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Overview

Learning MethodsMajor FocusThe AC DifferenceCareer Outlook

Learning Methods

We use a wide variety of effective teaching strategies, including whole-class and small-group discussions, lectures, and audio-visual presentations, to accommodate the learning styles of all our students.

Major Focus

The mission of the Alexander College English Department is to teach students how to write expository and persuasive texts fluently and effectively and to read literature and academic texts actively and critically.

The AC Difference

The content, assignments, teaching styles, and assessment methods of our English courses reflect our commitment to and empathy for our demographic of mainly of international students.

Career Outlook

Employers, in virtually every field, list excellent speaking and writing skills as prerequisites for hiring their applicants and promoting their employees.

Course Descriptions

Select a course below to see full descriptions. (#) Indicates amount of credits per course

ENGL 100 Strategies for University Writing (3)

This course focuses on the study and application of academic discourse. Students will learn how to generate ideas, research a topic, compose a thesis, plan, draft, revise, and edit various genres of academic discourse, including the expository and persuasive essay, rhetorical analysis, literary analysis, scholarly research essay, review of previous research, and examination/in-class essay. The course also helps students improve the speaking, active reading, and critical thinking skills and abilities, necessary for success in college and university courses.

*All ENGL 100 course seats are reserved for full-time students of Alexander College, on a first-come-first-served basis.

Prerequisite(s):

ENGL 12 (C) or ENGL 099 (C)

Transfers to:

UBC WRDS 150 (3)
SFU ENGL 199 (3), W
UVIC ATWP 135 (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 170 (3)
TRU ENGL 1100 (3)

ENGL 101 Introduction to Fiction (3)

The aim of English 101 is to help students understand and appreciate works of fiction, especially short stories, novels, and novellas. Students will learn the elements of fiction, including plot, theme, character, style, symbolism, point-of-view, and form. They will learn how the authors of the works they study were influenced by the historical and socio-cultural context within which the authors worked. Students will apply this knowledge to a range of stories and novels to deepen their understanding and determine how the works they study are relevant to their own life and time.

Prerequisite(s):

ENGL 100

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 1st (3)
SFU ENGL 1XX (3), W/B-Hum
UVIC ACWR 1XX (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 103 (3)
TRU ENGL 1110 (3)

ENGL 102 Introduction to Poetry (3)

ENGL 102 is a first-year college/university course, designed to help students understand and appreciate poetry. Students will learn, write about, and discuss the elements of poetry — form, theme, metaphor, imagery, symbolism — and will consider the enduring social and personal relevance of significant poetry.

Prerequisite(s):

ENGL 100

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 1st (3)
SFU ENGL 1XX (3), B-Hum
UVIC ACWR 1XX (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 102 (3)
TRU ENGL 1120 (3)

ENGL 103 Introduction to Drama (3)

ENGL 103 is a first-year college/university course, designed to help students understand and appreciate plays, especially tragedy and comedy. Students will learn, write about and discuss the elements of drama — form, plot, theme, character, set design — and will consider the enduring social and personal relevance of dramatic literature.

Prerequisite(s):

ENGL 100

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 1st (3)
SFU ENGL 1XX (3), B-Hum
UVIC ACWR 1XX (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 104 (3)
TRU ENGL 1140 (3)

ENGL 110 Introduction to Creative Writing (3)

The aim of this course is to help students learn the fundamentals of the process of writing fiction, poetry, and drama (including screenplays). Students will share their work in small groups and tutorials to consider constructive criticism. Students will read, discuss, and analyze exemplary works by professional authors. The course will include instruction and practice in writing creatively for digital media, including blogs and websites.

Prerequisite(s):

ENGL 100

Transfers to:

SFU ENGL 1XX (3)
UNBC ENGL 271 (3)
UVIC WRIT 1XX (1.5)
TRU ENGL 1150 (3)

ENGL 220 English Literature to the 18th Century (3)

ENGL 220 is a second year college/university course, that is an examination of the works of major English writers of prose, poetry, and drama from the 14th century to the 18th century.

Prerequisite(s):

Six credits of first-year English

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 220 (3)
SFU ENGL 203 (3) or SFU ENGL 205 (3), B-Hum
UVIC ENGL 200A (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 211 (3)
TRU ENGL 2110 (3)

ENGL 221 English Literature from the 18th Century to the Present (3)

ENGL 221 is a second year college/university course, that is a survey of poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction prose from the 18th century to the present.

Prerequisite(s):

Six credits of first-year English

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 221 (3)
SFU ENGL 206 (3), B-Hum
UVIC ENGL 200B (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 211 (3)
TRU ENGL 2210 (3)

ENGL 222 Canadian Literature (3)

ENGL 222 is a second year college/university course, that is a study of major genres of Canadian writing: fiction, poetry, non-fictional prose, and drama.

