Professor Francis Owusu

Francis Y. Owusu is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University, USA. He is also an affiliated faculty of the African and African American Studies program and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. Before coming to ISU, he was an Assistant Professor of Geography and Political Science at Seattle Pacific University and a Research Analyst at the Environmental Quality Board of Minnesota Planning, St. Paul, Minnesota. Professor Owusu received a B.A. (Hons) in Geography and Archaeology and an MA in Population Studies from the University of Ghana, M.A. in Geography from Carleton University in Canada, and PhD in Geography from the University of Minnesota, USA.

Professor Owusu teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on international development, globalization, urban planning, and planning methods. He has supervised several masters and doctoral students. He has won several teaching awards, including the College of Design’s 2006 Polster Teaching Award and Memorable Teacher Award from the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in 2007.

Professor Owusu’s research focuses on Africa and has explored several topics including urban development and livelihoods issues, public sector reforms and capacity building, urban food systems and sustainable development, and the relationship between neoliberalization, globalization and development policy. Originally from Ghana, he has conducted research on these topics in several African countries and has authored several journal articles, book chapters, book reviews and reports. He is a co-editor of Managing Africa's Natural Resources: Capacities for Development, published by Palgrave. He also edited/co-edited a special issue of GeoJournal: An International Journal of Human Geography and Environmental Sciences (Vol. 62, No.1-2, 2005) and Progress in Development Studies (Vol. 12, No 2&3, 2012). He has received several research awards, including the 2015 Kwadwo Konadu-Agyemang Distinguished Scholar Award in African Geography, the 2013 College of Design Faculty Research Award and Best Economic Geography Dissertation Award for 2001. He has consulted for several international organizations, including the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), the World Bank, and the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF).

Professor Owusu has also held leadership positions in academic and professional organizations, including serving as a student director (1996-99), a member of the board of directors (2002-05) and the chair (2005-08) for the Africa Specialty Group (ASG) of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). He also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Economic Geography Specialty Group of the AAG (2005-08). He is currently the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) representative to Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN).