Bio (Hilary Leighton)

Bio Horizontal
Hilary Leighton

Hilary Leighton


Assistant Professor, Program Head


Environment and Sustainability


Dr. Hilary Leighton is an assistant professor and program head for the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program, and program head for the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development program in the School of Environment and Sustainability. Formerly the founding director of Continuing Studies, for over a decade, she worked with world-renowned teachers and speakers to create innovative and leading edge offerings where students of all ages and stages could find access to lifelong learning. Her current research focuses on human change for climate change using arts and nature-based methods in and outside of the classroom to facilitate shifts in consciousness. As an eco-pedagogue, Leighton is keen about how we might recover our wildness in terms of whole-person (head, hands, heart, body and soul) teaching and place-responsive education; respect the animate and more-than-human world in its own right; bring nature-based play as an essential medicine for human health and development; and she traces qualitative methods to their more ancient mythopoetic roots.


A lifelong apprentice to nature and psyche, Leighton is an educator and eco-psychotherapist (in private part-time practice) who draws wisdom from eco-psychology, depth psychology, integral systems thinking, mythology, Indigenous and embodied, nature-and arts-based practices, literature, the mytho-poetic and deep play. Leighton reflects the ethical dilemma, suffering and loss of our relationships with wildness and to re-embrace learning as an initiation toward wholeness, maturation and a deeper, more soulful way of belonging to the world. She is a registered clinical counsellor in B.C., a member of the Canadian Network of Environmental Education and Communication, founding director of Continuing Studies, and a founding director of the Child Nature Alliance.


Leighton holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Victoria (2014), a Master of Education in Curriculum and Education from Simon Fraser University (2004), an Integrative Body Psychotherapy Certification, and is a Myers-Briggs Certified Instructor. She is a recipient of the University of Victoria Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship Award (2013).