Arts & Sciences

Vancouver - James Gifford LOGOJAMES GIFFORD

Dr. James Gifford is a full-time Associate Professor in English and Director of the University Core. James was born and raised on the BC Coast. He was previously an Assistant Professor in English at the University of Victoria (limited term), a Visiting Professor in graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, and a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He completed his PhD at the University of Alberta as a Killam Doctoral Fellow.

James also holds an MA in Humanities from California State University, a BA in English and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Humanities from Simon Fraser University, as well as a Diploma of Music from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He completed advanced studies in opera performance at the Victoria Conservatory and the University of Alberta, and he studied early music at the University of British Columbia. He is co-director of the Modernist Version Project, which is supported by a $200,000 SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2012-2015) and over $2 million in-kind support.

In addition to traditional university courses, he has taught in outreach programs for senior citizens, the military, and northern students. He previously taught English, Music, and Communications & Cultural Studies at several Canadian universities and colleges.

To contact James, you can email him at or call him at 604.648-4476 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. James speaks English, some French, basic Swedish and Greek and reads German.

Vancouver - Mya 130 FULLMARIA (MYA) MCKAY

Maria (Mya) McKay, Full time Lecturer, was born and raised in Vancouver. Mya has a BA in English Language and an MA in Language and Literacy Education, both from the University of British Columbia. Creative in her own teaching, she values and practices critical thinking and negotiated learning. Prior to coming to FDU, she has been a freelance writer and educational consultant. For 17 years, until 2006, Mya worked at a private Liberal Arts college, beginning as an instructor and becoming the Director of Academics. She worked in team to develop two-year certificate and four-year diploma programs and wrote curriculum for courses using a content and language approach to academic learning. During that time, Mya set up and implemented an ESL program for students to study for one term at Herstmonceux in England and participated in international field experiences in Mexico.

Having various hobbies and interests, Mya is active in her local community. She has a passion for words and ideas, enjoys writing of all kinds, particularly poetry, and is concerned about social justice.

To contact Mya, you can email her at or call her at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. Mya speaks German, French, Spanish and understands Icelandic.

Willy Aroca 2016WILLY AROCA

Willy A. Aroca, Full time Lecturer of International Hotel Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus.  Mr. Aroca, originally from Cusco, Peru, holds a B.A. in Sociology from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.  Mr. Aroca also earned a Master of Arts in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia and was the recipient of Royal Roads’ University Founder’s Award for leadership, sustainability and personal development.

Mr. Aroca is the Regional Vice President emeritus for Helms Briscoe, a global site selection company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, a position he has held for the past 17 years.  He was one of the original founders of the company, an organization that has grown from 14 associates and 1 million in sales in 1994 to 1,200 world-wide associates and annual sales of more than 2 billion dollars in 2011. Mr. Aroca managed a team of 30 professionals in Northern California and played a role in establishing the entrepreneurial and creative aspect of the company.

Mr. Aroca has held the position of Vice Principal and Director of Hospitality Management at Eton College Vancouver for the past five years.  He has also held a variety of executive hotel positions over his 25 years in the hotel and travel industry including Director of Sales and Marketing, Food and Beverage Manager and Assistant Controller as well as positions of leadership with Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Sigma Chi Fraternity and various non-profit organizations.

Mr. Aroca plans to continue to use his knowledge of Latin America, Peru in particular, to expand his research on sustainability-focused travel and tourism and the current trends in entrepreneurial, international tourism management.  He has been credited for using innovation in the classroom and engaging students in critical thinking in the use of social media. He is currently developing a curriculum in hospitality entrepreneurship.

Prior to his move to Vancouver, Mr. Aroca lived in the San Francisco/Bay Area for more than 20 years and is an avid soccer fan, cook and world traveler. You can reach Willy at or at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. Willy speaks Spanish and English.

