This is an image of Dr. Rhonda Koster

Rhonda Koster

Acting Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities

Email: 
rkoster@lakeheadu.ca
Phone Number: 
+1 (807) 343-8440
Office Location: 
SN 2002A
Office Hours: 
Mon-Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Academic Qualifications: 
  • PhD Geography (Saskatchewan), 2005.
  • MA Geography (Regina), 1997.
  • BA Hons Geography (Regina), 1992.
Previous Teaching/Work: 

My philosophy of teaching has evolved based on my view that the role of a teacher is to nurture the formation of life-long learning. As such, I believe it is my responsibility to provide a safe and respectful environment in which students can be challenged to learn communication and critical thinking skills through a variety of assignments and discussion/presentation occasions while providing a commensurate chance to learn about the subject material. In my senior courses, students are provided with a variety of opportunities to integrate theory with practice by undertaking 'real life' projects with community partners found within the region.

Courses Taught
Research Interests: 

A bit of history... My research experience has centered on tourism, initially through a critical examination of the development of ecotourism as an emerging tourism form in the late 1980s. My Masters research concentrated on various tourism models and their applicability in understanding the evolution of Montego Bay, Jamaica as a resort region. For my PhD research, I broadened my focus to include rural community economic development and the use of tourism as a strategy for economic diversification. My dissertation examined the use and spread of mural-based tourism to aid in determining the process and outcome of such strategies for rural communities.

Currently... I have continued my work in rural community-based tourism. Through my research, I am committed to working with and for communities. In a general sense, I am interested in the contribution of tourism towards rural sustainability and quality of life. A more specific research interest is the role of and capacity for community-based tourism in First Nations communities in Canada. As a result of an ongoing, multi-year project with the Red Rock Indian Band, this research collaboration was recognized with an inaugural Aboriginal Partnership Research Award in 2010, from Lakehead University.

I am currently involved in a number of projects, which although varied in purpose, contribute to this broad objective.

Regionalism in Rural Tourism
  • This is a 3 year SSHRC Standard Research Grant funded project. The purpose is to critically address how the concept of 'region' is integrated with the ideas of sustainability in tourism development, through an examination of 15 communities along Lake Superior's north shore.
Aging-in-place in Rural Remote Communities
  • This is a 2 year SHHRC RDI project, on which I am a co-investigator that examines the process and challenges faced by a remote rural community in supporting seniors as they age. My specific interest centres on an examination of 'retirement' as a strategy for community economic development.
Building Capacity for Rural Aboriginal Tourism
  • Since 2006, I have been working in partnership with the Red Rock Indian Band and Dr. Lemelin to examine, understand and develop capacity for rural tourism through the use of place-based attributes, partnerships, collaboration, packaging and strategic niche marketing.
  • The project has been funded through Parks Canada.
  • We have given a number of presentations related to this research and have developed a number of reports for community use.