VIU Voices

Welcome to Vancouver Island University's enewsletter, published during the academic year. It is created by VIU's Communications and Public Engagement Office with support from Human Resources and all our contributors. Here you will find helpful information about new initiatives at VIU, process and policies changes that affect how we work, stories about the people who make up this fantastic community and examples of the life-changing work our employees undertake on a regular basis. If you have any questions or want to contribute, please contact 

Dr. Deb Saucier: Reflections on a Pandemic

April 30, 2021

If you had told me last April, as I sat in the room above the garage, that I would now be referring to it as ‘my office’ this April—I wouldn’t have believed you. Last April, I thought pivot was a move in basketball, this year—well, you know, you have the t-shirt. I have had to make... Read more


Navigating the Pandemic with Resiliency, Resources, Flexibility and a Sense of Purpose

April 29, 2021

By Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice-President, Human ResourcesI recently gave a presentation to an external audience of managers, leaders and HR and Health and Safety professionals on the topic of resiliency in the face of adversity. When I reflect on the last 13 months at VIU I... Read more

VIU Employees Retiring


April 29, 2021

Wishing VIU Retirees Well!We wanted to take a moment to recognize a special group of VIU employees who are heading into their retirement between April 30 and June 30, 2021. These individuals have contributed greatly to VIU’s culture and the success of our students for years and even... Read more


Hiccups and Hope: Returning to Campus After Months Away

April 29, 2021

By Alyson Winks, Internal Communications Advisor The Tuesday morning after September 2020 long weekend was a busy one. For the first time in six months, three of the four members of my family were scheduled to be somewhere by a certain time. Lunches required packing, breakfasts... Read more

Word Cloud MED Conference

Scaling up and Shifting online: 10th Annual MED Research Conference

April 29, 2021

Each spring Dr. Rachel Moll, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education, organizes and hosts the MED Research Conference so second-year VIU Master of Education (M.Ed) students who are working on their theses can share their work. It also provides first-year M.Ed students a chance to... Read more


BSN Students Make Positive Impact on Opioid Crisis

April 29, 2021

By Pat Woods, Nursing InstructorLast year, 2020, was British Columbia's deadliest in relation to drug overdoses, with 1,716 people dying due to illicit drug use -- a 74 percent increase over the 2019 number of deaths. To raise awareness and provide training and resources, third... Read more

New Online Learning Opportunity for VIU Employees

April 29, 2021

VIU recently announced a partnership with LinkedIn Learning, giving all employees access to the LinkedIn Learning platform. This is the closest thing there is to an actual learning party, especially during COVID times.The LinkedIn Learning educational platform takes professional and... Read more

Irlanda Gonzalez-Price, Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs

Student Affairs shows its Compassion during Pandemic

February 26, 2021

It would be an understatement to suggest that the pandemic has presented unique challenges for Student Affairs. Characterized by providing high-touch services to students with a variety of needs, the department has seen the worst of what the pandemic has had to offered, and in many... Read more

Complete List: Long Service Honourees for 2020

February 26, 2021

This year, we are celebrating our 2020 long service honourees a bit differently than in years past. As we aren’t able to have a reception (or coconut prawns) at this time, we are recognizing all 116 employees in this edition of VIU Voices. These employees have all dedicated 10, 15,... Read more

Jane Cole, VIU Professor, Art and Design

Five Questions with Jane Cole, Professor in Art and Design

February 26, 2021

The year 2020 marked 45 years as an educator at Vancouver Island University for Jane Cole. She has been a professor of painting, drawing, design and art history throughout that time. As she reflects on her years of service, her continued passion for art and teaching is palpable,... Read more

Josephine Chong Celebrates 35 years of Dedicated Service to VIU

February 26, 2021

Josephine Chong has been an important member of the VIU community for 35 years. Hers is a familiar face to anyone who visits the Faculty of Trades and Applied Technology, and the Culinary Arts department in particular. She supports students and employees as a program assistant whose... Read more

Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science LEED Gold Certified

VIU’s Two Newest Buildings Achieve LEED Gold Certification

February 26, 2021

Vancouver Island University’s two newest buildings are now internationally recognized as “green” buildings.The Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science and Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre both recently received official certification from the Canada Green Building... Read more


What is Talent Acquisition and What Does it Have in Common with a Popular 80s Sitcom?

