CHASI Faculty Associates

The Community Health and Social Innovation (CHASI) Hub is privileged to work with the following UFV faculty members

 

 

 

 

 

 


Headshot of Dr. Mariano Mapili, CHASI Faculty Associate in physical geography, biogeography, and agriculture.

Dr. Mariano Mapili
Associate Professor
Physical Geography/Biogeography and Agriculture

Dr. Mapili is an associate professor of Physical Geography/Biogeography and Agriculture at the School of Land Use and Environmental Change (SLUEC). In his teaching and research, Dr. Mapili employs his training in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

When his training and teaching in environmental issues was combined with his experience in community outreach and extension to supervise student research, the results were three consecutive years (2018, 2019, and 2020) of UFV Community Service Research Awards for his students. Under his supervision, 2020’s winners also received the two highest awards of Abbotsford CityStudio. Dr. Mapili developed three GIS undergraduate courses at UFV, is the current GIS Programs Coordinator of SLUEC, and is preparing three GIS Associate Certificates, including the Associate GIS Certificate in Community Health Mapping.

Before joining UFV, Dr. Mapili led the Natural Resources Diploma Program for Aboriginal Students in Northern Saskatchewan, through contracts with Northlands College in Buffalo Narrows and with Montreal Lake First Nations, with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science in Technology (SIAST), resulting in his receiving the 2006 SIAST President’s Excellence Award. From the ranks of an agricultural extension worker, Dr. Mapili rose to become a Deputy Director of Extension and BIDANI (Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement). The years of outstanding community outreach, community organizing, planning, and training resulted in the position of Director for Planning at the Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA), in the Philippines.

Dr. Mapili is happy to join CHASI in research activities that draw from his training in agricultural, animal, and food sciences, as well as his community outreach experiences, to develop strategies and technologies that promote environmental health and resiliency in the communities of the Fraser Valley.


Headshot of Dr. Evan T. Taylor, CHASI Faculty Associate from the School of Social Work & Human Services.

Dr. Evan T. Taylor
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work & Human Services

Dr. Taylor is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work & Human Services, part of UFV’s Faculty of Professional Studies. Dr. Taylor’s work in community-based research and population health is informed by 15 years of experience in the field of social work, and a commitment to social justice, client-centred practice, and the development of culturally effective practices with marginalized populations. Informed by Structural Competency and Institutional Ethnography approaches, Dr. Taylor’s research explores the Social Determinants of Health and the ways that systems narrate and shape the health care experiences and decision-making of marginalized populations — specifically focussing on sexuality and gender-diverse communities. They are currently the co-lead for Queering Cancer — a CIHR-funded project developing online cancer support resources designed by/for marginalized patients.


Headshot of Dr. Cherie Enns, CHASI Faculty Associate from the school of land use and environmental change.

Dr. Cherie Enns
Associate Professor
School of Land Use and Environmental Change

Dr. Cherie Enns, RPP, is an associate professor in the School of Land Use and Environmental Change and Global Development Studies at UFV. She is a registered urban planner and experienced educator with extensive experience engaging internationally. She has initiated and led international projects related to child rights, food systems, sustainable development goals (SDGs), urban planning policy, and youth engagement.

Dr. Enns has experience managing programs, mobilizing resources, and working on child-rights and food security projects in several countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia, and India. She has more recently led several humanitarian projects within the Eastern Africa Community. Cherie also leads a Universities Canada international internship program, focusing on food systems and urban policy, and manages an online e-learning platform that includes applied courses in human rights and food systems to youth based in the global south.

Dr. Enns has also led projects related to refugee claimants, homelessness, and child rights within British Columbia. She holds an MA in Community and Regional Planning (UBC) and a Ph.D. in International Policy and Program Management at Ardhi Regional University in Tanzania.


Headshot of Dr. Bosu Seo, CHASI Faculty Associate from the economics department.

Dr. Bosu Seo
Associate Professor
Economics

Dr. Seo, a PhD from the University of Minnesota (2008) and a Fulbright scholar, joined the University of the Fraser Valley in 2012. Before joining the Department of Economics, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in CIHR PCONet (Primary Care Oncology Network) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba and a research associate at the Division of Continuing Professional Development, University of Manitoba. Dr. Seo also taught at the College of St. Catherine, USA (Lecturer, 2004-2007) and University of Winnipeg (Visiting scholar, 2010-2011). His research interests are in health economics and applied labour economics, particularly health disparity (gender and race), social determinants of health, economics of cancer, and cancer survivorship. Dr. Seo teaches Econ 352 Technical progress and economics growth; Econ 397 Health Economics; and Econ 398 Development Economics.


Headshot of Dr. Keith Thor Carlson

Dr. Keith Thor Carlson
Canada Research Chair
Indigenous and Community Engaged History

Dr. Carlson is a tier one Canada Research Chair whose innovative and award-winning community-engaged scholarship (CES) is designed in partnership with Indigenous communities to co-create new historical knowledge that answers pressing contemporary questions.

Throughout the 1990s he mentored under Coast Salish knowledge keepers while employed as Historian and Research Coordinator at the Stó:lō Nation. He spent the next eighteen years as a faculty member at the University of Saskatchewan where he designed and launched original CES initiatives with diverse partners to provide undergraduate and graduate students with unique research and learning opportunities. At USask he also supervised 10 PhDs to completion (4 of whom went on to secure tenure-stream appointments).

Individually or with partners Dr. Carlson has authored or edited eight books and over 50 articles, among which are The Twisted Road to Freedom: America’s Granting of Independence to the Philippines (1996), A Stó:lō-Coast Salish Historical Atlas (2001), The Power of Place the Problem of Time: Aboriginal Identity and Historical Consciousness in the Cauldron of Colonialism (2010); and Towards a New Ethnohistory: Community-engaged Scholarship History Among The People of the River (2018).

He has also overseen the design, research, and construction of a unique database that assists the Saskatchewan judiciary ensure that Indigenous people’s Gladue rights are protected when facing criminal sentencing. His scholarship has been translated into three languages, transformed into video documentaries and works of public art, and found expression in expert witness legal reports. Dr. Carlson’s scholarship has helped resolve protracted scholarly and legal problems, and motivated both the Washington State and BC Provincial governments to issue official apologies to Coast Salish people. He was made an honorary member of the Stó:lō Nation in 2001, and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars.

In 2020 Dr. Carlson was appointed Director of the University of the Fraser Valley’s new Peace and Reconciliation Centre. When not researching or teaching he can be found enjoying time with family and friends, wood carving, fishing, and strumming on his guitar.


Headshot of Sharon Gillies

Dr. Sharon Gillies
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Science, Biology

Dr. Gillies is an associate professor of biology at UFV, receiving her PhD from SFU and a post-doctoral fellowship from Agriculture Canada. As a UFV faculty member Dr. Gillies has created several new upper-level courses and has been active in integrating experiential learning into her courses.

She is the author of several research papers and is co-author and editor for three biology books: Field Studies of Seed Biology (1997), Biology on the Cutting Edge: Concepts, Issues, and Canadian Research Around the Globe (2011), and Instructors Handbook for Biology on the Cutting Edge (2011). Dr. Gillies is also the co-author for My River My Home (2014) a book of activities for teachers based on the Fraser River inspired by the My River My Home art and science display at New Westminster Discovery Center.

Her research focuses on two major areas: invasive plant species and freshwater ecology. Sharon actively involves students in her research and students are either lead authors or co-authors for over 50 conference presentations. Dr. Gillies is collaborating with Steven Marsh (UFV) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researching the Fraser River water quality. Her most recent research on the Fraser River includes sampling the river and river banks for microplastics.


Headshot of Karun Karki

Dr. Karun Karki
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work and Human Services

Dr. Karki is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of the Fraser Valley. He holds a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, and a Master of Social Work from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA. Additionally, he has a Master’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in English Literature from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is a recipient of more than a dozen fellowships and scholarships, including the Huel D. Perkins Fellowship Award at Louisiana State University (2012), Laurier Graduate Fellowship (2013-2016), Laurier Graduate Scholarship (2013-2016), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2015, 2018), Metropolis Professional Development Award (2015), Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Scholarship (2015), Social Work Academic Development Award (2016), Social Work Alumni Award (2017), Dr. John Melichercik PhD Social Work Award (2017), and Helmut Braun Memorial Scholarship Award (2017).

His scholarly inquiries are grounded in critical theories, including anti-racism, anti-colonialism, intersectionality, and anti-oppressive social justice praxis. Additionally, informed by postcolonial theory and posthumanism, he is more interested in understanding how biopolitical and necropolitical spaces within the borders of the nation-states govern people and how the state’s sovereign power becomes a persistent recurrence of the process of exclusion and disposition of people in light of today’s urgent issues, including the migration crisis, the rise of populism, homonationalist practices, and state-sanctioned targeting of gender, sexual, racial, and ethnic “others.” He examines these issues through the theoretical bedrocks of biopower (Foucault), necropower (Mbembe), and sovereign power (Agamben). Precisely, his scholarly inquiries investigate the socio-economic and civic inclusion/exclusion of minoritized communities, including immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ+ people in Canada and beyond.