Prerequisite(s):

Six credits of first-year English

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 222 (3)
SFU ENGL 2XX (3)
UVIC ENGL 202 (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 212 (3)
TRU ENGL 2270 (3)

ENGL 223 Novels into Films (3)

English 223 is designed to help students analyze, understand, and appreciate novels and their film adaptations. Students will learn the elements of fiction—plot, theme, character, setting, symbolism, point-of-view, style—and the elements of film—plot, theme, character, setting, symbolism, cinematography, lighting, acting, sound, directing—and how to apply these elements to enhance enjoyment and understanding. Students will read / view and compare and contrast a variety of novels and their film adaptations.

Prerequisite(s):

6 credits of first-year English

Transfers to:

UBC ENGL 246 (3)
SFU ENGL 2XX (3)
UVIC ENGL 2XX (1.5)
UNBC ENGL 2XX (3)
TRU ENGL 2190 (3)

ENGL 224 Studies in Science Fiction Literature (3)

This course focuses on science fiction as a literary genre that not only entertains but also informs and enlightens, helping us understand how advances in science and technology can either enhance or undermine social progress, human rights, and democracy. This course is designed to help students study, analyze, appreciate, and enjoy science fiction literature. The course also considers how science fiction literature imagines and might even predict the future.

Prerequisite(s):

6 credits of first-year English

Transfers to:

UBCV ENGL 243 (3)
SFU ENGL 2XX (3)
UNBC ENGL 2XX (3)
UVIC ENGL 2XX (1.5)
TRU ENGL 2XXX (3), Precludes credit for TRU ENGL 3170 (3)

Faculty

English Department


Derek Soles (PhD, MA, BA)

Department Head

Derek Soles (PhD, MA, BA)

Department Head

Derek Soles has a PhD in English education, from the University of Victoria, and many years experience as an English professor, writing program director, and department head at several colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S., most recently at UBC.

He is the author of several textbooks, including The Essentials of Academic Writing. Derek’s teaching style is eclectic but based mainly upon his belief that learning should be fun.

Bethany Suvak (MEd, MA, BA Honours)

Instructor

Bethany Suvak (MEd, MA, BA Honours)

Instructor

Bethany Suvak completed her B.A. Honours and Master’s degree in English at Simon Fraser University (2010, 2012) where she discovered her passion for teaching as a TA for several undergraduate courses. She also has a Master’s in Education specializing in languages and diversity from the University of Calgary (2016). She has been teaching at Alexander College since 2017.

She is passionate about skills-based learning, favouring an active learning approach for her students. Bethany always strives to help her students gain confidence when approaching their English language and composition tasks, with an appreciation of how these skills are valuable and applicable both in other scholarly settings and outside of school.

Bethany is also a certified in TESL and as an Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Facilitator.

Graeme Abernethy (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Graeme Abernethy (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Graeme Abernethy has more than ten years of university teaching experience in Britain, Canada, and Nigeria.

He has published numerous academic articles on the politics of literary and visual representation, as well as a book, The Iconography of Malcolm X (2013).

His teaching emphasizes diversity and interdisciplinarity, drawing from literary and cultural studies and encouraging the development of a broad range of communication and critical thinking skills.

He completed his PhD (English) in 2011 at University College London.

Martin Behr (MA, BA)

Instructor

Martin Behr (MA, BA)

Instructor

Martin Behr has been teaching Academic Writing and English Literature for over 20 years and has taught at Alexander College since 2010.

Throughout his career, he has taught at a number of post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States.

He graduated with a MA in English from McGill University (1992) and a BA in English from Simon Fraser University (1990). He has authored a number of scholarly publications, including a book entitled Critical Moments in the Rhetoric of Kenneth Burke: Implications for Composition.

His teaching methods draw from scholarship in rhetoric and composition, genre theory, and literary studies, and focus primarily on approaching writing as a process, critical thinking, and collaborative learning. Martin’s passion for teaching makes him dedicated to the success of his students and to the rich learning environment at Alexander College.

Samuel Cutting (PhD, MA, Post Graduate Certificate in Education, BA)

Instructor

Samuel Cutting (PhD, MA, Post Graduate Certificate in Education, BA)

Instructor

Sam has been teaching for over ten years in a variety of post-secondary institutions, including the University of Brighton in the UK. He has taught a wide variety of English courses and has written pedagogical articles for The Use of English and the English & Media Centre.

Sam’s teaching focuses on student voice and emphasizes the importance of collaboration in reading, writing and thinking.

Sam received his PhD from the University of Brighton in 2019.

Sarah Brown (MA, BA)

Instructor

Sarah Brown (MA, BA)

Instructor

Sarah Brown has taught English at Alexander College since 2019. Previously, she taught at Concordia University in Montreal, where she completed her graduate degree in English and Creative Writing. She also has experience in business writing, technical writing, and scriptwriting.

Sarah’s teaching style is influenced by cultural and gender studies, drawing connections between literature and lived experiences. She fosters a creative and collaborative learning environment for her students.

Outside the classroom, Sarah’s fiction writing has been published across Canada and nominated for the national Bronwen Wallace Award and Journey Prize.

Tamar Harris (MFA, MA, BA)

Instructor

Tamar Harris (MFA, MA, BA)

Instructor

Tamar has taught English composition and literature in Vancouver for five years, focusing on students who are not native English speakers.

Having studied and worked in five countries, she is multilingual and attuned to cultural differences. She enjoys teaching students to express themselves clearly and to experience literary art as fully as possible.

Tamar’s writing projects include fiction and creative non-fiction. In addition, she has 15 years of experience in corporate communications.Tamar earned BA and MA degrees in English Literature from Swarthmore College and Yale University. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Tomasz Michalak (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Tomasz Michalak (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Tomasz Michalak has been teaching university writing and literature at Alexander College since 2009. He has a PhD from the English Department at UBC where he taught as an instructor and was a TA in the English, Civil Engineering, and CENES departments.

Tomasz moved permanently to Canada in 1989. He started as an international student by taking 1st year college and university courses at Langara College and SFU where he completed a BA and an MA in English.

His teaching style promotes creativity, critical thinking, and cultural integration.

Garrett Peck (MA, BA Honours)

Instructor

Garrett Peck (MA, BA Honours)

Instructor

Garrett Peck has been teaching English for 15 years, first in Taiwan as an ESL instructor and for the past 10 years at several post-secondary institutions in Vancouver.

He has been an instructor at Alexander College since 2009 and formerly served as the English Department Coordinator.

Garrett has received both a BA and an MA in English from SFU and spent four years working on his PhD in English at UBC. Garrett is interested in Victorian literature, travel writing, and the rhetoric of science, and has published several academic articles in these research areas.

Kate O’Neill (PhD, MA, BA, Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling)

Instructor

Kate O’Neill (PhD, MA, BA, Diploma of Transpersonal Counselling)

Instructor

Kate O’Neill completed her undergraduate and Master’s degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario between 1999-2006, and her PhD. at the University of Calgary, 2007-2012.
She has been teaching at Alexander College since 2013.

Her academic interests are politically and socially motivated; her teaching style is high-energy and creative. Kate’s students learn to express their original ideas with structure and confidence.

Bhuvinder Singh Vaid (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Bhuvinder Singh Vaid (PhD, MA, BA)

Instructor

Bhuvinder Singh Vaid (aka Beev) holds a PhD in Philosophy of Education from Simon Fraser University, specializing in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Higher Education contexts.

His academic background is varied, having lectured at Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University on educational philosophy and sociology, transitional skills and thinking for new post-secondary students, as well as children’s literature, curriculum development, conceptual design thinking, and academic writing.

A passionate teacher, he draws deeply on his research to engage students in interactive thought experiments to further their own understanding as life-long learners.

Neha Soni Arora (MEd, MA, BA Honors)

Instructor

Neha Soni Arora (MEd, MA, BA Honors)

Instructor

Neha has been working around the English language for more than ten years, supporting diverse learner groups, including corporate sectors and young learners. She has been facilitating academic skills classrooms at Alexander College for three years and started working with short fiction about a year ago.

She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education and completed her Master’s in Education specializing in Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL), both from SFU. Additionally, Neha holds master’s degrees in Literature, Linguistics and History, respectively from India. Neha is also a certified TESL instructor.

Neha believes teaching is a meaning-making, interactive process where the facilitator and learners participate equally to pose questions, seek answers and take action. Her teaching philosophy involves supporting the learners through love, care, mutual trust and knowledge, facilitating activities that encourage interaction and respectful participation. Her facilitating methods focus on approaching learning as a process, drawing from knowledge not just from books but from the diversity carried by people and cultures.

Simon Binder (MA, MEd, BA, TESL)

Instructor

Simon Binder (MA, MEd, BA, TESL)

Instructor

Simon Binder has been teaching English internationally and domestically for over ten years. He received his undergraduate degree and TESL certification from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2011, and has since taught in Japan, Korea, India, Germany, and of course, Canada. Simon completed his graduate work at UBC (MEd) and abroad in Germany at the University of Freiburg (MA), with a focus on student engagement and the student-centered classroom, and postcolonialism in literature, respectively.