February 25, 2021

By Debra Jacklin, Manager of Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention Strategies, long-time employee, former VIU (Malaspina) student (dates not available)VIU’s office of Talent Acquisition is home to one of the longest job titles on campus: Manager of Talent Acquisition,... Read more

Anti-Racism Education List

February 3, 2021

Want to take some action in understanding anti-black racism and its legacies? Check out this education list provided to us by our CUPE local 1858 from the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Spoke of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. Thank you CUPE! Also, follow the CUPE 1858 Facebook page for... Read more


T’was the Week Before Christmas (VIU Version)

December 22, 2020

By Rose von Schilling, Program AssistantAdapted extensively from “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore Public domain, intended for private entertainment only, so not covered by copyright protection T’was the week before ChristmasAnd all through the hallsNot a... Read more

VIU Working Remotely Chronicles: Holiday Edition

December 18, 2020

As we head into our semester break, we thought it would be a nice time to share some of our favourite winter holiday traditions, moments and wishes. We know this season looks different than in years past but, however you celebrate, we wish you a restful and... Read more

Aly mask selfie

Reflections on 2020 from the VIU Voices Editor

December 18, 2020

By Alyson Winks, Internal Communications AdvisorOne of the things I like most about my role as Internal Communications Advisor at VIU is the variety of people with whom I get to work. As such, we have decided to create an editor’s column that will run in every other issue of VIU... Read more



December 18, 2020

Let's celebrate our accomplishments! Send us your career milestones, accolades, awards and educational achievements. If you know of a bashful colleague who has something to celebrate, send it to us at We want to begin by acknowledging all 32 recipients of... Read more

Eldercollege 2021

VIU ELDERCOLLEGE: Where Wisdom Meets Knowledge

December 17, 2020

By Regan McKeever, Program Coordinator  VIU ElderCollege has reinvented itself! The fall ​session was an overwhelming success with 45 courses exclusively online, via Zoom. While the technology is still a challenge for some seniors, the opportunities to connect with friends and... Read more

The Share Drive Podcast

December 17, 2020

Three New EpisodesDr. Kathleen Bortolin, and Anwen Burke, both of whom are Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialists in the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) have been hard at work producing three new episodes of the Share Drive Podcast to help enhance,... Read more


HR Corner: How is my Pay Determined?

December 16, 2020

An exploration of factors that govern pay range decisions, with Patricia Elliott.Have you ever wondered just how your rate of pay is decided? Why one role is paid at a certain rate while others are at a different rate? Strap in and we’ll explore the topic of determining pay ranges... Read more

President's and Provost's Awards for Excellence Celebration Program

December 3, 2020

Presenters in Order of AppearanceEmcee and Presenter of the President's Awards for Service Excellence: Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice-President, Human ResourcesElder Welcome: Geraldine Manson, VIU ElderOpening Remarks: Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-ChancellorOpening... Read more


#VIUSpidey Brings Halloween and Happiness to Quiet Campus

October 28, 2020

Any little thing that can lift spirits and help people feel connected is important right now. That belief was the driving force behind the 12-foot spider in its web that is currently perched on top of Building 120 at the bottom of the Nanaimo Campus, just off Fourth Street.It is a... Read more

Martin Martens synchronous delivery

Tips and Tricks for Synchronous and Asynchronous Course Delivery

October 28, 2020

We know there are a variety of ways to approach online teaching and learning, and just as each instructor develops their own style, techniques and best practices to deliver face-to-face instruction, the same process occurs online.Even within departments, professors are choosing... Read more

Nona Brack, BSN professor, VIU

Taking some stress out of Online Course Development

October 28, 2020

Kathleen Bortolin and Anwen Burk, both Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialists in the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, produce a podcast called the Share Drive, which is all about sharing inspiring, helpful, interesting strategies, stories and tips from VIU’s... Read more

Whitney Wood Women's Pain

Women’s History Month at VIU

October 28, 2020

When it comes to Women’s History Month, VIU has a lot to celebrate as well as a lot to reflect on. The accomplishments of women are everywhere around the institution. From senior leadership in administration, across the academy, throughout all offices and initiatives, as more than... Read more

Gender and History VIU

Women’s History Month: Healing and Caring

October 28, 2020

Vancouver Island University researchers are shining a spotlight on the ways in which gender has played a consistent role in determining what forms of healing and caring are recognized, institutionalized and rewarded.VIU’s Dr. Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, Dr. Cathryn Spence, Dr. Katharine... Read more

Dr. Eve Stringham, Dean, Science and Technology

Q&A with Dr. Eve Stringham, Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology

October 28, 2020

Dr. Eve Stringham joined Vancouver Island University as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology on June 1, 2020. Despite having little access to VIU’s campuses and facilities, she has grasped the reigns of her faculty with enthusiasm, vision and empathy as she leads her... Read more

Photo by Gerd Altmann


October 19, 2020

We are so happy to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our colleagues! If you have something you want us to share, please send your items to Check out the list for this issue below. Forestry StudentsA team of students from VIU's two-year Forestry... Read more

Bill Beese VIU awards

Forestry Professor Bill Beese Wins Scientific Achievement Award

October 5, 2020

Congratulations! Bill Beese, a VIU Forestry Department Professor and Forest Ecologist, recently received the Canadian Forest Scientific Achievement Award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF-IFC).The award recognizes “individuals who have made... Read more

Zoom fatigue

Back by Popular Demand: Work Well-being Practices

October 1, 2020

This time of year is traditionally busy at VIU, throw a pandemic in the mix and it can get overwhelming quickly. With that in mind, we wanted to remind everyone about the work-related well-being practices the Human Resources Department shared in the summer. While it can be hard to... Read more

An Unusual Start to an Unusual Semester

September 15, 2020

I want to welcome you all back to an unusual fall semester after an unusual summer break. I know the messages about uncharted territory have become cliché as we head into a semester of yet more “firsts.” Getting to the execution point of all these “firsts” has been a... Read more

VIU’s ongoing response to the Black Lives Matter movement and racism in our community

June 8, 2020

 Submitted by Irlanda Price, Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs and Monica Kay, Director of VIU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office  Over the past week we have had many conversations with students and employees, and know many others in our community are... Read more

VIU Working Remotely Chronicles: Our Favourite Things

June 8, 2020

June's Working Remotely Chronicles is about our favourite things of working from home. Whether it's a lunch time walk with a furry friend, the view from the home office, or flowers from the garden, our community shows some of the best parts of each day.  Read more

Strategic Plan

Our Community’s Thoughts on VIU’s Strengths

June 8, 2020

By Alison Van Rooy, Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional InitiativesIn this article, I’d like to give an update to the VIU community about the progress so far in our engagement around The Future We Want to See, the conversation to help VIU craft its new strategic... Read more


Welcoming New Employees

June 8, 2020

We are so glad to welcome all VIU employees who have received their first regular appointment since January, 2020. We sincerely hope you are all settling into your roles well and finding VIU to be a fun, supportive place to work. Gerri McEwenKristin SmartEmber CathersMegan... Read more

Community Classroom

VIU Launches Digital Platform to Share Knowledge and Expertise

June 8, 2020

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of many face-to-face activities, members of the VIU community have gotten creative, designing a range of virtual at-home activities and experiences to replace in-person activities, lectures and other educational events planned.To... Read more

Strategic Marketing Zoom

Strategic Marketing is here to Help with Summer and Fall Projects

June 8, 2020

By Shari Bishop Bowes, Manager, Strategic Marketing  Hello out there to our colleagues across VIU who continue to work from home! The Strategic Marketing team, like most employees at VIU, has settled into remote work and we just wanted to share a hearty shout-out to you... Read more

Global Engagement

Global Engagement During a Pandemic

June 8, 2020

Darrell Harvey, VIU’s International Projects and Internationalization Coordinator, has been working some strange hours as of late. He manages VIU’s Global Engagement team and is responsible for VIU’s international co-operation projects in far-flung countries around the world... Read more


An “All My Relations” Approach to Supporting Indigenous Learners at VIU

June 8, 2020

By Heather Burke, Learning Facilitator  A series of encouraging learning practices coming forward from five program areas within the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement are informing a united planning process including an integrated learning series for VIU’s... Read more

All-Gender Washroom Renovations to be Completed this Summer

June 8, 2020

From the Library Services Team  We are excited to share that renovations to create the first multi-stall all-gender washrooms on the VIU Nanaimo campus are now underway and expected to be completed this summer. The washrooms will be in the high-demand, high-traffic area in... Read more

Nominate a Colleague for the President's Awards

June 8, 2020

There's still time to nominate a deserving colleague or team of colleagues for two sets of VIU recognition awards. Applications for the service excellence awards are due June 15. Deadline for the access and inclusion awards is June 30. President's Awards for Service... Read more

IT's Ask Me Anything

June 8, 2020

Have you ever wanted to get the entire IT department into a room and ask them anything you like? Are you willing to settle for 4-6 members of the IT department? We have the room for you! Or rather, a virtual room. In true Ask Me Anything style, we have no planned theme, just a... Read more

