Eugene Kowch

Dr. Eugene Kowch

Pronouns: he/him


Associate Professor

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Leadership

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: 403.220.5636


Office: EDT940

For media enquiries, contact

Clayton MacGillivray
Content and Media Specialist

Twitter: @UCalgaryEduc

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Research partners

Education Institutions, lead teams and organizations developing more adaptable, effective, cohesive teams and programs.



Educational Background

PhD Education Administration, Honors/Organization & Policy Theory, University of Saskatchewan, 2003

MA Curriculum Studies/Education Technology, University of Saskatchewan,

BEd Honors English Language Arts & Vocational Education, University of Saskatchewan, 1995


Dr. Eugene Kowch is an Associate Professor in the Leadership, Policy & Governance specialization at the Werklund School of Education. He is the higher education leadership program development team and as coordinator of that program for a decade, his students learn from research to build up leaders who lead systemic change in complex, more adaptable learning institutions and organizations.  With a PhD in Higher Education Administration, Dr. Kowch works to improve education systems through cutting edge leadership, innovation and research to help people working together is my his goal. By taking a complex ecosystem perspective on leadership, policy and governance is the goal. As one of few transdisciplinary international scholar/leaders integrating learning environment design with education organization and next-generation leadership/admin theory, his teaching, writing, and service builds leadership capacity and capability by integrating technology-enhanced learning environment (learning science) design thinking with complex adaptive learning organization thinking to support next-generation leaders and policymakers facing constant, unpredictable change in thriving education ecosystems. 

His numerous leadership roles in professional associations, industry, K-12 and university education systems, and research teams around the world focus on Asia, SE Asia, North and Central America, Africa, and Europe. Prior to joining the University of Calgary, his professional practice in the energy sector and education sectors began as a petrophysicist and reservoir engineer at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas (Nexen/CNOOC: China National Offshore Oil) Corporation. While pursuing a B.Com degree, he was invited to join Unocal (Chevron) Canada’s head offices to lead international, mega-project exploration, development, and corporate development (M&A) globally. Seeking to help lift the public sector with this experience, he attained a B.Ed. (Great Distinction), MA (Curriculum Studies) and Ph.D. (Education Administration) degrees at the University of Saskatchewan while working as a K 12 teacher, principal (Head), and Deputy Superintendent of Schools. Joining the university in 2002, as a professor in the Werklund School of Education Dr. Kowch has graduated over a dozen doctoral student supervisees with scores of master's degree student researchers focused on education innovation, systems thinking and innovation leadership research for more adaptable education ecosystems. He pioneered the development of online education doctoral programs as Coordinator, Post Secondary Ed D and Masters Programs, now teaching both on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate (MA, MEd, EdD & Ph.D.) advanced courses in; education organization change and design, leadership development, transdisciplinary learning, innovation leadership, leadership capacity building, organization adaptability, and research methods. He has served as a Graduate Program Director and as Chair of the Leadership, Policy & Governance unit, and as Chair of the University of Calgary research committees such as the SSHRC Engage Partnership, SUPPORT, and SSHRC Faculty Seed Grant Committees, as well as the General Faculty Council Student Appeals Committee. Dr. Kowch has edited a recent major reference work (Book) on Systems Thinking and Change (Springer Nature) and chaired several large international conference planning teams while producing over 150 publications, workshops, and 19 invited keynote addresses offered in over 14 countries to millions interested in leading innovation and artificial intelligence in education. Most recently, he leads research to help education leaders, teachers, universities, and communities to learn and lead the coming energy transition with solar and geothermal innovation. In 2022-23 he offered several keynotes to higher education systems in Thailand, India, the USA, Canada Japan and China on leading the changing, adaptable research university of the future (with AI). 

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Kowch has been elected by members to lead major international professional associations spanning much of the globe over the last 2 decades, serving scholarly and practitioner members practicing in universities, colleges and school systems in over 140 countries. His interest is in linking diverse professional cultures by advancing education leadership and innovation research. Dr. Kowch is among a few in the world who integrate education leadership, policy & governance scholarship with educational technology/teaching and learning design scholarship using chaos and complexity theory within the field of education. 

He has been President of the American Education Research Association (AERA) Chaos and Complexity SIG (Washington, DC) and a Past President and CEO of the Association of Education Communications and Technology (AECT) (Bloomington, IL) as well as a President of the AECT Systems Thinking and Change Division. His awards include national awards for research and publication on systems thinking and innovation leadership. Both are premier professional societies charged with leading education research and communications technologies involving hundreds of thousands of professors and practicing professional educators and leaders in education systems around the world. His major achievements in this service have been a large expansion in membership services and international professional (Association) affiliate networks such as ThaiAECT and the Japan Association of Education Technology.  Dr. Kowch has formed strong global networks between university scholars with practitioners through the development of new publications, journals, books, research association alliances, and think tanks linking European, Canadian, China, Asia, and SE Asian education systems (universities, school districts, governments, NATO, etc.). 

Dr. Kowch serves on many international journal Boards and international Conference Planning Committees as a Co-Chair and colleague/leader.


Areas of Research

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Kowch has served in many research granting committees at the U of C. As a Chair of the SUPPORT Major Projects review team, he helped develop formative review processes such as test-your-concept events where researchers gain from reviews that support existing and future research application success. Similarly, he serves on the VP Research Catalyst team after Chairing the URGC SSHRC Committee for a decade, helping scholars find new paths while leveraging new university research organization supports.  

Dr. Kowch's research helps leaders, organizations, and education systems by rethinking agency, change leadership and organization structures to change the way we live and work together. He uses a blend of network, complexity, chaos and systems thinking to develop collaborative mixed methods research sensitive to the importance of people dynamically connected via technology in an advancing artificial intelligence-assisted world. For example, his newest collaboration in the Faculty of Engineering involves helping transitional energy R&D to succeed by including social, policy and communities as learners, leaders and followers in a collaborative energy transition inclusive of solar and geothermal innovation.  Leading and learning in today’s institutions is different. Though we (e)learn and work together in a vastly more interconnected world via technologies and globalization with an emerging generation quite differently today, leaders and educators struggle too much to build resonant relationships and deep learning in the context of rapid, constant institutional change. With his graduate students and research networks, Dr. Kowch researches better ways to lead, learn and perform together in the knowledge economy. His students connect from around the world as organization change leaders/innovators in governments, education systems, industry and NGOs along three research tracks: (1) examining emergence - how people (really) learn and connect across institutions to organize interests and ideas in disaggregated, unsteady states; (2) examining post-structures – focusing on the patterns, networks, policies and technologies engaging learning and work and (3) theorizing, collaborating and designing with a new kind of institutional leader. Leadership and learning in our world occur more and more from new, adaptable, technology-enabled organizations in (far) less formal performance and learning architectures. Next Generation leaders demand no less.

  • Leadership Development:  [University, College, School, NGO, Government & Corporate]
    • Improving network and team capacities and capabilities for systemic change in AI and innovation contexts (i.e: energy transitions learning, PD)
    • Improving strategic planning, policy analysis & policy implementation for systemic change
  • Theory Development
    • Integrating Chaos and Complexity research for educational change, learning science/education technology and policy leaders
    • Networked Organization / Leader Capacity / Complex Change Leadership
    • Ethical leadership in artificial intelligence-assisted systems/organizations 

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
EDER 600 LEC 03 03 Research Methodology Education 2021
EDER 61925 LEC 01 01 Spec Top in Educ Leadership 2020
EDER 61925 LEC 04 04 Spec Top in Educ Leadership 2020
EDER 61927 LEC 02 02 Spec Top in Educ Leadership 2021
EDUC 520 SEC 02 S02 Interdisciplinary Learning 2020


Leading Design Based Undergraduate Learning in Universities: Instructor and Student Perceptions and Values on Exemplars with and for Assessment of Learning

Our research team is studying the perceptions and value of examples (exemplars) used in online and face-to-face education. We will provide leadership in course design, program design, and student self-regulation in terms of self-assessment for both instructors and students via a research report, published papers, and a workshop, as well as offering faculties across the U of C campus with guidance in learning environment design for assessment and learner engagement (online and face to face). Co-PI with Dr. Kim Koh, funded by the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning Grant (3 years).



Leading Energy and Community Engagement through Innovation: New Pathways for University - Community Innovation Ecosystems

Charting New Pathways for Energy Innovation Design and Development: Engaging University Partners, Schools, Urban Communities, Urban Developers Learning Together in Thriving Ecosystems for a Better Earth. NSRC Alliance Grant (in progress) with PI: Drs Aggrey and Shor / other teams Schulich School of Engineering. Partners: Community Contractors, Government, IT groups, Regulators, Media, Developers and more. 




  • Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Educational Communications and Technology, Thailand National Award (ThaiAECT). First Foreigner Recipient.. 2022
  • Lifetime Membership Award, Association of Education Communications and Technology (AECT). 2019
  • Outstanding Service Award: Division of Systemic Change , Association of Education Communications and Technology (AECT). 2014
  • Outstanding Change Journal Article of the Year Award, Association of Education Communications and Technology (AECT). 2013
  • Nomination for Education Student Union Teacher of the Year Award, 2010
  • Student Union Teaching Excellence Award Nomination (ESA), 2008
  • Graduate Studies Supervisor Excellence Award Nomination 2007, 2020, University of Calgary Graduate Students Association. 2007
  • Nominee: University of Calgary Graduate Supervision Award, Werklund School of Education. 2021


More Information

Check out a lot more information in my Facebook social media here: 

Gereluk, D., & Kowch. E. (2012):  The Impact and Capacity of Alberta Charter Schools in Changing Contexts 16 Years On. Research Report. 

A comprehensive research report on one of the few public charter school systems - at the cusp of system expansion.