Leif Rasmussen, Chair, Professor
Leif 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. Alison is working to relaunch the Leadership and Disability Studies Diploma, a second year opportunity that builds on the EACS. She brings over 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 practises. Alison contributed as a leader to the development of community based services including the group homes and day supports that enabled Ontario and BC to close institutions. She then developed some of the first individualized services in BC. 

Her master’s degree is in Leadership. She is passionate about social justice and change processes and sees innovation and engagement as essential tools for advancing the well-being of organizations and communities.  She is currently conducting research funded by a Vancouver Island University Engage grant and is scheduled to be the principal investigator for a research project related to a new inclusive employment model called Manufacturing Change: The K-lumet Pilot Project.

Alison came to post-secondary instructing from practice. She was awarded the Provosts Award for Teaching Design and Practice that Uses Technology to Enhance Student Learning in 2014. She believes there is a unique synergy between her previous work and best practices for effective teaching and learning whether face to face, online, or using blended modalities. She sees herself as the curator of an effective and stimulating learning environment that is student centered, inclusive, relational, and process oriented. In this space responsibility for learning is shared, critical thinking is fostered, reflection is valued, and boundaries are eliminated so that new knowledge and ways of being can emerge. She believes that in this space we have the capacity to inspire and be inspired to become not only better at the work we do or hope to do, but better people and better citizens.

Amanda Broadway, Instructor (photo coming soon)

BSc - Vancouver Island University, BEd - Vancouver Island University, MEd - University of British Columbia, BCBA in-training

Amanda has worked in the field of disabilities for the past 15 years; this has included work in group homes, community outreach programs, as well as public and private K-12 schools. Her main roles have been supporting individuals with Autism, FASD, as well as individuals with cognitive and behavioural challenges. Amanda's interests and education have been focused on using Applied Behaviour Analysis for challenging behaviour and designing inclusive programming for individuals with disabilities in the school system. Amanda is currently finishing the requirements for becoming a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.

Susanne Green, Instructor (photo coming soon)

Literacy, safety, prevention, inclusion, community and identity are common themes interwoven in Susanne's work in criminal justice, education, teaching and researching. Susanne is a writing and research consultant holding a MA in Sociology and a PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication. She has over 17 years of writing, research and teaching experience in Canada and the U.S. in diverse fields such as sociology, public administration and English. Susanne works within a collaborative model and have worked on projects in the field of policing, diversity, labour market, education and writing program administration funded ($5000-$300,000) by diverse agencies such as the Directorate of National Intelligence, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Healthy Schools BC and the National Science Foundation.

Michelle Riddle, Instructor (photo coming soon)

Michelle is Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Faculty Member with Vancouver Island University, and Community Adviser with University of Alberta's Neurosciences Division. She has provided more than 25 years of community based rehabilitation services, is a Queens University Graduate, and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She develops client-centered programs that target the roots of function to empower mental, physical, and emotional balance for the clients she serves.

Michelle is the director of Resilient Health, Founder of the Global Alliance for Our Childrens Future (launches spring 2020) and collaborates with leading international scientists on a mission to reverse the rising tide of chronic neurodevelopmental conditions experienced by our children.

Lynda McLeod, Instructor-RN BScN MALT CPCC (photo coming soon)

Lynda has been practicing nursing for over 30 years.  She worked as a registered nurse and clinical educator in both the intensive care and hemodialysis unit in Toronto.   After moving west with her family, she  taught nursing and holistic health at Camosun college. She has also designed and taught creativity and health course at Camosun college and  in the Master of Education program at Simon Fraser University.  Lynda is an international speaker on relational practice and creativity and health. 

Lynda is very grounded in the philosophy of health promotion informing her student-centered, contemplative, learning approach that inspires students to learn.  Lynda has her own practice as an integrative Health Coach.  This includes academic strategy work for students who have alternative learning styles.  Her services causes transformational learning regarding…How to make more empowered choices and decisions regarding every aspect of health and wellness to enable people to heal, learn, create and LEAD. 

She is passionate about art and continues to promote creativity and health as fund raising events.  She founded ArtbyNurses.com 2007-2016  hanging over twenty art shows in BC., including the first Healing Hallways art show at Royal Jubilee Hospital.   Now, there is a rotating art exhibit for local artists.  Her latest art show fund raisers raised money for the Peel river in the Yukon and the Dandelion society in Victoria. 

Teresa Swan, Instructor (photo coming soon)

Teresa Swan has worked in the field of disabilities for the past 30 years; this has included experience in residential care, day support services, and adult special education. She is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary specializing in Community Rehabilitation and Disabilities Studies. Teresa's current research focuses on inclusive post-secondary education for learners with intellectual disabilities.

Holly Bradley

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.  


 Rossanne Sutherland & Jocelyn Byfield, Program Assistants

  • Nanaimo Campus, Building 180, Room 434
  • Phone: 250-753-3245 Local: 2387 | Fax 250-740-6466
  • Email: EACS@viu.ca
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