HR Corner: Working Remotely Survey, Personal and Professional Wellness

June 8, 2020

On Tuesday afternoon, all VIU employees received an email from Dan VanderSluis, Associate-Vice President, Human Resources about a survey on working remotely. Please be sure to fill out the survey by the deadline - June 30, 2020. The survey is anonymous and each employee received a... Read more


Homewood Health: Managing the Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis

June 8, 2020

This article can be found in the Articles section of your Homewood Health account, which is available to all VIU employees.An aide to support yourself, other employees and family members as a result of the questions and possible anxiety that has arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.... Read more

work from home

Homewood Health: COVID-19: Virtual Workplaces, the New Norm

June 8, 2020

This article can be found in the Articles section of your Homewood Health account, which is available to all VIU employees.Could remote working be the new normal for work workplaces? We’re getting a taste of what that looks and feels like right now.As we publish this article, a... Read more

Transformational Leadership Professional Development

Homewood Health: Health-Promoting Leadership Strategies

June 8, 2020

This article can be found in the Articles section of your Homewood Health account, which is available to all VIU employees.Despite the fact there is a strong correlation between productivity and health promoting strategies, not all workplaces are implementing them. In 2011, Homewood... Read more

VIU's Working Remotely Chronicles

April 16, 2020

On Monday March 17, we were asked to work remotely as much as possible and by the end of the following week, everyone who could was working off campus. This was the beginning of our new reality and VIU employees set about creating their new temporary work spaces away from the office... Read more

Supporting our People

April 16, 2020

A Column by Dan VanderSluis, Associate Vice-President, Human Resources We are a month into the COVID-19 health crisis and its profound impact on our VIU Community. We use the phrase VIU Community a lot, and I hope that you feel you are a meaningful part of this community. The... Read more

Q & A with Lidia Surman, Chief of Staff, President's Office

April 16, 2020

When Lidia Surman decided to accept the position of Chief of Staff to the President, she couldn’t possibly have imagined she would be relocating and beginning a vital role at VIU in the midst of a pandemic. Her first weeks on the job were filled with emergency meetings and her... Read more

How the Emergency Operations Centre Works

April 16, 2020

When emergencies come knocking at Vancouver Island University’s door, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is activated to respond and make sure that all aspects of the institution are considered as the situation evolves. Its structure and operations follow best practices outlined... Read more

President's Awards for Service Excellence Open for Nominations

April 16, 2020

The announcement below went out on Wednesday, April 15, announcing the new set of awards for VIU employees. Please consider nominating a worthy colleague or team of colleagues. Dear VIU employees,I am happy to share with you some great news, and to confirm commitment to our... Read more

Recipients of the 2020 Provost's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Design and Practice

April 16, 2020

The following announcement was made by Dr. Carol Stuart, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, on April 2. Congratulations to the recipients!It is my great pleasure to announce the 2020 winners of the Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Design and Practice.Teaching... Read more

Transformational Leadership Professional Development

The President's Awards for Community Engagement and the Provost's Awards for Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity Open for Nominations

April 16, 2020

In 2018, Vancouver Island University established awards to celebrate excellence in community engagement and scholarship, research and creative activity to complement the existing awards for excellence in teaching design and practice. These awards align with the institution's... Read more

Keeping Up Team Morale While Working Remotely

April 16, 2020

As we settle into working remotely, teams across the university are coming up with creative and funny ways to maintain and build important ties and relationships with colleagues.We checked in with a few areas across VIU to find out what they are doing (if you have any other ideas... Read more

Stronger Minds by BEACON Supports Mental Health Available to All Canadians

April 16, 2020

Stronger Minds by BEACON is a free digital program available to support all Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Stronger Minds participants have access to day-to-day guidance from the extensive BEACON team of clinical psychologists. You are provided with resources... Read more

Dr. Deb Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor

Have Coffee with the President or Share Your Favourite Video on Social

April 16, 2020

The VIU Communications and Public Engagement team has worked with the President's Office to create two new ways for you to connect with colleagues and possibly even get to know people you have never met face-to-face. They were announced in the COVID-19 updates and are... Read more

Webinar: How the Pandemic Has Affected Rental Housing Laws

April 16, 2020

The office of Homestay and Off-Campus Housing is offering a free webinar for all VIU students and employees on April 16, Thursday, 3 - 4:30 pm.The webinar will be facilitated by the Public Legal Education Coordinator at Tenant Resource & Advisory... Read more