Tess MacMillan has been an instructor at Langara College since September 2002. Before arriving at Langara, she taught at UBC's Writing Centre and at Douglas College.
A native Vancouverite, she earned a BA (Hons.) in English from UBC before heading to London, Ontario where she received an MA in English from the University of Western Ontario.
Tess's areas of academic interest include First Nations literature (particularly the works of Thomas King), multicultural literature (especially Canadian and Caribbean), short fiction, and English grammar. Her non-academic interests include popular culture, yoga, and fashion as an artistic medium.
Tess teaches a wide range of first year courses including English 1107, 1110, 1127, and 1129. She enjoys teaching students grammar, writing skills, and literature and believes that everyone can find a poem to love.
I quit high school and took a job in a factory because I didn’t like school. After a couple of years I decided to go back as a mature student. I studied Economics at the University of Waterloo but after second year jumped into English. After graduating UW I went on to McMaster University and York University. While completing my degrees I had some intriguing jobs. I taught history and literature at a jail for young offenders and I taught contract law, critical thinking and economics at colleges in Toronto. During and between these jobs I worked as a house framer, landscaper, and assembly-line worker at Ford, not only to earn a living but to gain experience of the world outside school.
About twenty years ago I came to Vancouver to teach in the English Department at UBC, where I taught essay writing, Canadian literature and Eighteenth-Century literature from 1996 until 2003. I also taught courses on the poet/engraver William Blake and on the landscape paintings of the Group of Seven for UBC Continuing Studies. From 2002 to 2006 I was Academic Director of UBC’s Humanities 101 Community Programmes, a pioneering outreach programme—the first of its kind in Canada—in the liberal arts and social sciences for students in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who encountered economic and social barriers to education. For a year I was also Coordinator at the Humanities Storefront, an educational facility in the DES, at Cordova and Abbott, which brought free lectures and classes to the neighborhood before it was gentrified.
I’ve published essays and articles—on subjects ranging from Post-Colonial literatures to the use of rhetoric in advertising and international finance—in Alphabet City, Canadian Dimension, Canadian Literature, English Studies in Canada, Jouvert, Left History, Vancouver Review and West Coast Line—and I regularly write commentary and creative nonfiction for subTerrain Magazine, where I’m also Features Editor. In 2016 I published a book of these essays called Garage Criticism: Cultural Missives in an Age of Distraction.
I’ve been teaching at Langara since 2002. It’s a great place; I like it here. Besides standard first-year courses like English 1100, 1127 and 1130, which I’m always happy to teach, I’ve taught second-year courses on Graphic Novels, Banned Books, and Children’s/YA Literature, and more recently I’ve taught English 1125, Contemporary Linguistics, and 2100, Traditional Grammar. I’m here to teach students how to be stronger readers and more persuasive writers by showing them that “Literature” is not some irrelevant and mysteriously subjective field where anything goes but is a discipline built on the application of certain properties of language. So much of a person’s life happens in language—whether on paper or on your screen—and an English class is an opportunity to figure out how it all works.
BA, PhD (Columbia). I teach college writing and literature. Students learn how to write better, especially how to write better college essays. Perhaps they can have deeper thoughts as well. Then they can have some of these deep thoughts, expressed in powerful writing, about the literature I teach: stories, novels, plays, poetry (especially poetry), and movies (sometimes).
All this teaching and enlightenment comes packaged in first semester writing courses (1127, 1128, 1100), second-semester introductory literatures courses (1129, 1130) , and 2nd-year literature courses (Survey of English literature, American literature, occasionally Studies in Poetry and Canadian Literature). I tell students what to read, we discuss what everyone has read, and the discussion helps me explain it all to everyone. Everyone attains a higher level of being.
B.A. Psychology (McGill), M.A. English (S.F.U.)
Academic Biography: I started my BA at UBC, but completed it as a Psychology major at McGill University in Montreal. The city was so much fun that I stayed another nine years before deciding to return to BC. My thesis for my Master's degree (SFU) focusses on the reception history of two nineteenth-century Canadian novels: Antoinette de Mirecourt and The Golden Dog. While a teaching assistant at SFU, I discovered the challenge and satisfaction of teaching, and decided to pursue it as a career.
