Associate Professor


I am particularly interested in concepts of epistemology and ontology. I consequently enjoy teaching, and learning about research methodologies. My interest in this subject area, and concurrent graduate work on Indigenous education, stem from my childhood and education in South Africa, and a six year teaching tenure in an isolated, fly-in, aboriginal community, where I initiated and implemented an Environmental Education program as a response to the acculturating influences of standardized curricula within the community-school’s classrooms.

Further to this, I actively explore and implement Lave and Wenger’s concept of legitimate peripheral participation, and seek to recognize and support the legitimization of learning that occurs, all the time, in all varying social, cultural, and political contexts. Through my classes and research, I aspire to developing individual and communal capacities that would effectively enable agents within multi-centric contexts to define and create knowledge generated from, and more congruous with, their own experience.


Ph.D. in International Development Studies: Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Thesis Stream Masters of Education (with honours) Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.

Bachelor of Education (with honours), Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

B.A. in Development Studies (Distinction, Dean’s honour roll), University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.


Teaching / Courses

CHYS 4421 Seminar in Child and Youth Research

GCRD 6301 Foundations of Curriculum Studies I

GCRD 6334 Classroom Organization and Programming for Learners with Behavioral Challenges

CHYS 2211 Research Methods in Child and Youth Study

CHYS 1120 Essentials of Child and Youth Care Practice

CHYS 1130 Theoretical Frameworks in Child and Youth Study

CHYS 3320 Youth Care: Theory and Issues

CHYS 3339 Selected Topics in Child and Youth Study

CHYS 4420 Professional Knowledge and Skills for Youth Care

Research Interests

Indigenous Education

Marginalized Youth

Experiential Learning

Community Development


Reddington, S., Theunissen, S., & MeDrano, J.  (2021). Conditions for success: Indigenous youth reflections on their experiences with Canadian education systems. INYI Journal, 11(1), 1-11.  DOI:

Select Presentations

Theunissen, S. (2013). Ubuntugogy: An African Centred Approach to Teaching and Learning. Internationalizing Teaching and Learning in a Global Context. Halifax: Dalhousie University.

Theunissen, S. (2012). The Teachers Must Become the Learners and the Learners Must Become the Teachers. Creative Teaching and learning. Halifax: Dalhousie University.

Theunissen, S. (2008). Active Learning Strategies: Documenting Experience Through Reflective Writing. Association of Atlantic Universities Teaching Showcase. Saint John, New Brunswick: University of New Brunswick.

Theunissen, S. (2008). Reflective Action as an Assessment Strategy. Assessment and Evaluation Conference. Halifax: Dalhousie University.

Theunissen, S. (2006). Implementing Outdoor and Cultural Studies Through a Multi-Disciplinary Approach. Great Moon Gathering. Attawapiskat, James Bay Coast.