Course Syllabus:

ES 481A: Community-based Research in the Clayoquot Sound Region
May 2005

Instructor: Dr. Kelly Bannister
Phone: 472-5016 (office)
Office: University House 4

Dates: May 9 - June 2, 2005 as follows:

  • May 9-17 field
  • May 25-June 2 campus (M-W-Th 1:00 – 4:00 pm in HHB/CIT 116)

Introductory note:

This unique course is designed as a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. It has been developed under the guidance of Dr. Rod Dobell (Professor Emeritus, UVic Public Administration) and Mr. Stan Boychuk (Executive Director, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust) and with the assistance of Dr. Barb Beasley (Ucluelet). The course is a collaborative effort, made possible by several individuals and organisations from the university and the communities of Clayoquot and Northern Barkley Sound, as an activity of the Clayoquot Alliance for Research, Education and Training (CLARET). The course changes each time it is offered, adapting to opportunities and interests in the community. Previous years’ course materials can be viewed on the CLARET website at

Course objectives:

What role does academic research play in resolving, or assisting communities to resolve, environmental and social problems? What contextual understandings are necessary for researchers to address community issues? What specific challenges are involved in collaborative research between universities and communities? The objective of this course is to explore these questions, as we develop an understanding of the issues underlying both theory and practice of "community-based research" in the Clayoquot Sound region of western Vancouver Island. The focus will be on social, cultural and environmental activities in the Clayoquot Sound region, with emphasis on problems arising in the process of community transformation from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based society.

Throughout the course, students will be asked to consider the following questions as they reflect on their field experiences in light of the course material covered:

  1. What role (if any) does research offer in addressing the local needs and issues presented?
  2. What kind of research and type of research relationship seems most suitable?
  3. What key political, ethical, legal or other issues need specific consideration in the research design and implementation?
  4. What barriers to the research (if any) exist at the university? In the community?
  5. What are the potential impacts (positive and negative) of the research?

Course design and philosophy:

Students will spend the first part of the course (i.e., field component) as an “immersion” in the communities and the second part in classes at the university. The field component provides a unique first-hand learning opportunity to become familiar with the people and place of Clayoquot Sound, which will ground discussion of course theory and issues in concrete examples. The field experience will also be used as the basis for developing course projects that are both intellectually interesting and useful to the communities, thereby applying theoretical understandings of community-based research to real life contexts. As much as possible, the design, planning and implementation of the course are based on collaborative and participatory philosophies and values, which are integral to community-based research. The community partners and co-instructors have been essential in the planning and they are considered the real ‘experts’ on community-based research in their region.

True to the nature of community-based research, this course is intensive in terms of time and energy demands on students and instructors. It also requires flexibility and adaptability to meet unforeseen circumstances that might arise in the field. As a result, students will gain insight to what is involved in the practice of CBR as the “scholarship of engagement”.


Dr. Kelly Bannister is responsible for the overall course instruction and evaluation. Her broad goal is to provide students with a stimulating and challenging learning opportunity that includes a balance of intellectual rigor, critical thinking and practical application. Both independent and collective learning are encouraged. Students will get out of this course what they put in, and each person will likely take away something different from his/her experience. Kelly will take on the overarching role of coordinator/facilitator for the course, provide students with guidance and resources to meet the general course objectives, and assist students in developing course projects that meet course requirements and are also reflective of their own personal interests.

There are several other people who will contribute their expertise to specific aspects of the course. Dr. Barb Beasley (Ucluelet) is the community liaison and co-instructor for the field component of the course. She has organised the field activities and will be involved in the development and evaluation of students’ course projects. Other community experts who have agreed to take part in the field component include: Mr. Stan Boychuk (Clayoquot Biosphere Trust), Ms. Jen Pukonen (Raincoast Interpretive Centre), Dr. Derek Shaw (Tofino), Mr. Warren Warttig (Interfor), Mr. Peter Buckland (Boat Basin Foundation), Mr. Stephen Charleson (Hesquiaht First Nation), Ms. Karen Charleson (Hesquiaht First Nation), Mr. Leif Johansen (Ahousaht Cultural Centre Society), Dr. Caron Olive (Ucluelet), and Mr. George Patterson (Tofino Botanical Gardens).

