical traditions: Adult education and learning in Canada. (Chapter 24). Toronto, ON. Thompson Educational Publishing.

Gibb, T. & Walker, J. (2011). Educating for a high skills society? The landscape of federal employment, training and lifelong learning policy in Canada. Journal of Education Policy, 26(3), 381-398.

Walker, J. (2009). Time as the fourth dimension in the globalization of higher education. Journal of Higher Education, 80(5), 483-509.

Walker, J. (2009). The ‘needy’ and ‘competent’ citizen: lifelong learning in the OECD. In M. Bron Jr, R. Vieira de Castro & P. Guimarães (Eds.). The state, civil society and the citizen. Exploring relationships in the field of adult education in Europe. Berlin: Peter Lang Verlag

Walker, J. (2009). The inclusion and construction of the worthy citizen through lifelong learning: a focus on the OECD. Journal of Education Policy, 24 (3), 335-351.

Walker, J. (2009). Towards alternative lifelong learning(s): what Freire can still teach us. Rizoma Freireano . Vol 3.

Walker, J. (2009). Critical policy analysis in educational policy making. In R. Desjardins & K. Rubenson (Eds.) Research of vs. research for education policy: In an era of transnational policy-making. Copenhagen: Aarhus University Press.

Walker, J. (2008). Going for gold in 2010: an analysis of British Columbia’s literacy goal. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 27 (4), 463-482

Walker, J. (2008). Conspirators in a neo-liberal agenda? Adult educators in second-chance Private Training Establishments. Journal of Adult & Continuing Education, 14 (2), 55-73.

Walker, J. (2008). Social/corporate accountability: a university’s ‘trek’ towards excellence. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 38(2), 45-71.

Walker, J. (2007). Las dos caras de la universidad pública canadiense: el caso de la Universidad de British Columbia y U21 Global. In S. Llomovate & J. Naidorf (Eds.). Perspectivas críticas desde el siglo XXI sobre la educación en Argentina y en Canadá: Estudios comparados y lecciones de las experiencias. (pp. 195-216) CEAC: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Trans.: The two faces of the Canadian public university: the case of UBC and U21 Global.

Rubenson, K. & Walker, J. (2006). The political economy of adult learning in Canada. In T. Fenwick & T. Nesbit (Eds.) Contexts of adult education: Canadian Perspectives. (pp.173-186). Toronto: Thompson Learning.

Walker, J. (2006). U21 Global: the in/corporation of higher education. Workplace: a Journal for Academic Labor. (Special Issue: Technology, Rights and the Public Interest), March.

Courses Taught

Policy analysis in education: Qualitative and conceptual approaches [EDST 565]
Teaching Adults [ADHE 327]
Institutions of Adult Education [ADHE 328]
Foundations of Adult Learning and Education [EDST 503]
Perspectives on Adult Education: Transformative Learning [EDST 520]
Social Movement Learning [EDST 528]
Comparative and International Adult Education [ADHE 535]
Work and Learning (ALGC program) [EDST 575]


Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education [Book Review Editor]
Canadian Association for Studies in Adult Education (CASAE-ACEEA) [former president]
Association for Studies in Higher Education (ASHE)
Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)
European Society for Research in the Education of Adults (ESREA)
Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES)