John Devlin

Head shot of John Devlin
College Professor Emeritus
Rural Planning and Development, PhD Rural Studies

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  • BA (Dalhousie University - Philosophy)
  • MA (University of Calgary - Philosophy)
  • MA (Carleton University - Public Administration)
  • ABD (Carleton University - Political Science)
  • PhD (University of Guelph - Rural Studies)


John Devlin is a College Associate Professor Emeritus in the Rural Planning Program.  He began his career in the involvement in development work in 1979 with two years as a CUSO volunteer in Mozambique. He served as Assistant Director of the Centre for Development Projects at Dalhousie University from 1984 to 1986. From 1997 to 2000 he was Assistant Director of the Environmental Capacity Enhancement Project, a $4.5 million CIDA-funded project delivered by the Rural Planning and Development Program in 13 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. For three years (2003 to 2006) he was Assistant Professor in the International Development Studies Program of Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2006 he was awarded the Saint Mary's University Student Association Award for Excellence in Teaching. He returned to SEDRD in 2006 as a faculty member in Rural Planning and Development and has recently retired in 2020.

His primary areas of academic interest include the role of the state in development; environmental assessment and public participation; good governance; agricultural and environmental policy. He is currently involved in several funded research projects examining collaborative regional economic development initiatives, local food systems, community-based water monitoring, and maple syrup production. He also has an ongoing research program on public participation in environmental impact assessment. He has co-edited one book, Ecological Agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa, and numerous articles and conference presentations on environment and development issues. He has conducted research or provided consulting services in Honduras, Bolivia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Egypt, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ukraine.

He is Co-chair of the Public Participation Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment; a member of the Board of Directors of the Organic Council of Ontario; and a regular teaching faculty fo the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies Summer Institute.