University of Calgary

Timothy Pyrch

  • Professor Emeritus of Social Work
  • Community Development & Practice
  • Multicultural/Diversity Issues
  • Participatory Action Research

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Degrees: EdD Adult Education (University of British Columbia), Masters of Arts in History (University of Alberta), BA, History and Political Science (University of Alberta)

Interests: Community development, participatory action research, critical thinking, diversity, transdisciplinary inquiry.

Timothy Pyrch has been a practicing popular educator in the radical tradition in the adult education movement for 35 years. He is devoted to democratizing knowledge-making processes through participatory action research (PAR). He was instrumental in organizing the World Congress on PAR held at the U of C in 1989. This was the third international congress on PAR and the first hosted by a university anywhere. His most recent contribution to the literature is published in the international journal Action Research in 2007 titled ‘PAR and the Culture of Fear: Resistance, community, hope and courage’.

Pyrch is a historian by conviction and education. He focuses on historical precedents where peoples everywhere have endeavoured to improve their lot through collective learning and direct social action. Historians are skilled story tellers as well as disciplined inquirers. Pyrch is particularly keen on encouraging everyone he connects with to share their stories in a safe and trusting place. This led him to co-author a chapter with Mexican scholar María Teresa Castillo in the 2001 Handbook of Action Research titled ‘The Sights and Sounds of Indigenous Knowledge’.

For many years, Pyrch functioned as a community development programmer in university continuing education. In Canada, he worked as a community adult educator in a technical college and in three Aboriginal educational and political organizations.

His broad interests and experiences have a global flavour as well. He was a Visiting Professor at the Departamento de Ecologia Humana, Centro de Investigatión y de Estudios Avanzados, Mérida, México in 2002-3, and at the Asean Institute of Health Development, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand in 1993. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, United Kingdom, in 1998.

Pyrch’s research interests are transdisciplinary in the sense of a dance between the rational/intellectual and the spiritual/metaphorical. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on critical thinking, popular education, community capacity building, issues in diversity and PAR.

Research Projects:

  • Pyrch, T. (PI). International Peace Research. (University of Calgary International Grants Committee & University of Calgary Conference Grant; 2005-2005).
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