I’ve had a life-long interest in teaching, learning and leadership development based in student/participant personal experience and community engagement. In 2002 I founded SFU’s Semester in Dialogue (www.sfu.ca/dialogue/semester), a signature undergraduate program that addresses what I believe is the principal challenge for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility while encouraging their passion and commitment to discover who they want to be in the world. In addition, I have advised and participated in a number of leadership programs that incorporate the same ideals into program design and delivery.

The curriculum we’ve devised for students and participants in high school and university courses as well as non-academic leadership programs is characterized by a number of key elements. We explore pressing public issues through interdisciplinary approaches, engage in active, discussion-based learning rather than lectures, develop understanding through dialogues with networks of intriguing, experienced and accomplished thought leaders, provide intensive mentoring, conduct student-driven projects with real-world outcomes and focus on improving critical thinking and communication skills.

I’m available for:


Experience your Education: Riveting, intellectually challenging; and emotionally rich. Classrooms and other learning environments should be like that, but usually they are not. “Experience your Education” focuses on how dialogue, experiential learning, and community engagement can intersect in a powerful blend through which students make a meaningful difference in their communities. Drawing from decades of experience, this talk will probe how dialogue coupled with experiential learning and community engagement can produce positive social, political, economic, civic and personal outcomes. It’s a unique blend that is transformative for students while having major impact on community issues. As one student put it: “this is what I imagined the university experience would be like.”

Interactive Workshops

 Honeycomb Project: The objectives of the Honeycomb Project are to inspire faculty learning and innovation related to interdisciplinary, community based & experiential learning, create more engaging curriculum that integrates the concepts of community, experience, sustainability, reflection and action, introduce and reinforce these concepts throughout students’ educational experiences, empower students with the tools they can take into future leadership roles in their own communities, and engage with communities at various levels – campus, city, region, state/province, national and international.

 Honeycomb is among nature’s most collaborative enterprises, constructed by thousands of bees that each secrete simple flakes of wax and together form them into a highly complicated and robust structure. It is the venue upon which bees exchange information, communicating their experiences inside and outside the hive, creating awareness of their own community and the external environment.

Honeycomb embodies the ideas of collaboration, experience and learning that characterize the project.

A Honeycomb workshop uses half-day to multi-day retreat formats, and seeks to include a diverse mix of participants. Faculty members share teaching experiences and develop a new or existing course for which they would like to incorporate interdisciplinary, experiential and/or community-engaged curriculum.


Town and Gown: University meets CommunityPowerful outcomes can emerge when universities partner seamlessly with government, non-profit, business, and community groups to explore and work together on important civic, social, political, cultural, environmental, economic, artistic and other issues. Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue represents a successful example that has forged effective links between students, faculty, community leaders and organizations by using dialogue as a synergizing element linking experiential learning and community engagement.

Leadership Development

Similar principles that drive my strategies for undergraduate learning have proven useful in leadership programs designed to motivate and increase skill levels for emerging leaders. I have contributed skill-based workshops, program design, participant mentoring, project advising, crisis management and facilitation of feedback sessions for a number of academic and non-academic leadership initiatives, including Action Canada, Banff Science Communication, and the LEAD project at Memorial University in Newfoundland, among many others.


Available for one-on-one or small group coaching and mentoring sessions, tailored to your needs. Potential topics include how to work effectively, balancing work/life challenges, integrating your professional and personal lives, becoming who you want to be in the world and transitioning into more satisfying work.

Examples/Awards (Educational Consulting/Leadership Development)

  • Semester in Dialogue: Founded and directed SFU’s signature teaching undergraduate teaching program, built on the interwoven concepts of experiential education, community engagement and dialogue, www.sfu.ca/semesterindialogue
  • Action Canada: Founding mentor in the national Canadian fellowship program for emerging leaders. Designed and facilitated skills development sessions, advised in program structure and content, mentored Fellows, http://www.actioncanada.ca/en/
  • B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education: Led session on student-centered learning for government, staff, and 60 presidents/students from B.C. post-secondary institutions
  • British Columbia Institute of TechnologyFacilitated two-day Summit on Research
  • Memorial University (Newfoundland), Havergal College (Toronto), Arizona State University (Tempe), Humber College (Toronto), Langara College (Vancouver), Durham College (Ontario), UBC Faculty of Medicine: “Experience your Education;” Seminars, workshops and public lectures on dialogue and education, one-day events to week-long
  • The Harris Centre (Newfoundland): “Town Meets Gown: University Meets Community,” workshop
  • Academic of the Year, Confederation of University Faculty Associations (B.C.) 2001
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada (elected 2003)
  • President’s 40th Anniversary Award, Simon Fraser University 2006
  • Honorable Mention, MacJannet Prize, SFU Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue, 2012, http://talloiresnetwork.tufts.edu/about-the-macjannet-prize/
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, for excellence in higher education, 2012
  • Champion for a Healthy Community Award, Simon Fraser University 2013 (for the Semester in Dialogue)
  • Named room at Simon Fraser University (The Mark L. Winston Collaboration Room), 2014

Testimonials (Educational Consulting/Leadership Development)

As a relatively new teacher I appreciated the chance to learn strategies and approaches used by a wide range of faculty from various disciplines . . . and to get valuable feedback on current courses and teaching strategies. The format of individual, focusedsmall group, and largegroupfeedback was ideal

 The retreat was an incredibly unique experience for me – one of the first opportunities in over 30 years of teaching to meet and openly discuss and exchange stories, ideas and experiences among colleagues who represented a wide spectrum of disciplines and teaching practices.

I came away refreshed, reenergized and grateful for the opportunity to feel part of a community that was caring, highly engaged and was truly interested in engaging students in community outreach and experiential learning

 I reevaluated my thinking on depth vs. breadth for upper level courses. I also am planning to use more stories and experiences from my own research in course lectures and discussions

 The retreat provided the opportunity for academics who never interact in the normal course of university life to share ideas and perspectives. I met more people outside of the Faculty of Science during this retreat than I had during my previous decade

I wish we had more initiatives like this

Provided strong, quiet steady leadership training. You knew he would be honest

 He is really grounded and helps you examine your life in a new light. He had great advice

 Mark is amazingly insightful and skilled at bringing out skills in people

Mark’s personal style really helped me slow down, stop all the chatter in my head, and really think, feel experience