His teaching interests include Social Work philosophy and practice; Anti-oppressive Social Work practice; Social welfare policy; Social Work research; and International Social Work. In his social work practice, he adopts collaborative and community-based approaches that foreground the values of equity, inclusivity, and social justice. His community services include working with diasporic and minoritized communities.


Dr. Luisa Giles
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Kinesiology

Dr. Giles joined the Kinesiology Department at UFV in 2020. Prior to joining UFV, she was a faculty member in the Department of Sport Science at Douglas College and worked as a knowledge translation scientist at the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health. She earned a PhD and an MSc from the University of British Columbia, and a BSc from Staffordshire University in the UK.

Dr. Giles’ main area of research is interdisciplinary and spans the fields of exercise science and environmental health; specifically, her research focuses on air pollution, exercise, and health. Throughout Dr. Giles’ research career knowledge translation has been a pillar in her research approach. She was recently a recipient of a Faculty Mobility Award, through which, she collaborated with colleagues at the University of São Paulo to expand her research.

Currently, Dr. Giles is collaborating with colleagues from the University of British Columbia, the University of the Fraser Valley, the University of São Paulo and the University of Washington on research related to the health effects of air pollution, as well as the ergogenic effects of dietary supplementation on exercise performance.


Dr. Kathleen Rodgers
Assistant Professor
Social, Cultural and Media Studies

Dr. Rodgers completed her BA and PhD in Sociology at McGill University and her MA in Sociology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Rodgers has a wide range of research interests but is interested broadly in the intersections of social movements, digital activism, and social and cultural change. Professor Rodgers’ past projects include the Vietnam War-era American migration to Canada (Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia with UBC Press) and a study of the consequences of neoliberal governance on Feminist organizing in Canada. She is currently working on a project on how social media spaces are reshaping feminist discourses and another on the Indigenization of sociology in Canada.


Dr. Kathy Keiver | Alison Pritchard Orr, MSc
Adjunct Professor | Associate Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Kinesiology

Dr. Keiver is an Adjunct Professor in Kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley, having retired from the department in 2018 after 12 years as Assistant and then Associate Professor. Dr. Keiver completed her BSc at the University of British Columbia (UBC), her MSc and PhD at the University of Guelph in Zoology (physiology and nutrition) and 2 post-doctoral fellowships at UBC. She has been conducting research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) for over 25 years and received the 2018 UFV Research Excellence Award for her contributions.

Pritchard Orr is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley where she has been a faculty member for over 20 years. Pritchard Orr completed her BPE at the University of Ottawa and her MSc at Dalhousie University with a focus on adapted physical activity.

Pritchard Orr’s research focus on FASD began as a collaboration with Dr. C. Bertram in 2003, with Dr. Kathy Keiver joining the research partnership in 2006. Their work focused on the development, implementation and analysis of physical activity interventions for children with FASD. Their main focus has been on the development of a physical activity intervention program, called FAST Club, and the assessment of its effects on motor skills, fitness, and cognitive function.

Dr. Keiver and Pritchard Orr have a strong interest in increasing the accessibility of intervention programs to families of children with FASD. They have established numerous collaborations over the years as their intervention work is seen as both effective and a rarity in FASD research. Their work has also included collaboration with Dr. O. Ipsiroglu (Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children) investigating sleep disturbances in children with FASD. In 2018, Pritchard Orr and Dr. Keiver were co-investigators with colleagues from Queen’s University and Sunny Hill in a multi-site school based exergames intervention. Resulting data suggested a positive effect of exercise on neuropsychological function. Dr. Keiver has also been investigating the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and the ability of exercise interventions to alter those effects.

Dr. Keiver and Pritchard Orr are currently collaborating with Alex Thompson, OT of the Abbotsford School District in investigating the effects of a combined exercise/self-regulation intervention (MYSelf Club) on fitness and executive functioning with children with neurodevelopmental challenges. Specific objectives are to determine the effect of the program on 1) physical literacy/fitness, 2) executive function tests (especially tests of inhibition skills) administered to the child, and 3) teacher’s perceptions of the child’s executive function skills.

Pritchard Orr and Dr. Keiver’s research has been and continues to be supported by legions of talented UFV students who have actively taken part in the running, organizing, data collection and tabulation of the ongoing interventions. Both Pritchard Orr and Dr. Keiver have presented nationally and internationally and have authored and co-authored published papers as well as several published abstracts.


Dr. Geetanjali Gill
Assistant Professor
Global Development Studies

Dr. Gill holds a PhD in International Development Studies from the University of Sussex (UK), and is an Assistant Professor in Global Development Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. Her research interests include applying an intersectional gender lens to development; gender-transformative development; social differentiation, horizontal inequalities and poverty; and the practice of international development.

Dr. Gill has also worked as a development practitioner and consultant for the United Nations, international NGOs, donors, and governments for more than 15 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Canada, and the UK. Most recently, Dr. Gill has consulted on projects for Right to Play International, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, HelpAge International, the BC Council for International Co-operation (BCCIC), and the British Council.


Dr. Michael Corman
Assistant Professor
Social, Cultural and Media Studies

A medical sociologist by training, Dr. Corman’s teaching and research interests include a variety of topics that intersect with the sociological study of health, illness, and society. Since 2012, Dr. Corman has participated on a variety of interdisciplinary research projects totalling over $1,200,000.

His research has appeared in numerous peer reviewed journals and edited book volumes and he has recently published a book (2017) through the University of Toronto Press entitled, Paramedics on and off the streets: Emergency medical services in the age of technological governance. As a community engaged scholar, Dr. Corman looks forward to collaborating with a diversity of stakeholders on praxis-oriented research projects that support the social, mental, physical, and economic health of those living in and outside of British Columbia.


Catherine Liao, MSc
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Nursing

Catherine teaches foundational nursing theory and skills, supervising students during clinical practice in both the acute and long-term care settings. Catherine completed her MSc in Advance Practice Neuroscience Care at King’s College, London (U.K). She is currently a Doctoral Student in the School of Nursing at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Varcoe. Her research is focused on equity-oriented burns care in low-resourced settings drawing on her interest in the sociology of burns. Her background includes critical care nursing, global health, and leadership and management in the National Health Service, U.K.

Catherine has extensive experience working on projects related to health, health education, and health systems strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa. She supports capacity building for sustainable developments in local communities. She is committed to seeking innovative solutions to address health disparities both locally and globally. She is an advocate for health equity and social justice.

In addition, she is the vice-chair and director of ReSurge Africa, a non-profit registered in the U.K. She has been working with local health partners in Sierra Leone and Ghana in burns care and delivery for the past decade. She is affiliated with the nursing school at the Ernest Bai Koroma University and the Royal Albinism Foundation, Sierra Leone. Catherine is also a council member for Care Canada.

Catherine has been a faculty member in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UFV since 2017; she is also a Faculty Associate at the UFV Centre for Global Development. Catherine strives to incorporate a lens on global citizenship in her teaching, service, and scholarship.


Dr. Iris Lesser
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Kinesiology

Dr. Lesser is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley and a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. Dr. Lesser completed her BSc. Honours Kinesiology at Dalhousie University, her Master of Science in Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, and her doctoral degree in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. Her doctoral research was funded by CIHR to assess the impact of a culturally relevant exercise program in older South Asian women on cardiovascular risk and visceral adipose tissue. She was a recipient of a national Young Investigator award from SANSAR and the Dr. Hari Sharma graduate award for her doctoral research.

Dr. Lesser has been engaged with UFV as a sessional instructor and limited term faculty member since 2015. In 2019, Dr. Lesser began her research program as an assistant professor. Her research portfolio includes a close partnership with Knights Cabin Cancer retreats, a national charity devoted to helping cancer survivors and their supporters. This partnership has included the evaluation of retreat programming, assessing the impact of kinesiology student engagement with cancer survivors in health behaviors, an intervention study assessing the impact of trail walking on anxiety in cancer survivors, and an assessment of the role of physical activity in nature on psychosocial health outcomes in cancer survivors.

Dr. Lesser continues to have a strong interest in the use of exercise in special populations to improve mental health and is collaborating with the Divisions of Family Practice to engage South Asian women in outdoor exercise and with colleagues to assess the impact of group-based exercise programming in postpartum women. Recently, Dr. Lesser has collaborated with colleagues assessing the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and mental health and the role of physical fitness on COVID-19 symptom severity. Her work has been published in Medicine Science Sports and Exercise, Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, PLoS One, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and Preventive Medicine amongst others.


Dr. Satwinder Kaur Bains
Associate Professor
Social, Cultural and Media Studies

Dr. Bains is the Director of the South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) at the University of the Fraser Valley and an Associate Professor in Social Cultural Media Studies, College of Arts. Dr. Bains’ critical analysis of India’s multilingual policy and planning has fueled her interest to study the impact of language, culture, and identity on South Asian Canadian migration, settlement, and integration. Her research includes and intersects cross-cultural education with a focus on anti-racist curriculum implementation; race, racism, and ethnicity; identity politics; Sikh feminist ideology; migration and the South Asian Canadian diaspora, and Punjabi Canadian cultural historiography.

