Ocean Kneeland, Acting Program Chair

BA, University of Victoria (Child and Youth Care); MEd, University of British Columbia (Early Childhood Education)

  • Nanaimo Campus, Building 180, Room 530
  • Phone: 250-740-6635 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email: ocean.kneeland@viu.ca

Ocean completed her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria and her Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at the University of British Columbia. Over the past twenty-five years, Ocean has worked in a variety of roles within early learning, school-based, and community support programs, including: early childhood educator, child care consultant, education assistant, home and community support worker, administrator of a large campus-based centre, and executive director for a young parent program. Her research interests include nature-based play and learning, social media as a communication tool, indigenous and multicultural ways of knowing, and school-home relationships. She is fluent in three languages (English, French and Spanish), and enjoys finding opportunities for cross-cultural learning. Ocean has been an Instructor since 2011, and is delighted to be working as Acting Chair for both Early Childhood Education and Care as well as Education Assistant Community Support programs at VIU. She is also a parent of three amazing children (ages 9 to 18), all of whom contribute to her ongoing interest and passion for building inclusive communities for living and learning.

Leif Rasmussen, ProfessorLeif Rasmussen

BSc, University of Calgary (Psychology); MSc. University of Calgary (Educational & Rehabilitation Psychology)

  • Nanaimo Campus, Building 180, Room 511
  • Phone: 250-740-6264 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email. Leif.Rasmussen@viu.ca

Leif has been a practitioner in the field of disability on Vancouver Island for the past 20 years. Leif has been involved in residential care, respite care projects, supporting individuals with challenging behaviours and consulting families.  His interests include: supports services for persons with disabilities; quality of life; understanding and supporting behavior in children and adults with disabilities; as well research methods and analysis. Leif holds an Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Calgary, as well as a Masters of Science degree in Educational Psychology: Rehabilitation Psychology. He is currently working to complete his PhD. in Special Education at the University of Victoria. 

Alison Taplay, Program Coordinator, Professor,

MA, Royal Roads University (Leadership)

  • Powell River Campus, Building 610, Room 126
  • Phone: 604-485-8030 or 1-888-920-2221, Local 8030
  • Email. Alison.Taplay@VIU.ca

In addition to instructing in the Education Assistant and Community Support Certificate program (EACS), Alison provides Coordination for the Human Service Programs offered at the Powell River campus including the Disability Studies Diploma, a second year opportunity that builds on EACS. She brings nearly 30 years of experience in the community living sector in both BC and Ontario to her teaching practice as well as expertise in K-12 classroom settings. As a passionate community developer and early innovator, she worked in the areas of customized employment and personal networks in Ontario in the 1980’s laying the groundwork for some of today’s best practices. Alison contributions as a leader to the development of community based services include group homes and day support services that enabled Ontario and BC to close institutions. She then developed some of the first individualized services in BC.  She has extensive experience facilitating personal networks within the context of building community capacity. Her master’s degree is in Leadership. Alison is passionate about social justice and community development, and sees innovation and engagement as essential tools for creating positive change. Alison is dedicated to a student-centered teaching practice.


Holly Bradley, Field Education Coordinator

BSW, McGill University; MSW, University of British Columbia; RSW

Holly Bradley joined VIU in 2009 as the Practicum Coordinator for the Social Services, and Education Assistant and Community Support Programs. She also teaches Counseling Skills Courses through Professional Development and Training at VIU. Holly obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of British Columbia with a minor in Women’s Studies, and her Bachelor of Social Work from McGill University in Montreal. Her Master’s work examined women’s healing from sexual abuse through yoga, and her undergraduate work focused on the use of somatic and self-awareness to heal patterns of disordered eating and body image. Holly maintains a private counseling practice specializing in trauma recovery, and also provides presentation and facilitation services to the corporate sector. In her 25 years of social service work, Holly has worked in a range of practice areas, including anti-violence against women, mental health and addictions, hospital psychiatry, youth protection, home support, and in the disability sector providing employment and life skills training.  


Cyndi Jarvis, Program Assistant [on leave]

  • Nanaimo Campus, Building 180, Room 542
  • Phone: 250-740-6251 | Fax 250-740-6466
  • Email. cyndi.jarvis@viu.ca

Cyndi joined VIU in 2016 assisting with various programs within the Health and Human Services Faculty.  She brings over 30 years of administrative experience in Human Resources and with non-profit Organizations.  Cyndi enjoys working with students, faculty and staff as well as gardening, reading and traveling in her spare time.

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