Dr. Slaymaker is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of British Columbia.  His research interests focus on sustainability of mountain environments, alpine hydrology and geomorphology, lacustrine sedimentation and the human impact on geomorphic and hydrological processes.

Since retirement in 2004, he has continued to do research on environmental change in cold environments, both alpine and arctic and has written/edited three books and 20 peer-reviewed articles.

With graduate students from the University of Vienna

With graduate students from the University of Vienna

He has also been a Visiting Professor at the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna, Austria, teaching numerous courses in physical geography and geomorphology in Vienna and leading three regional field courses for their Master’s students.

Prior to retirement, Dr. Slaymaker was also a Senior Fellow of St. John’s College, a residential international graduate student college on the UBC campus, and co-editor of The Canadian Geographer, published by Blackwell, and of Catena, an international interdisciplinary journal of geomorphology, hydrology and soil science published by Elsevier.

Dr. Slaymaker does not supervise students any longer but enjoys interaction with graduate students and is a member of research supervisory committees.


  • Ph.D. Geography, Cambridge University (1968)
  • A.M. Geology, Harvard University (1963)
  • B.A. Geography (Honours), King’s College, Cambridge University (1961)

 Awards and distinctions

  • Member of the Order of Canada (2015)
  • Fellow of the British Society for Geomorphology (2013)
  • Honorary Recipient of the UBC Dean of Arts Award (2012)
  • Doctor of Science honoris causa University of Wales (2007)
  • Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC (2005-2006)
  • Honorary Lifetime Fellow, Japanese Geomorphological Union (2005)
  • David Linton Award, British Society for Geomorphology (2003)
  • Graduate Student Prize in my name: The Olav Slaymaker Prize of the Canadian Geomorphological Research Group
  • Graduate Student Scholarship in my name: The Olav Slaymaker Fellowship in Environment, Liu Institute for Global Studies, UBC
  • Award for Service to the Profession, Canadian Association of Geographers
  • Certificate of Merit, Japanese Geomorphological Union
  • Member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Killam Senior Research Fellowship
  • Visiting Erskine Fellowship
  • Frank Knox Fellowship
  • Fulbright Scholarship

Academic and Professional Appointments

2001–2004 South-North Chair, University of British Columbia (UBC)
2001–2003 Academic Director, Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues, UBC
2000–2003 Director, Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues, UBC
1991–1995 Associate Vice-President (research), UBC
1991– Professional Geoscientist, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
1981–2004 Professor of Geography, UBC
1968–1972 Lecturer in Geography, University College of Wales Aberystwyth
1963 Research Scientist, Water Resources Division, U.S.G.S.
1962–1963 Teaching Fellow, Geology, Harvard

Dr. Slaymaker has also served as a member of the Editorial Board for the following journals:

2002– Editor, Canadian Geographer (Physical Geography)
2001– Geografiska Annaler, Series A: Sweden
2000– Brazilian Journal of Geomorphology: Brazil
1996– Co-editor, Catena: The Netherlands
1987– Pirineos: Spain
1979– Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie: Germany

International Association of Geomorphologists

In addition to serving on numerous committees at UBC, Slaymaker has been and continues to be active in many professional organizations including:

  • British Geomorphological Research Group (1964–  )
  • Canadian Association of Geographers (1968–  ); (Vice-President,1990–1991; President, 1991–1992)
  • Canadian Geophysical Union (1992–  )
  • Canadian Geoscience Council (1979–1995); Executive Committee (1993–1995)
  • International Association of Geomorphologists (Treasurer, 1989–1993; Senior V. Pres., 1993–1997; President, 1997–2001; Past President 2001-2005)
  • International Development Research Centre, Governor (1994–2002)
  • International Geographical Union (1964–  ); Commission Secretary, (1976–1980; Commission Chair, 1980–1984; Co-opted Executive Member, 1996–2000)
  • Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues (2000–2003)
  • Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Fellow (1993–  )
  • Social Science Federation of Canada, Board Member (1992–1999)
  • Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education, Chair (1996–1999)