Vancouver - Louisa Cameron LOGOLOUISA CAMERON

Louisa Cameron, Adjunct Professor, received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University in New York. She earned a BA (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from The University of Rochester (Rochester, NY), and completed an additional MA (ABD) in Asian Studies at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. She returned to the classroom in 2009 to complete an ESL teaching certificate at The University of British Columbia, where she studied activity-based learning, which she now applies to her courses in the social sciences at FDU.

A Fulbright and National Science Foundation scholar, Louisa lived in Japan for four years, first as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student conducting fieldwork for her doctoral dissertation on women in the Japanese workplace. A corollary interest during her time in Japan was the gendered symbolism of traditional Japanese Shinto rituals. Upon graduation, she taught courses in anthropology, sociology and Asian studies at The University of British Columbia for six years. Louisa’s current academic interests include gender, women’s issues, history, race/ethnicity and pop culture. With a penchant for foreign languages from an early age, Louisa is conversant in Japanese and Spanish.

In addition to teaching, Louisa studied creative writing in The Writing and Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University, and is currently seeking publication for her first young adult novel, The Red Prince. You can visit her online at:

To contact Louisa, you can email her at or call her at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002.

Vancouver - Charles Carroll 2012 LOGOCHARLES CARROLL

Dr. Charles Durning Carroll, Adjunct Professor of English, joined FDU-Vancouver in the Fall of 2011. Born in New York City, he lived abroad during his youth, with stints in Japan, France and England. He did undergraduate work in philosophy at Vassar College in the United States, took a Masters in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston and then an MBA from Boston University. After a short time working in the business world he discovered that he preferred teaching. He began his teaching career working with middle school students in New York City's Chinatown, and then moved on to teach university at a campus of the City University of New York in the Bronx, where many of his students were African-American and Hispanic. He enrolled in a Ph.D. program in English at the urging of friends, and found he loved the world of academic research and argument.

In 2005 he met a wonderful and lovely Canadian woman in the desert of Morocco, married her, and moved to Canada.

He finished his Ph.D. in 2009 with a dissertation on rhetoric in the long eighteenth century. His research interests are in popular rhetoric, political theory, and representations of the self in long eighteenth-century British literature (including Romanticism), with particular interests in the works of Milton and Jane Austen.

Charles speaks English, fluent French, a little German, and can say he doesn't understand you in very badly accented Mandarin. To contact Charles, you can email him at or call him at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002.

Vancouver - Gudrun Dreher 2011 LOGOGUDRUN DREHER

Gudrun Dreher joined FDU in August 2008 as an Adjunct Professor for English. She completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of British Columbia in 2003 with a dissertation on Skaay of the Qquuna Qiighawaay, one of the classical mythtellers from Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands, a group of Islands West of Prince Rupert, BC). During her first research trip to Haida Gwaii, Gudrun fell in love with the place where Skaay’s stories were born and lived there for almost 7 years. She got adopted into the Skedans Raven Clan by Haida Elder Mabel Williams, who introduced her to the major Haida dances, songs, and ceremonies. Gudrun also studied some of the basics of Haida art, in particular carving, with Haida Master Carver Norman Price, who also shared many of his Haida stories with her.

In addition to First Nations Literature and Culture, Gudrun’s areas of research include Multicultural Literature, Canadian Literature, British Literature, American Literature, Poetry, Short Fiction, Drama, as well as English Language and Style. Gudrun received her MA in Germany with a thesis on George Eliot, but has taught not only English literature, but also linguistics and ESL.

At the moment, Gudrun is particularly interested in Poetry – in particular in the connection between Poetry and Music, Poetry and the Visual Arts, and Poetry and Dance – as well as in World Literature and Philosophy, Multicultural Identity, Intercultural Sharing and Understanding, and Forms of Creativity. She has integrated creative approaches not only into her own work (for example, her dissertation) but also into her teaching, and collaborated with her FDU students on several plays (“The Big Banana Play,” “In the Pink Kingdom,” and “Spice to Life”) and other projects, most recently “One World, One Peace, One Future – the first FDU Peace Festival” (December 2010). Gudrun’s next projects include a collection of her own poetry (In Honor of the Raven) and the edition of the first FDU Anthology of Poetry, Short Fiction, and Non-Fictional Prose.

The courses that Gudrun has taught in the past few years were ENGL 1101, ENGL 1102, EPS 1101 and Fresh(Wo)man 1000 at FDU – as well as ENGL 112 (Academic Writing), ENGL 222 (Literature in Canada), ENGL 470 (Canadian Studies), and ENGL 225 (Poetry) at UBC.

Gudrun also holds a Yoga Teaching Certificate, a Relaxation Therapist Diploma, as well as a 1st and 2nd Degree in Reiki. She is a dedicated student of Aikido (at Vancouver West Aikikai), loves writing (in particular poems, short stories and music), and has taught Yoga, Karate, Ballet, Creative Movement, Fitness, Relaxation, Recorder, and Violin. She is very interested in Music, Dance, Martial Arts, as well as in Meditation and Asian Culture and Philosophy in general. She has two big and bratty but very charming dogs, named Chance (a Husky-x) and Gagiit (a Rottie-x), and a third dog, Wasghu (a Lab-x), who now lives in Terrace.

You can email Gudrun at or call her at 604-682-8112 or our toll free number in North America 1-877-338-8002. In addition to English, Gudrun is fluent in German.


Leila Ertolahti, Lecturer, has an MSc in Quaternary Geology from Simon Fraser University and an Hons. BSc in Geophysics from University of Western Ontario. She has studied in both Canada and Finland. She also has a Certificate in University Teaching and Learning from SFU.

Before moving to Vancouver, Leila spent four and a half years working as a field manager and aerial exploration geophysicist. She has traveled and worked in over 30 countries studying resources, natural hazards, paleoclimate, and anthropogenic delta subsidence, among others.

As a teacher she focuses her classroom around evidence based learning, critical thinking, ethics and social inclusiveness. Along with teaching Leila currently works in industry in Vancouver where she has the opportunity to collaborate with teams from the City of Vancouver to revise deconstruction and demolition policy to help Vancouver achieve it's Green Mandate.

Leila is an experienced dancer and spends most of her free time dancing, rock climbing, sailing and building.

You can email Leila at or call her at 604-682-8112 or our toll free number in North America 1-877-338-8002. In addition to English, Leila is fluent in English and also speaks Finnish.

Vancouver - Carlos Leon LOGOCARLOS LEON

Dr. Carlos Leon joined FDU as an Adjunct Professor in January 2012. Carlos studied Biology (BSc) and Biochemistry (MSc) in Lima, Peru, before travelling to Canada to study Microbiology and Immunology at UBC (PhD 2004). During his doctoral research, he investigated novel communication mechanisms in human immune cells. After graduation, he worked as a post doctoral fellow and research associate at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. As part of his post graduate work, he analyzed cellular cholesterol transport and the role of cholesterol in prostate cancer recurrence. He also contributed to the development of novel antifungal drugs.

He has published twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications and has served as a reviewer and member of editorial board of several scientific journals. He has co-authored several research grants funded by the government of Canada. He also enjoyed mentoring numerous undergraduate and graduate students.

His teaching experience brought him to FDU where he teaches an undergraduate environmental science course and laboratory (BIOL 1105). Carlos is currently teaching two courses of the Master in Administrative Sciences Program at FDU: Ethics and Public Values (MADS 6604) and Law, Ethics and Health Services (MADS 6644). Outside work he enjoys attending church gatherings as well as playing soccer and badminton. He is a volunteer at his daughter’s synchronized swimming club events.

To contact Carlos, you can email him at or call him at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. Carlos speaks Spanish and English, and can understand and sing in French.


Sandra Louie, Lecturer, brings 20 years of experience in the tourism industry ranging from Special Event Management to Marketing Research, Information Services and Strategic Planning. She holds a Bachelor of Urban & Regional Planning Degree from Ryerson University, a Diploma of Tourism Management from Capilano University, and a Masters of Arts Degree in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University. In addition to her role as Adjunct Faculty at FDU, Sandra has been an instructor of Event Management at the Art Institute of Vancouver, Tourism Marketing at the BC Institute of Technology’s (BCIT) School of Business, and Tourism & Business Management at Eton College in Vancouver.

Prior to coming to FDU, Sandra worked for the Office of Strategy Management at Destination Canada where she was responsible for developing measures and reporting on the marketing progress and outcomes of the federal economic stimulus funding and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Before this, Sandra was the Marketing Research and Business Planning Manager at Tourism Vancouver, responsible for implementing and disseminating primary and secondary tourism research to stakeholders of Vancouver’s tourism industry. Her portfolio also includes managing and disseminating tourism resources for training and career & business development at BC’s tourism education council, as well as event planning, marketing, sales, and sponsorship, for meetings, exhibitions and conferences across BC and Canada.

A motivated life-long learner, Sandra is an active tourism enthusiast who enjoys engaging in associations for professional development and networking. She is past President of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA Canada Chapter) and sat on the Program Advisory Committee for the Tourism Management Program at Eton College. Other association affiliations include:  Board Member of Hostelling International Canada (BC Region) and Committee Member of: the BC Tourism Educator’s Consortium, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the BC Tourism Human Resource Development Taskforce, and the Tourism Researcher Industry Validation group.

In her personal time, Sandra enjoys yoga, kayaking, reading, food (eating AND cooking), mixed media & modern art, crafting, and travelling anywhere, anytime. She has visited 26 countries, has also spent extended time living, and/or studying in: Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, China, Taiwan, and Cyprus. Sandra was born and raised in Vancouver.

You can reach Sandra at or at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002.

Vancouver - Yin Maung LOGOYIN MAUNG

Yin Maung, Instructor for Digital Media Arts, was born in Myanmar and spent her formative years in Singapore. She later moved to Edmonton for her education at the University of Alberta where she earned her Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Marketing Major) and Master of Arts in Communications and Technology.

Yin also holds a diploma in Multimedia Production and has 8 years of experience in the multi-faceted world of web and graphic design. She is keen to share her knowledge in the areas of creating and manipulating visual elements for web/print, designing web content architecture and developing strategic web communication plans in the government and corporate sector.

Yin moved to the coast of beautiful British Columbia in 2008 because of her passion for the outdoors. On her days off, she enjoys rock climbing, biking and paddling. Yin is also an active volunteer with her web/graphic design skills for organizations such as Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange) and the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA).

To contact Yin, you can email her at or call her at at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. Yin speaks Burmese, Mandarin and English.


Mehran Norafkan, Adjunct Professor, received his PhD in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University, Canada.

His PhD dissertation and research activity at Simon Fraser University focus on Second cultural models and language learning through mediation of technology and CALL (Computer assisted Language Learning). He earned an Associate Degree (Medical Science, 1994) and Bachelor's Degree (English, 1998) from Isfahan University, and completed his Master's Degree (Second Language Acquisition, 2000) with a dissertation on "university students' grammar and English language development" in Isfahan, Iran.

Acting as a university lecturer/researcher for over 10 years and as an ESL teacher for over 16 years has motivated him to try more seriously and harder to develop higher and better talents and skills in education research and practice. Since 2010 he has taught Language and Translation courses and acted as the course chair of Farsi language at the Humanity Department, Simon Fraser University. He has taught Linguistics and TESL courses in some universities and colleges both in North America and Middle East. Also, he has conducted and taught Writing Workshops at SIAT, SFU. Except for different awards and fellowships during his graduate studies, he was the winner of President Scholarship for his dissertation research. He has supervised online programs and research centers after he received his PhD. Concentrating on certain areas of Linguistics including Cognitive Linguistics, CALL (Computer assisted Language Learning) & Education Technology, Applied Linguistics, and Material Development, he has been particularly considerate in the application of his theoretical knowledge in real practice of job.

He was engaged in material development during his teaching career from time to time, but his professional turning point of material development started in 2010. It was due to his findings in second language education and social interactions. According to him, "Scholars have indicated that current ESL materials have almost ignored a highly important aspect of language acquisition—metaphorical competence". He is currently busy writing and compiling a book series, English through an authentic path, with elementary, intermediate, and upper intermediate and advanced levels. The materials and the way they have been developed are scientific and unique in terms of practicality for those learners who intend to live in a community of English native speakers.

To contact Mehran, you can email him at or call him at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002.


Juliane Okot-Bitek, lecturer, was born to exiled parents in Kenya, came of age in Uganda and now lives in Canada. She enjoys teaching English literature and grammar. When she's not teaching, Juliane is a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia where she's also a Liu Scholar at the Liu Institute for Global Issues. Juliane's research interest is in the narratives of formerly abducted women in northern Uganda. She is an essayist, free-lance writer and poet. Juliane’s work has won writing awards locally in the United States and Europe. Her work has been anthologized and published widely in literary magazines, on-line and in print. Juliane has been an invited poet at the International Poetry Festivals of Medellin, Colombia (2008) and Granda, Nicaragua (2009). She continues to write and speak about issues of home, homeland and diaspora. Juliane holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Art (Creative Writing, 1995) and an M.A English Literature, 2009 from the University of British Columbia and is currently working on a memoir as well as her second collection of poetry. She lives with her family in Vancouver.

To contact Juliane, you can email her at jobitek1@fdu.eduor call her at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. Juliane speaks Swahili, Acholi, Luganda, French and English.


David O'Reilly, Lecturer and Business Manager and Learning Resources and Support Specialist, brings more than 20 years of experience in business education and training to the Fairleigh Dickinson University-Vancouver campus where he is responsible for overseeing budget and human resources functions and developing academic services.

David has designed, developed and delivered numerous academic and business training courses both for the traditional classroom setting and for electronic media. He has also taught a variety of business and economic courses at the university undergraduate level and teaches The Global Challenge at FDU-Vancouver.

Prior to joining FDU, David was the Director of a Liberal Arts Diploma Program at a private Canadian College where he was responsible for all aspects of program and curriculum development. David also spent almost 4 years in Japan working with Clarke Consulting Group where he developed and implemented training programs in Fortune 500 companies.

David has received his MBA from Simon Fraser University and his B.Comm., University College Dublin. He has lived and worked in Ireland, Germany, Canada, USA, and Japan and has travelled extensively throughout Asia and Europe.

To contact David, you can email him at or call him at 604.682.8112 or our toll free number in North America 1.877.338.8002. David speaks fluent English and has basic knowledge of Japanese and Irish.


Maryam Rostamy, Lecturer, holds a Masters of Education in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Malaya, Malaysia Kuala Lumpur. She conducted her research in Writing, comparing group writing with individual writing with a focus on negotiation for meaning (NFM). She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Teaching English from University of Shiraz, Iran. She has presented in several national (BCTEAL, TESLOntario) and international conferences (ICELT).

Right after she graduated from her first-degree program, at the tender age of 20, she co-founded and managed the innovative Sama Language School in her hometown. The school has been a home for many enthusiastic English learners since then.

Maryam has been teaching English for more than 15 years. She has taught different levels and students with different goals for learning English. She is an expert in EAP teaching methodologies and curriculum development. She's also been a supportive teacher trainer to international English teachers.

Besides her passion for teaching, she loves running. She is a marathon and ultra-marathon runner. She placed fourth in the Elk and Beaver Ultra-Marathon in Victoria.

As a multilingual, she has learned German, Arabic and Malay, and she is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and English.

To contact Maryam you can email her at or call her at 604-682-8112 or toll free in North America at 1.877.338.8002.