Tim O’Connell, PhD

Professor, Chair, Recreation and Leisure Studies

Office: STH 349
905 688 5550 x5014

I am a Full Professor, Chair of the Department and specialize in teaching outdoor recreation, outdoor education, adventure-based learning, and outdoor leadership. In 2017, I was named a 3M National Teaching Fellow. This recognition is considered Canada’s most prestigious award for teaching excellence at the university level. I am a co-founder of Brock BaseCamp, an outdoor orientation program for incoming students. I am the Co-Editor of Research in Outdoor Education, a peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors.

  • Psychological sense of community in organized outdoor pursuits trip groups
  • Impacts of participation in outdoor orientation programs
  • Reflective practice (with a focus on best practices of using reflective journals)
  • Motivations to participate in outdoor activities
  • Sense of place
  • Experiential education and experiential learning
  • Member – Association for Experiential Education
  • Member – Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • Member – Ontario Council of Outdoor Educators
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • Certified Field Leader (Hiking) – Outdoor Council of Canada.

Howard, R. A., O’Connell, T. S., & Lathrop, A. H. (2016). Community development, transitional value and institutional affinity: Outdoor orientation program impacts. Journal of Experiential Education, 39(1), 45-58.

O’Connell, T. S., Dyment, J. E., & Smith, H. (2015). Students’ appropriation, rejection and perceptions of creativity in reflective journals. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 27(1), 1-13.

O’Connell, T. S., & Dyment, J. E. (2014). “I’m just not that comfortable with technology” – Student perceptions and preferences for Web 2.0 technologies in reflective journals. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 40(3), 392-411. doi: 10.1080/0309877X.2014.984594

Dyment, J. E., & O’Connell, T. S. (2014). When the ink runs dry: Implications for theory and practice when educators stop keeping reflective journals. Innovative Higher Education, 39(5), 417-429. doi: 10.1007/s10755-014-9291-6

Dyment, J. E., & O’Connell, T. S. (2013). The impact of playground design on play choices and behaviors of pre-school children. Children’s Geographies, 11(3), 1-18.

Hutson, G., Anderson, L., Breunig, M., O’Connell, T. S., Todd, S., & Young, A. (2012). A qualitative exploration of sense of community through reflective journals during wilderness outdoor education curricula. Research in Outdoor Education, 11, 1-17.

Lathrop, A., O’Connell, T. S., & Howard, R. (2012). The impact of a wilderness orientation program on first year student perceptions of life effectiveness and campus integration. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching (CELT), V, 92-97.

Potter, T. G., Socha, T. L., & O’Connell, T. S. (2012). Outdoor adventure education (OAE) in higher education: Characteristics of successful university degree programmes. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 12(2), 99-119.

Kirk, M. E., & O’Connell, T. S. (2012). Challenges facing field instructors employed in wilderness-based expeditionary programs: A review of the literature. Illuminaire: A Student Journal in Recreation, Parks & Leisure Studies, 10(1), 17-27.

Howard, R.A., Hutson, G., & O’Connell, T. S. (2014, May 21-23). Extending the language of place research: Conceptualizing place allegiance. In Proceedings of the 14th Canadian Congress on Leisure Research, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



O’Connell, T. S., Cuthbertson, B., & Goins, T. J. (Eds.) (2015). Leadership in recreation and leisure services. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
O’Connell, T. S., & Dyment, J. E. (2013). Theory into practice: Unlocking the power and potential of reflective journals. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

  • Brock BaseCamp
  • Introduction to Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Introduction to Outdoor Recreation
  • Outdoor Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Adventure-Based Learning in Recreation
  • Recreation Facilities Management
  • Advanced Outdoor Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Issues in Outdoor Recreation
  • The Great Outdoors: Recreation Behaviour in Natural Environments