Katharine McGowan

Katharine McGowan
Associate Professor
Social Innovation

Office: EB 3012
Phone: 403.440.6673
Email: kmcgowan@mtroyal.ca

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katharine-mcgowan-1473b272/

PhD Philosophy, University of Waterloo (2012)
MA Wilfrid Laurier University
BA University of Waterloo


Katharine began her academic career as a traditional Canadian historian - and this eventually led her to be the annoying fact-checker and long-term perspective haver on social innovation at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience. Her clear joy in public speaking and mild likeability led to a position with Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo (SPWB), a community-based project in Fort McMurray that sought to support a culture of social innovation. This directly led to her current position as Assistant Professor of Social Innovation in the Bissett School of Business.
She has not abandoned her historical roots however, as she is currently delivering a first - a history of/and social innovation course, where she has already subjected serious business students to a frivolous discussion of resilience, the Black Death and Industrialization.
In an effort to find a platform for complexity (and redirect her from esoterica), Katharine is deeply involved in Map the System, a systems thinking challenge that allows students to explore wicked problems of their own choosing. This anti-pitch style mixed curricular and co-curricular space helps students discover surprising emergence, connect relationships and outcomes, and embrace the messiness we so often artificially smooth in favour of easier answers. It's fun to be along for this ride.


Teaching Experience
Introduction to Social Innovation
Agents of Social Change
Social Innovation through Historical Case Study


Selection of Current Projects
"Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to Implementing TRC Calls to Action with FHCE Faculty and Leadership" with Andrea Kennedy, PhD & Mohammed El-Hussein, PhD (research ongoing, internally-funded)
""Climate change is a moral challenge": An investigation of the cross-scale agentic efforts to advance a global ethical consensus on climate change" ongoing research with Nino Antadze, PhD (Bucknell University)

Sample Publications and Major Contributions
Selection of Peer Reviewed Articles:
(w. Frances Westley, Nino Antadze, Jaclyn Blacklock, Ola Tjornbo & Erin Alexiuk) "How game changers catalyzed, disrupted and incentivized social innovation: Three historical cases of Nature Conservation, Assimilation and Women's Rights" Ecology & Society 21.4 (December 2016) (second author)

w. Nino Antadze) "Moral Entrepreneurship: Thinking and Acting at the Landscape Level to Foster Sustainability Transitions" Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (November 2016) (second author)

(First Author, with Frances Westley, Evan Fraser, Philip Loring, Kathleen Weathers, Flor Avelino, Rinku Roy Chowdhry, Jan Sedzimir, Michele-Lee Moore) "The Research Journey: Travels across the idiomatic and axiomatic towards a better understanding of complexity" Ecology & Society (2014)
"'A Question of Caste and Colour': The displacement of James Bay Native soldiers' wives during the First World War, Soldiers' Family support and the maintenance of Prewar Canadian Society," Native Studies Review 21.1 (December 2012): 103-124.
"'Until We Receive Just Treatment': The Fight against Conscription in the Naas Agency, British Columbia." BC Studies no. 167 (Autumn 2010): 47-70.
"In the Interest of the Indians: The Department of Indian Affairs, Charles Cooke and the Recruitment of Native Men in Southern Ontario for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1916." Ontario History 102.1 (Spring 2010): 111-126.

(Reviewed, final revisions) 'An Indian even if in Uniform': Indigenous Peoples, the Indian Act and Canada's First World War UBC Press.

(under contract) Co-Editor, The Evolution of Social Innovation: Building Resilience Through Transitions Edward Elgar Ltd. (submitted to publisher March 2017)

Selected Book Chapters:
"At the Root of Change: The History of Social Innovation," in New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research, eds. Alex Nicholls, Julie Simon & Madeleine Gabriel. London: Palgrave McMillian, 2015, 52-68.
"Design Thinking, Wicked Problems and Messy plans" in Projective Ecologies, ed. Chris Reed & Anne-Marie Lister. Harvard School of Design: Harvard University Press, 2013, 290-311.

Community and University Service
Selected Committee Work:
Apaat tsi kani takiiks (2017-2020), Grant from the Suncor Energy Foundation ($600,000.00 over three years)
Indigenization Working Group (Bissett School of Business and the Faculty of Communication) 2016-ongoing
Academic Indigenization Advisory Committee (University-wide) 2016-ongoing