Academic Interests: I am passionate about exploring the subtleties of words and the meanings that those subtleties create whether in poetry, drama, prose fiction or prose non-fiction.
Reading for Fun: Science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and history books keep me occupied during my spare time.
Conferences: Writing Center Praxis: A Cross-Curricular Vision, Shasta College, California (1999) Speaker
Essential Abilities Conference, Langara College (1999 and 2000) Organizer
History of the Book in Canada, SFU (2001) Participant
Essential Abilities Workshop, Bowen Island (2002) Participant
Lectures: Langara Lecture Series, Vancouver Public Library (2006) "The Border Between Truth and Lies"
Langara Lecture Series (2005) "Journeys of the Body and Mind: Journals and Diaries"
A Day at Langara (2005) "War and Peace: War Literature"
Langara Lecture Series (2004) "Aliens Are Us: Science Fiction as Social Commentary"
A Day at Langara (2003) "It Gives a Lovely Light: Short Poems"
A Day at Langara (2002) "As Canadian as Possible under the Circumstances: Canadian Literature and Identity"
Statement: Because I regard students as intelligent and capable adults, my expectations of them are high.
Ruth has a BA (English Language major and German minor) from UBC, Vancouver BC, 1993, and an MA (Applied Linguistics & Cross- Cultural Communication) from Concordia University, Montreal PQ,1999.
Before coming to Langara, Ruth taught advanced English as a Second Language and College Preparatory Courses (including reading, writing, listening and speaking) at the Vancouver Community College. She has been teaching English as a Second Language at all levels from beginner to advanced, as well as all age groups from children to adults since 1993. She has taught English or the teaching of English in Japan, Germany, Montreal, Vancouver, and Africa.
Ruth has developed a special interest in cross-cultural communication, through her travels (for at least one or more years) in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and Africa. Teaching English 1107 and 1108 at Langara College involves not only teaching advanced grammar and writing skills, but also requires an understanding of the rhetorical differences across cultures. She feels privileged to receive perspectives from around the globe in her classroom and hopes to reciprocate by sharing a sense of Canadian academic culture for, as Katheryn Freston states, “Magic takes place when we really absorb the knowledge that we are all in this [world] together.”
BA (U.B.C. 1987), MA (U.B.C. 1991), GDDET 2011
Biography: After completing my B.A., I worked in publishing in London and Cambridge, England. After finishing an M.A. in English language, I taught English, ESL and communications for various colleges in the Lower Mainland and for the English Department at UBC. I have taught technical communications courses for the Faculties of Applied Science and Agricultural Sciences at UBC and acted as a professional communication consultant for engineering, accounting and other firms. At Langara, I teach English 1125 (Introduction to Contemporary Linguistic Analysis) and recently created and taught a new second-year course in English traditional grammar: English 2100. In addition to my teaching, I am Chair of the Educational Technology Department and work as the Curriculum Development Coordinator for Langara’s new Teaching and Curriculum Development Centre.
Publications and Activities:
Bowers, Sarah and Julia Denholm. Beyond Online: Adapting and implementing the QM rubric for three modes of delivery. Quality Matters QM Works: The Great Pacific Northwest Regional Conference. April 25 & 26, 2013 Vancouver WA
Implications of BC’s Privacy Law for Higher Education with Roy Sinn LEDC session April 2011
Web 2.0 Social Media in Higher Education LEDC session April 2010
Quality in Online Course Design LEDC session April 2010
The Job Application Package annual guest speaker for Library Tech students 2010 to present
various reviews of ESL and business writing manuscripts for Pearson Education,Harcourt Brace and Company Canada, and Prentice Hall Allyn and Bacon
The Write Way (with Maggie Warbey) Harcourt Brace and Company Canada: Toronto 1997
Academic Interests: English linguistics, traditional grammar, history of the English language, business and technical communications.
Other Interests: yoga, photography and gardening.
Monica Brown has English degrees from University of Waterloo (BA, Rhetoric and Professional Writing) and the University of British Columbia (MA), and is currently completing a PhD in English at UBC. Monica’s research examines the uses of persuasion in health and medical contexts—for example, in public health campaigns. Monica has been an instructor at English at Langara since 2015, and before that taught in the English department at UBC. She also serves on the programming committee for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
Winner of the 2009-10 Langara College Teaching Excellence Award, Karen has taught everything from Apocalyptic, Feminist, Gothic, Horror, to Cult literature & film courses in the Department in addition to teaching Theatre History (thrice on Field Schools), Cinema History, Composition & Introductory Literary & Film Analysis. She also inaugurated a Gothic Field Studies course in 2013, during which she and a co-instructor teach Langara students Gothic literature and film in London, Whitby, Edinburgh & Manchester during the Summer semester.
She says, "I believe in the central importance of a humanist education that allows us to participate in the fictional lives of others as well as articulate issues of personal importance. To that end, I try to engage students with a variety of approaches that suggest connections between the interior and exterior, virtual and "real" stories we create." Karen regularly presents papers at the International Gothic Association and recently completed an MA in Film and Television Production at the Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University, where she learned how to make documentary films. She hopes to bring her newfound knowledge into the classroom, "to help make students' stories reality."
Heather Burt has an M.A. in English Literature, a Bachelor's degree in Education, and a Diploma in ESL Education. She regularly teaches first-year English and ESL courses, as well as second-year creative writing. During her non-teaching terms, Heather writes fiction. Her first novel, Adam's Peak, was shortlisted for the 2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Visit Heather's website at www.heatherburt.ca.
Aaron’s award-winning plays have been produced throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. His new novel Curtains for Roy, was nominated for the prestigious Stephen Leacock Award for humour writing in 2015. It was his second book of published fiction to go with his two books of poetry and four books of drama. His last play Farewell, My Lovely, was produced by Vertigo and Vancouver’s Arts Club a couple of years ago. It was nominated for a number of Jessie Richardson Awards in Vancouver. With over 20 professional productions in the last 15 years, Aaron continues to enjoy writing for theatre and had two productions open in Calgary in 2016 (Vertigo and Lunchbox). He’s been playwright in residence for The Vancouver Playhouse, Touchstone Theatre and was involved with the Playwrights Unity at Tarragon Theatre. He’s been nominated 9 times for Outstanding Original Play at the Jessie Richardson Awards, winning two. In fact, Aaron has been nominated for writing awards in four genres: film (Leos), theatre (Jessie, Sterlings), fiction (Leacock Award), and poetry (Dorothy Livesay Award). When Aaron isn’t writing, he’s teaching Creative Writing at various colleges and universities in Vancouver, including Kwantlen University, Langara College, Studio 58, and Vancouver Film School. He also helps run Solo Collective Theatre in Vancouver. For more information: www.aaronbushkowsky.com.
Kina Cavicchioli came to Canada as a graduate student from the UK looking for adventure, fell in love with BC, and stayed. She has taught at Langara since 2007 and is passionate about showing students how empowering and pleasurable literature and language awareness can be.
She has a BA in English and French Literature from the University of Oxford, an MA in American Studies from the University of East Anglia, and a hauntingly unfinished PhD on Victorian Women's Ghost Stories from UBC.
Kina teaches first-year courses like Communications 1118, English 1127,1129 and 1130, as well as the two-part History of Theatre course (English 1181-1191). She has also taught second-year courses on Pandemic Narratives and the Literature of Madness.
Kina is currently the coordinator of the English Forum, a free monthly gathering hosted by Langara English instructors and guests in which to explore and discuss fiction, film, television, and culture of all kinds. Past Forum topics have included Game of Thrones, the Literature of Happiness, Jane Austen's novels, and Bioshock.
When she isn't teaching, Kina writes poetry, fantasizes about becoming a stand-up comedian, and runs away to Tofino as often as possible.
Toby Chernoff came to Langara as a first-year student when he was 30, after working as a cook, a waiter, a tree planter, a house painter, a scheduler and machine operator in a nail-making factory, and a professional swing dancer. He liked his time here so much that after finishing two degrees at UBC, he came back to teach.
Some of Toby’s recent interests are feminism and gender studies, Star Wars, Geoffrey Chaucer, comic books, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the best ways to make effective, convincing arguments, both in and out of the classroom. He looks forward to lively, active debates with students who value thinking and participation, and who want to discover connections between the things we talk about in class, and the things that happen in the rest of their lives.
To that end, much of his classwork revolves around how advertising reinforces cultural values and convinces us of stuff, and how reading and writing essays and visual media can make us better students in every field of study, and make us better citizens outside of the classroom.
Noel Currie has degrees from Carleton University (MA, Canadian Studies) and UBC (BA, PhD, M.Ed.). She has been an instructor in the English Department at Langara College since 2002. Before coming to Langara College, she taught in departments of English, Educational Studies, and Women’s Studies at UBC and SFU, and for one term at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. She has published articles on First Nations writing, Canadian gothic, and exploration literature, as well as co-edited a teaching anthology of 20th-century literature called Currents: Stories, Essays, Poems, and Plays with Kevin McNeilly, W.H. New, and W.E. Messenger. Her book Constructing Colonial Discourse: Captain Cook at Nootka Sound was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2005.
Education: Diploma (Theatre Arts) Langara 1983; B.A. (English Hons.) UBC 1990; M.A. (English) UBC 1994. Ph.D. (Educational Studies) UBC 2015.
Teaching Interests and Experience: From 1994 until 1998 I taught composition, communications and literature at UBC. In the summer of 1998 I began teaching at Langara. I prefer to teach first-year, first-semester courses, particularly CMNS 1118 and ENGL 1127. My main goals as an instructor are to help you to meet the outcomes of the course and to see the relevance of what you have learned in terms of your life outside of school.
BA, Honours English, McGill University; MA, Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama, University of Toronto; MFA, Creative Writing, UBC (in progress)
Kurt Vonnegut said it best. You must practice art in order to make your soul grow. That is the only real reason to take English or Creative Writing classes. High grades and credentials are splendid, but twenty years from now, when you are doing whatever it is that you will do with most of the days of your life, what you will long for is the sound of your soul stirring, whispering to you the
truth of what’s inside of you. Writing, reading, discussing and analyzing – as we do in English class - will make you a more sensitive thinker, and a better judge of what matters, and what is good in the universe. It will make you less barbaric, and will turn your attention away from Kim Kardashian breaking the internet, to the flutter that is your heart beating. It will make your soul grow.
Jill Goldberg teaches English 1127, 1100, 1191 (Theatre History), and Creative Writing.
She will be on study leave from July 2015 to July 2016 while she works on her first novel and on producing a short film in order to complete her MFA.
Ph.D. (UBC) M.A. (UBC) TESL-certificate (UBC) Zwischenprüfung (Albertus Magnus Universität, Köln, Germany)
"Edel sei der Mensch, hilfreich und gut." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe) [my translation, alas, I don't like translation, but here goes: "Humans should be refined, helpful and good."]
Publications - On the Music of the North, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Lowry, and James Joyce ...
Interests - James Joyce, Modernism, contemporary literature, relations to music, cyber-lit, Science Fiction, chess, soccer ...
Courses Taught - ESL, Survey courses, poetry, drama, film, cyberpunk ...
B.A. English (SFU), M.A. English (SFU): Modernism: Joyce, Lawrence, Pound
- Main Courses: English 1121, English 1100, English 1127, English 1129
- Creative Writing Courses: English 2266 Poetry, English 2236 Short Fiction, English 2276 Creative Non-fiction
- Special Interest Courses: English 2233 Prose Fiction: Canadian Literature: The Experimental Novel and English 2233 Exploring Literature: Terribly Funny: The Serious Art of Laughter
Caroline Harvey's days revolve around reading and analyzing literature with her students, saluting the powers of writers, repeating the word “revise” with passionate conviction, and refocusing the overhead projector. She favours works that are full of laughter and blood, but she also appreciates scathing dystopian visions and tragedies set in the outskirts of Winnipeg.
Since she still hopes that writers may actually become the unacknowledged legislators of the world, she also teaches various genres of creative writing, helps to judge Langara's magazine of student writing, W49, and runs Langara's Postcard Story Contest. Her own creative writing -- personal essays about the alienating moments of urban life – has been published by local newspapers and Vancouver Review.
As a literary journalist, Caroline has interviewed authors and written over fifty book reviews, namely for The Vancouver Sun, and she was the poetry editor for the Vancouver Review for six years.
During her twenty-plus years as an instructor, she has not once lost her passion for exploring the ways that good writing – and reading – transforms lives. Revise!
Greg Holditch has been part of the Langara English Department since 2010. He teaches literary criticism, composition and business communication. His academic interests include print culture, trauma narrative, graphic novels and video games. His master’s thesis challenged the idea of interactive authorship in the videogame Bioshock.
Greg firmly believes that Langara offers a unique learning environment (e.g. small class size, instructor availably) that has a fundamental impact on a student’s success. This learning environment informs his own teaching philosophy: his goal as an educator is to make students active participants in their own learning. To this end, he uses interactive group activities, classroom discussion, humour and popular culture to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and their ideas.
In his free time, Greg nurtures his video game obsession, bikes at great speeds around Vancouver, plays with his dog and dreams about Scuba diving.
Joanne Horwood has a BA Honours (University of Calgary), an MA and PhD (University of Alberta) in English. After focusing on modern drama and writing about Ibsen, Chekhov, Beckett, Pinter and Stoppard in her PhD dissertation, she has expanded her interests to Theatre History and has worked on an Online Bibliography of Women’s Theatre History.
She found her way to the West Coast in 1990 while still completing her graduate work, and began teaching at Langara College in 2000. She teaches first-year courses, English 1100, 1127, 1128, 1129, 1181 and 1191; second-year English courses 2233, 2234 and 2237; and Communications 1118, Business Writing. Often her first-year classes have a thematic focus that reflects her interest in World Literature: “Out of Africa,” “Caribbean Literature” and “East Meets West."
For the adventurous, Joanne has offered various Field School programs: Theatre History in London and New York, as well as Caribbean Literature in Barbados, Dominica and St Lucia. In 2017, she and Katrina Erdos from Geography are leading a group of students through Italy and London. This new European Field Studies will focus on Theatre History from the Greeks to Shakespeare, as well as the Geography of Tourism, Recreation and Leisure. For more information, see Field Schools under Programs and Courses on the Langara Homepage.
Stephanie is an experienced English as a Second Language instructor who has spent more than 15 years teaching in colleges and academies throughout North America and around the world. Stephanie holds a BA from UBC, a TESOL Diploma and a Master’s in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Greensboro College in North Carolina.
Stephanie’s areas of focus are academic writing, the fundamentals of English grammar and communication skills for international professionals.
Prior to coming to Langara, Stephanie taught college preparatory classes for English language learners at Vancouver Community College. In her adventurous days, she taught business English in Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay, as well as English for newcomers in Durham, North Carolina. She spent a year as the only English speaker in a small rural village in Japan, so she understands how crucial cross-cultural communication skills are.
Stephanie specializes in working with 1106 and 1107 students to improve their writing skills and meet their entrance requirements. She also works with international professionals in specialized programs at Langara to boost their communication skills and achieve their academic and employment goals.
When Stephanie is not teaching, she enjoys exploring hiking trails, traveling and reading.
Tiffany Johnstone has a BA from the University of Toronto (2004), an MA from Memorial University of Newfoundland (2005), and a PhD from the University of British Columbia (2012). In the fall of 2016, she began teaching in the English Department at Langara College. In addition to teaching at Langara, she has taught Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland (2006-2007) as well as Literature, Academic Writing, and Gender Studies at UBC in the Department of English, the Arts Studies in Research and Writing program, the Coordinated Arts Program, and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. She has published articles relating to northern travel literature, autobiography, and women's writing, and she also co-edited Bearing Witness: Perspectives on War and Peace in the Arts and Humanities with Sherrill Grace and Patrick Imbert.
Tanya earned her M.A. from UBC in 2000 as a specialist in Canadian Literature, and has been published in Essays on Canadian Writing and Studies in Canadian Literature. Since her graduation, however, she has expanded her scholarly interests to include film studies, non-fiction, Victorian fiction, and food in literature. Indeed, she developed an English 2233 course, “Consuming Fiction: Examining the Link between Food and Story,” in order to share her enthusiasm for this burgeoning academic field.
What Tanya is most enthusiastic about, though, is teaching, She therefore considers herself lucky to have landed at Langara where she is surrounded by creative colleagues and (mostly) dedicated students. Tanya has been teaching a wide variety of ESL, first-, and second-year courses at Langara since she was hired in 2002, and she looks forward to continuing to do so until her retirement—in about 2034.
Erin MacWilliam has been teaching post-secondary English literature and business and technical communication since 2004, and loves teaching the vibrant and intelligent students at Langara. Erin hopes that all students taking her classes find texts that spark joy and critical thought, and gain the tools to express themselves more effectively in writing. She aims to teach diverse works and promote an inclusive and participatory classroom.
A native Vancouverite, Erin has a B.A. (hons.) in English Literature and Geography from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which British cookbooks published between 1660 and 1760, along with the periodicals, literature, and philosophy of the time, shaped conceptions of physical and aesthetic taste. Erin’s current research interests include writing and literary pedagogy, eighteenth-century literature and didactic writing, print culture, taste and aesthetics, domesticity, and the public sphere. She is a beer-league softball player and chorister, and lets her cat Nubs boss her around.
Trevor teaches first semester writing courses (1127 and 1128), second-semester introductory literature courses (1129 and 1130), creative writing: prose fiction (2236) and a number of specialized second-year courses focusing on freak culture, the relationship between words and art in illustrated novels, and survivor literature (2233 and 2237). His graduate thesis focuses on the work of Cormac McCarthy and war atrocities during the conflict between America and Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century. He also has a deep interest in hermetic and metaphysical thought that winds its way throughout history.
Before his career in English, he was a professional songwriter in Los Angeles and Toronto for a variety of production houses and publishing firms; his music has been played on the radio, television and has been reviewed in various magazines/newspapers. His fiction/criticism has been published in journals such as WestWord Journal and The Vancouver Review. He is an active member of the SCBWI and has written and illustrated The Scallywag Solution, Race to Pisa! and Mighty Melvin the Magnificent Mouse, three books for young readers that have been published and distributed throughout North America and Europe. Currently, he is writing and illustrating his first graphic novel.
He recommends that students be sure to read everything, ask a lot of questions, write clearly/directly and remember that instructors are always learning from them.
Prior to coming to Langara in the summer of 2012, Kathleen taught English and Creative Writing at Emily Carr University. She is also a playwright and theatre critic, and spent a decade working in Vancouver’s arts community—doing everything from answering phones and selling tickets to writing press releases and overseeing volunteers—for organizations including the Writers Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Kathleen is a regular contributor to The Georgia Straight, where she has been writing about theatre since 1997. She enjoys sneaking opportunities to introduce students to Vancouver’s vibrant performing arts scene into as many courses as possible.
Kathleen’s first play, Swollen Tongues, is a comedy of love and manners written entirely in rhyming couplets. First produced in 1998 at the Women in View Festival, it has had productions throughout Canada and in London, England, where it earned a Critics’ Choice from Time Out. Like its cross-dressing characters, the play continues to take on new guises: the French translation, by Marie Paule Ramo, will premiere in Paris in September 2013, and the text is providing the libretto for a new opera composed by Tobin Stokes. Kathleen’s other full-length plays are Carol’s Christmas and The Family Way, which both premiered in Vancouver. She has also written or co-written several shorter plays in English (Beautiful on a Budget) and in French (Snow Queen, Rendez-Vous).
A recurring theme in Kathleen’s plays is that a unique and beautiful power comes from finding one’s voice. In her teaching, she tries to help students find this power within themselves through their writing, whether it takes the form of a job application, a journal, or a research essay. Kathleen believes that any form of writing is an opportunity for playful and meaningful expression.
B.A. (Hons.) and M.A. (Flinders University of South Australia), Ph.D. (UBC)
Publications: "Francis Turner Palgrave", New Dictionary of National Biography; "Francis Turner Palgrave", Dictionary of Literary Biography, among others.
Academic Interests: Victorian literature, especially mid-Victorian and Pre-Raphaelitism; Children's Literature; Asian-Canadian Literature
Special and Standard Courses Taught: English 127, 130, 224; English 107 (English as a Second Language)
Statement: I love my job: I hope this is evident in my teaching. One word of caution: I make a lot of jokes, but don't mistake all that jollity for a lack of serious commitment to literature and writing skills. You have been warned!
Camilla Pickard has been teaching courses in English, Creative Writing, Communications and Cultural Studies since 2000, and has taught full time at Langara since 2010.
She holds an Honours degree in English from UVic and an MA in English Literature from UBC. Camilla has also undertaken post-baccalaureate and graduate work in Education and Creative Writing, including professional certification in Education from SFU, and a year in UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program. Areas of special interest include gender roles in literature, contemporary documentary and non-fiction forms, and the televised serial drama.
As a writer, Camilla has collaborated with a variety of Vancouver artists and galleries, creating texts that accompany the artists’ work. She has also co-produced zines and performances under the collective authorship of “Janet” with Amy Modahl and Christine Ferguson.
Thor Polukoshko has a B.A. and M.A. in English from Simon Fraser University, and has worked in the Langara English department since 2011.
His academic interests include postcolonial studies, critical disability studies, hip hop, authorship, graphic narrative, and contemporary BC poetry/poetics. His master’s thesis on First Nations rap music, “Playing the Role of the Tribe: The Aesthetics of Appropriation in Canadian Aboriginal Hip Hop,” was published in a collection of essays entitled Selves and Subjectivities: Reflections of Canadian Arts and Culture (2012) by Athabasca University Press. Other publications include poetry, essays, and comics/illustrations in West Coast Line, The Incongruous Quarterly, and Memewar.
When he’s not marking huge stacks of papers, Thor enjoys writing, drawing, playing video games, and cleaning up after his dog. Thor was one of the founding editors of the literary/interdisciplinary magazine Memewar.
My area of expertise is twentieth-century American literature, with a focus on life writing, crime, and the American prison system. I have experience teaching in Canada, the US, and the UK. My work has been published in American Studies, Critical Survey, MELUS, and Canadian Literature, and I am currently working on a book project, The Defiant Ones: Masculinity, Race, and the Ex-Convict in Twentieth-Century American Literature.
Debra has been teaching at Langara since the early 1980s. She first taught as a sessional lecturer at UBC and then also worked for the Native Indian Teacher Education Program, co-ordinated by educators from First Nations communities through UBC and Langara. Out of this experience, she co-authored Experiments with Words: A N.I.T.E.P. Handbook of Writing.
Areas of particular interest and ongoing study are Canadian literature, classical studies and pre-Christian cultures.
As well, a life-long interest in mythology and literature has expanded in recent years—fueled by travels to Tuscany and Paris (as well as other parts of France)—to include art history and the relationship between the visual and literary arts.
For the last five years, Debra has volunteered time as Langara’s Garden Maven, to promote aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly gardening through her backyard consultations.
B.A, M.A. (UBC)
Roger Semmens teaches first year composition & literature, the second year survey of literature, and he specializes in teaching Creative Writing at the second year level. He is one of the editors of W49 Magazine, Langara's journal of Creative Writing, and he rarely writes about himself in the first person singular. He is a member of the Association of Post-Secondary Creative Writing Instructors in B.C.
Mr. Semmens firmly believes in the following principles:
reading and writing are intimately connected; the more we engage in the first enterprise, the better equipped we are to undertake the second.
reading a lot is a way of understanding & embracing the human landscape in which we wander; writing is a way of blazing a few new trails through it.
writing is essentially a subversive activity; it encourages us to question the fiction of our selves and certainly equips us to challenge the authoritarian & institutional fictions that surround us.
studying theory is helpful, but we really learn by doing ; if we want to produce good writing, we need to practice.
This instructor warmly welcomes to his classes any soul who thinks that reading & writing are more important than fast cars and designer clothes. He wishes happiness to those who do not, but hopes that they take classes from someone else.
As an undergraduate in England, Sandra Slade studied Law before switching to English Literature, Language and French. She came to Vancouver via Los Angeles where she acquired two Masters degrees in Art History and English Literature. In Vancouver, she learned how to teach English as an additional language, and since 2001, has been teaching an array of developmental and first year courses. Recently, Sandra helped develop the Access Langara Program that she coordinates in the fall and spring semesters.
Her scholarly interests include the healing powers of fiction, material culture and Spanglish lit. Off campus, she enjoys choral singing, fibre arts and vegetarian cuisine.
After studying Fine Arts and Design, I embarked on a decade-long career in the fashion industry: buying, merchandising and traveling. In 1998, I returned to school, earning a Diploma in Classical Studies at Langara, before taking a BA in English Literature at SFU. I was awarded a University Graduate Fellowship to study at UBC, where I earned a Masters degree, concentrating, in particular, on Film adaptations.
I’ve been an instructor at Langara since 2004, where I’ve taught first year courses such as English 1127 & English 1130 (a favourite of mine), in addition to the second year Surveys and specialty courses on Shape-shifters, Biographies, and Romantic Comedies. In 2013, I was co-instructor on Karen Budra’s inaugural UK Gothic Field School, traveling with students through London, Whitby, Edinburgh & Manchester, while focusing on all aspects of the Gothic, from fashion and music to literature and film.
In my view, Langara College offers students exceptional educational opportunities, with a wide array of specialty courses, unique field schools, small classes, & helpful teachers. My advice? Work hard – and enjoy yourself.
My Awful life (A Resume)
I was seventeen when my parents separated. At first I lived with my mother, but we couldn't get along, so I moved in with my father. He took it as a personal victory. On my eighteenth birthday, we got drunk. That evening he said to me, “Son, there's something about your mother we never told you.”
So I quit College and spent six months backpacking in Europe. In Luxemburg I met a girl. Her name was Berenice, and she said she believed in God. She seemed afraid for me that I didn't, she said “Something terrible could happen.” She took me by the hand and guided me past ravines and tunnelled walls, sat with me on cafe terraces, in her yellow miniskirt, her skin like caramel. When the time came for me to leave, she pressed her cheek to mine. “You'll forget me,” she said, “but I won't forget. Not the holes in your shoes, or the way you pronounce my name. Not the things you said, when you thought you were only talking.”
Back home I got work slinging beer. Late nights, afterhours, cycling home as the sun rose. Day by day passed, the same; I felt I was living in a fish bowl. Then one night a regular locked himself in a toilet stall and opened his veins with a broken bottle.
I went back to school. My friends were getting married, taking on mortgages, having kids. My sister married an artist who sold Crystal Meth to pay the bills. At the wedding he was so euphoric he couldn't remember his lines. My mother cried and cried.
I entered university on a four-year B.A. course with Psychology as my major. After the first year I switched to Languages, Italian and French, dropped them after the first semester, and took up Philosophy and Far Eastern Studies. Finally I quit university altogether and joined a band. We hit the road, toured the redneck bars of northern Ontario. In Thunder Bay, a jealous boyfriend kicked our drummer down a set of cement steps; he went into a coma for three days and then died. We packed our equipment and drove home.
Here I am now, in my rainy city. I have no job, I'm on welfare. In this town everyone is rich, or poor, or thinks they're poor. I wait on Granville Street, wait for a plan, wait for direction. The other day I asked someone for spare change and he glared and I saw it was my brother-in-law. As it turns out, he and my sister have been separated for some time. He brushed me off with vague excuses. But as he was leaving, he said to me, "I heard about your mom."
Guy Wilkinson was born in Liverpool, England, the fifth of eight children. At the age of four he moved with his family to Saskatchewan, where there was space enough for such a large family to grow. After graduating from high school, he lived and worked abroad, in Poland and England before returning to Canada to earn an MA at the University of British Columbia. He now resides with his wife and three children in Port Coquitlam. He is the author of a monograph, At Work and Play: Philosophy and Parody in the novels of Witold Gombrowicz (Lambert Academic Publishing), a children’s book co-written with his daughter, The Bluzeziad (Paraguas Books), and a collection of short stories, Home Invasion & Other Stories (Booksmart).