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Athabasca University

Dr. Michael Gismondi

Distance Education and Digging Where you Stand

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, he studied at McMaster and began his adult education and distance education career at Open College Ryerson in downtown Toronto, working on radio and broadcasting off the CN Tower back in the early 1980s. In those days lectures were scripted and broadcast, but tutorials were live for ten minutes at the end of the show where he had to explain sociological concepts and theories on-air. His adult and distance education interests led to Athabasca University in 1987, where he became a sociologist. He has written sociology and environmental studies courses for AU for delivery on CKUA Radio and Access TV, as well as correspondence and online internet courses.

Mike lives in the Town of Athabasca. In the late 1980s he was active in criticizing massive pulp, paper and industrial forestry expansion in the boreal forest, calling for a more measured approach to development that protected the ecosystem and created jobs for northern Albertans. He worked with Friends of the Athabasca Environmental Association (FOTA). That initial public environmental work led him to change his research focus towards environmental sociology. For nine years (1998-2007) he was also a Municipal Councillor for the Town of Athabasca, which influenced his interests in democratic planning and decision-making, greening the municipal sector, heritage conservation and sustainability, and planning sustainable communities.

Twenty years after first coming to Athabasca, Mike finds himself once again in the midst of another storm that has significance for all Canadians, the tars sands controversies in the Fort McMurray downstream along the Athabasca River and the Wabasca-Athabasca tar sands region north of his home town.

Updated October 08 2014 by Student & Academic Services

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