BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Instructor, History
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
School of Humanities

604.986.1911 ext. 3023
Fir Building, room FR 404


PhD, History, University of Victoria, 2018.

G.Cert., Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Victoria, 2014.

MA, History, University of Guelph, 2009.

BA (Honours), History, University of Guelph, 2007.

"History is the past that exists in the present: it is the social memory that guides us between past, present and future. Without it, we have amnesia, and we cannot see our way clearly."


Derek Murray (PhD, University of Victoria, 2018) is a historian whose research focuses on settler-colonialism in the Ottawa-Huron Tract in late-19th century Ontario (present-day Upper Ottawa Valley). This research examines the ways in which settlers and the colonial state interacted in assessing, re-shaping and adapting to diverse and often unpredictable landscapes, with a specific focus on the growth and development of local communities in Brudenell Township from the 1850s to the early-20th century.

In addition to his work as a historian, Murray has extensive experience in the field of teaching and learning. He was previously a Teaching Assistant Consultant at the University of Victoria (UVic) and Supported Learning Group Leader Trainer at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), and helped to develop peer tutoring programs at UFV and at Capilano University. Murray is a certified Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) facilitator and trainer. He is currently a Learning Experience Designer in the division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (Technology Integrated Learning) at UVic.

I love introducing students to the dynamic nature of historical research. The quote above is from Dr. Eric Sager (my PhD supervisor at UVic) and reflects what many consider to be a surprising aspect of history it changes! History is not the past; it is something we create in the present. This means we need to think critically about the ways we approach the study of the past, not as a collection of facts to be memorized, but as a way of looking at the world. History is in use all around us, sometimes it is used honestly, and other times maliciously. How do we sort these out? Find out by taking a history class!

My research currently consists of two streams. One relates to the history of settler-colonialism in 19th century Canada. I am interested in the processes that worked to dispossess people from their land at the same time as they re-inscribed a new type of ownership and "legitimate" forms of land use. I am also interested in how the past is presented to students. I am currently working on a project to develop a "model" online learning environment. In creating that environment, I am looking at ways to translate Indigenous-inspired teaching and learning methods into the online world.


Murray, Derek. Equitable Claims and Future Considerations: Road Building and Local Governance in Early Ontario, 18501890. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 24, no. 2: 156-188, 2013.

Murray, Derek. The Wilson Family Farm: Exploring Issues of Tradition and Modernity and the Worlds in which We Live. Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph 1, no. 2: 35-41, 2008.


2018: How Can SI Programs Help Leaders Achieve Their Full Potential? Co-presented with Navneet Sidhu. 10th International Conference on Supplemental Instruction, Seattle, WA, May 24-26.

2016: No Longer a Serious Obstacle: Construction and Settlement of the Opeongo Road, 185171. Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. Calgary, AB, May 30-June 1.

2013: Envisioning a Rural Landscape: Settlers, Bureaucrats, and Land in Nineteenth-Century Ontario. Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. Victoria, BC, June 35.

Honourable Mention, 3-Minute Thesis Competition, University of Victoria, 2014.

Department Nominee, Andy Farquharson Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching, University of Victoria, 2013.

Hugh Campbell and Marion Alice Small Scholarship in Scottish Studies, University of Victoria, 2010.