He is committed to the ideology of an authentically intersectional and multicultural educational community, as well as the necessity of anti-racist / anti-sexist / anti-colonial / community-based educational practices. He also strongly believes in the importance of lifelong learning, critical thinking, ongoing research into and adoption of Indigenous educational principles, and ecological narratives in the classroom and beyond.

EAP Department


Gerry Tillman (MATESOL, TESOL, BA)

Associate Head

Gerry Tillman (MATESOL, TESOL, BA)

Associate Head

Gerry Tillman received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

He has been teaching ESL in the lower mainland since 1999. He joined Alexander College in 2008 as an instructor of 098 and 099 in the EAP program.

Since joining Alexander College Gerry has established himself as a direct and interactive instructor. He has a traditional yet innovative style in the classroom.

Ericka Scott (MA, BA, TESOL)

EAP Instructor

Ericka Scott (MA, BA, TESOL)

EAP Instructor

Erika Scott completed her B.A. (Honours) in Political Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, and her M.A. (Public Administration) at Carleton University in Ottawa.

She received her TESOL Certificate from Vancouver Community College after a volunteer commitment with a school-based literacy program sparked a passion for discovering the best ways to help students learn.

She has been teaching EAP at Alexander College since 2011, as well as helping students individually in the Writing and Learning Centre.

Gregg Starr (MA, BA)

EAP Instructor

Gregg Starr (MA, BA)

EAP Instructor

Greg has been teaching English for almost thirty years, as a classroom instructor and tutor. Before joining the EAP department at Alexander College in 2015 and the English department in 2021, Greg taught at Vancouver Community College for four years. He also taught workplace writing skills to the staff of various UN agencies including the UN High Commission for Refugees, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization.

Greg received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature from York University, and his Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. Greg is interested in African American, Indigenous and post-colonial literature and he uses an interactive, student-centered teaching approach.

Jordana Peters (MA, BA)

Instructor

Jordana Peters (MA, BA)

Instructor

Jordana Peters completed a B.A. in English and History at Simon Fraser University and her M.A. in English, also at SFU.

Jordana has been working with students in various capacities for years. She worked in Lithuania at the Summer Language Institute with international students from over 50 countries. She also worked for two years as a Teaching Assistant at SFU, where she further developed her love of teaching and her philosophy of education.

Her teaching style is student oriented and holistic with a focus on connecting students to the material and its real-world implications.

Neha Soni Arora (MEd, MA, BA Honors)

Instructor

Neha Soni Arora (MEd, MA, BA Honors)

Instructor

Neha has been working around the English language for more than ten years, supporting diverse learner groups, including corporate sectors and young learners. She has been facilitating academic skills classrooms at Alexander College for three years and started working with short fiction about a year ago.

She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education and completed her Master’s in Education specializing in Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL), both from SFU. Additionally, Neha holds master’s degrees in Literature, Linguistics and History, respectively from India. Neha is also a certified TESL instructor.

Neha believes teaching is a meaning-making, interactive process where the facilitator and learners participate equally to pose questions, seek answers and take action. Her teaching philosophy involves supporting the learners through love, care, mutual trust and knowledge, facilitating activities that encourage interaction and respectful participation. Her facilitating methods focus on approaching learning as a process, drawing from knowledge not just from books but from the diversity carried by people and cultures.

Simon Binder (MA, MEd, BA, TESL)

Instructor

Simon Binder (MA, MEd, BA, TESL)

Instructor

Simon Binder has been teaching English internationally and domestically for over ten years. He received his undergraduate degree and TESL certification from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2011, and has since taught in Japan, Korea, India, Germany, and of course, Canada. Simon completed his graduate work at UBC (MEd) and abroad in Germany at the University of Freiburg (MA), with a focus on student engagement and the student-centered classroom, and postcolonialism in literature, respectively.

He is committed to the ideology of an authentically intersectional and multicultural educational community, as well as the necessity of anti-racist / anti-sexist / anti-colonial / community-based educational practices. He also strongly believes in the importance of lifelong learning, critical thinking, ongoing research into and adoption of Indigenous educational principles, and ecological narratives in the classroom and beyond.

Cheryl Materi (MATESOL, TESOL, BA)

Instructor

Cheryl Materi (MATESOL, TESOL, BA)

Instructor

Cheryl Materi studied Contemporary English Literature at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She began teaching English in China in 2008 then returned to Canada to complete the MATESOL program at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. After teaching again in China, Cheryl returned to Canada and moved to Vancouver where she has been teaching at various institutions since 2015. Cheryl has been at Alexander College since 2020, teaching EASL, UPRE, and tutoring in the WLC.

Resources

The Alexander College WLC

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University

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