Class structure:

The course begins with a mandatory 9-day field trip to Clayoquot Sound from May 9-17. After the field trip, classes will resume May 25 – June 2 on campus M-W-Th 1:00 – 4:00 pm.
On-campus classes will be a mixture of lectures, class discussion, project work and student presentations.

Field fee:

A fee of $400 per student is required to off-set direct field costs. A receipt from the University of Victoria will be issued at the first class. The field fee covers some of the costs related to group travel (car, boat), accommodation, and community instruction. Please note that the course is generously subsidized by the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and the actual cost per student is approximately $1000. Note also that the field fee is non-refundable once the course begins, and is only refundable prior to the course (e.g., in the event of a drop) if another student is found as a replacement. This is because advance payment for travel and accommodation arrangements was required and the fee per student was calculated on the maximum enrollment.

Field component:

The field activities will include visiting a variety of sites and community contexts where research takes place, hearing presentations by First Nations and non-First Nations community members, and having group discussions. Some active participation in community research projects is planned. The timing of activities may vary from early morning to late evening and generally days will be full, but some time will be set aside for resting, relaxing and reflecting. Students are encouraged to monitor their own energy and health levels and let the instructor know if they are uncomfortable with any activities.

In general, the field component will be on the rustic side and require traveling/sleeping in close quarters so the ability to pack efficiently is appreciated. Accommodation will include the hostel in Tofino (typical communal cooking/washing facilities) and research cabins in Boat Basin (communal cooking facilities using a generator but no electricity in cabins; outhouses and wash basins).

Travel to Clayoquot Sound will be by rental vehicles (minivans). At least three students are needed to serve as drivers (must be age 21 or older with valid BC drivers license). Travel within the region will also involve water taxi (enclosed aluminum boat). Some activities may require using a small boat for short periods of time.

A comprehensive pack list will be generated at a pre-trip planning meeting by all students who are able to attend (scheduled for May 4 th 1-2 pm at University House 4). In general, students will each need a sleeping bag, flashlight or headlamp, towel, warm hat/mitts, layered hiking clothes (including long pants) and rain gear – that is, be prepared for variations from warm-cold and dry-wet weather. Quick dry materials are recommended (e.g., polarfleece, gortex, nylon). Footwear should include waterproof boots (e.g., gum boots) if possible as well as sturdy runners or light hiking shoes. Mosquitoes aren’t likely to be a problem but no-see-ums may be. Each student will need a book to use as a field journal.

Food and personal effects are not covered by the field fee. Detailed food planning will be done at the pre-trip planning meeting. Students will organise their own food for the trip (collectively, individually or maybe a combination – to be decided by the students) taking into account food sensitivities and preferences. Most food supplies can be bought at reasonable prices in Tofino so it is recommended that perishables be purchased once we arrive to save space and ensure edibility! Cooking equipment is provided at the accommodations.


A waiver must be signed by each student prior to the field trip, to certify that the student is aware of and agrees to the general conditions of the trip (e.g., physical demands and constraints) and the expectations of the University of Victoria for behaviour during university-sponsored trips.


There is no textbook for this course. There are two general types of readings for the course: (i) on the Clayoquot Sound region and (ii) on community-based research and related issues. There will be both required and optional readings on both of these aspects, any of which may be useful resources for course projects. Except for the websites listed, there will be a hard copy of each of the required readings available for short term loan; a copy will be on reserve at the library and a copy will be available using an informal sign out system in ES (available by May 5 th). Several of the readings are available in electronic form and can be provided to students by email on request.

The complete reading list (required and optional) is provided as a separate document. Note that some adjustments to the reading list may be made during the course if it is in the students’ best interest.

Evaluation for Grade:

Students will be graded according to the ES Grading Policy (see separate document provided).

Participation in activities and contributions to class discussions are expected through out the course. Some in-class exercises and assignments will be completed during the field component and/or during classes held on-campus (these may be unannounced). Students are required to keep a field journal and give an informal presentation to the class related to their field experience. A short essay relating the field experience to the objectives of the course will be assigned. A course project will account for a major portion of the grade. Topics and potential projects will be discussed during the field trip and designed in collaboration with community partners and the instructor. Course projects will have both practical and theoretical/analytical components. They may take the form of a written paper of approximately 3000 words (e.g., literature review, research paper, critique), or an alternative form agreed by student, instructor and community collaborator. All projects will be returned to the community partners. More specific information on each of these components of evaluation will be provided early in the course. The general breakdown is below.

10% Participation (activities, discussions, exercises)
10% Field Journal (due May 25)
10% Oral presentation (on May 25)
10% Reflective essay (on May 30)
60% Course project (due June 20)

Field activities:

The field component will take place from May 9-17. We will meet in the morning of May 9 th at UVic for a couple hours of introduction and orientation, then reassemble in the early afternoon to leave for Tofino. We will return to Victoria in the early afternoon of May 17 th so that you will have time to cast your vote in the provincial election if you wish.

The tentative field itinerary is as follows (with allowance for changes due to weather or unforeseen circumstances). Note that course projects will be discussed during the trip and approved .

May 9 10 am – noon (approximately) David Strong Building C108

- Completion of Reading Set 1 prior to class
- In-class Exercise 1
- General introductions and course overview
- Syllabus; waivers; field fee receipts
- General introduction to Clayoquot Sound and the Clayoquot Alliance for Research, Education and Training (CLARET)
- Standard of Conduct for Research in the Barkley and Clayoquot Sound Communities

Approx 1 pm - leave for Tofino (stay in Tofino hostel)

May 10 - Tofino - introduction to the region; meet community partners (Barb Beasley, Stan Boychuk, Derek Shaw); Raincoast Interpretive Centre (Jen Pukonen); Eik Street Tree

May 11-14 - travel by water taxi to Stewardson Inlet (stay at Boat Basin Field Study Centre); discussion enroute with Warren Warttig (Interfor) on restoration and industrial logged cut blocks based on Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel recommendations; presentation by Peter Buckland (Boat Basin Foundation)

- wetlands survey work (volunteering for community research project)
- trip to Hooksum; meet with Hesquiaht First Nation reps (Stephen and Karen Charleson) on cultural and environmental activities and issues
- excursions to old growth forests and clear cuts, bog, and Cougar Annie's garden

May 15 - leave Stewardson Inlet by water taxi

- side trip to Ahousaht; meet with Ahousaht First Nations reps; environmental activities with youth; possible hike on Wildside Trail
- return to Tofino (stay in Tofino hostel)

May 16 - Tofino mudflats survey work with Caron Olive (volunteering for community research project)

- Tofino Botanical Gardens with George Patterson

May 17 Approx 1 pm – return to Victoria (note: May 17 is provincial election)

Classes resume on campus May 25 th M-W-Th from 1-4 (in HHB/CIT 116).
Note the following schedule may change slightly to accommodate guest speakers.

May 23 (mon) no class (holiday)

May 25 (wed) 1-4 pm or later [Please note: this class might go overtime due to presentations]

- Field journal submissions due
- Student oral presentations on field experience

May 26 (thu) 1-4 pm

- Completion of Reading Set 2 prior to class
- Lecture: What is CBR and who does it
Guest faculty member (tentative): Dr. Rod Dobell (lessons from CLARET)
- Initial discussion of course projects

May 30 (mon) 1-4 pm

- Return field journals to students
- Completion of Reading Set 3 prior to class
- Guests! Barb Beasley and Daniel Arbour
- Lecture: CBR ideals and academic realities
Class exercise: Identification of issues in CBR
- Discussion of course projects
- Reflective essay assignment:

    - ID topic before leaving class
    - 2 hour maximum - take home
    - due June 3 (fri)
    - must be submitted by email

June 1 (wed) 1-4 pm

- Completion of Reading Set 4 prior to class
- Guest students (tentative) Justine Townsend/Glenys Verhulst (ENGO - First Nation collaborations)
- Lecture: The present and future role of CBR at UVic
Class discussion of course projects
- Course evaluation
- Wrap-up

June 2 (thu) 1-3 pm (informal drop in) or another time by prior arrangement

- Instructor available for student assistance (drop by University House 4)

June 7 (tue) 1-3 pm (informal drop in) or another time by prior arrangement

- Instructor available for student assistance (drop by University House 4)

Additional assistance from the instructor can be arranged as needed (please send an email to

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