Dr. Bains has considerable years of professional experience in community development and has worked extensively with organizations in the areas of cross-cultural mental health, immigrant women, youth and families, board development, diversity, equity, inclusion, cross-cultural development, women’s rights, and socio-religious interfaith dialogue. She serves the community as a diversity educator, community developer, and community activist in the field of anti-racism and immigrant settlement integration. She is a consummate community advocate and volunteer and has assisted numerous community organizations in their development and growth. Dr. Bains continues to serve on numerous committees and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.


Dr. Sarah Beaulieu
Sessional Instructor
Social, Cultural and Media Studies

Dr. Beaulieu has been a sessional instructor in Anthropology and Sociology at the University of the Fraser Valley since 2018. She received both her Masters (2015) and PhD (2019) from Simon Fraser University. With a research focus in modern conflict anthropology, Dr. Beaulieu is the first to excavate WWI internment sites in Canada. Her research contributes new information toward the PoW lived experience within these Canadian camps. Artefacts from her research, a barbed wire cross and a handmade shovel used by PoWs to dig an escape tunnel, are on exhibit in the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History (CMH) while additional artefacts from her research will be part of an upcoming exhibit titled Civil Liberties to be unveiled 2021, also at CMH.

Her research has been highlighted in the documentary That Never Happened which has received numerous international awards and was the Official Selection of the Permanent Mission of Canada to The United Nations, screening in Geneva, Switzerland on September 20th, 2018. Dr. Beaulieu also uses Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) as a remote sensing method in her work as a modern conflict anthropologist. Training at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, she received her certification in 2016 and initially began using radar to search for the lost footprints of Canada’s WWI internment sites as well as in search of unmarked PoW graves. With Dr. Beaulieu’s anthropological background, she has developed a reputation for being able to interpret radar scans in a way that is both culturally sensitive and follows traditional cultural protocols. Through this work she has liaised with the RCMP in search of clandestine graves, surveyed cemeteries for the City of Abbotsford and Agassiz, and worked for First Nations communities to survey both Indigenous cemeteries and search for residential school burial sites. Dr. Beaulieu’s research in modern conflict anthropology is diverse but what ties it all together is her interest in applying an anthropological lens to the contemporary past in an effort to bring to light the stories of, and give voice to, the disenfranchised groups that have been overlooked in the historical record.


Dr. Shelley Canning
Associate Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Nursing

Dr. Canning teaches gerontology and supervises students in clinical practice in long-term care (LTC) homes. She completed her PhD in the School of Nursing at UBC and her nursing practice background includes acute oncology at BC Cancer and community health in the Fraser Valley. She is an advocate for aged care that incorporates person-centred approaches, and supports people living with dementia as social citizens.

An applied health researcher, Dr. Canning draws on interpretive description and has explored and employed a range of methods to support including people living with dementia as participants and hearing their individual subjective experiences. Her broad scholarship aims involve improving quality of life for older adults including those living with dementia through addressing negative attitudes based on dementia-ism exploring the benefits of arts-based programming. Past projects include a community engaged study involving school-aged children and people living in LTC in a ballet programme. Her current research interests involve exploring the integration of ageing education in elementary school curriculum.

Shelley has been a faculty member at UFV since 2006 and has served on multiple institutional committees. In addition to membership as a research associate at the Hub she is also the coordinator of UFV’s Centre for Education and Research on Ageing (CERA).


Dr. Lesley Jessiman
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

Dr. Jessiman is an associate professor in Psychology at the University of the Fraser Valley and is also the Vice Chair for the university’s Centre Education and Research in Aging (CERA). Dr. Jessiman completed her BSc in Behavioural Science at the University of Abertay, Dundee and her MPhil and PhD in psychology at the University of Dundee. Her postgraduate research was funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s initiative to improve the quality of life of the aging population in Scotland. Dr. Jessiman’s postgraduate research was in the cognitive neuropsychology of typical and pathological aging, principally looking at the effects of typical aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), on metacognitive and metalinguistic functions.

She went on to become a post-doctoral research fellow in the Cognitive Neuropsychology of Aging Lab at the University of Dundee, a position that was funded by Parkinson’s Disease, UK. Dr. Jessiman’s post-doctoral research focus was the effects of Parkinson’s disease on metapragmatics and tip-of-the tongue states. In 2005 she took a full-time lecturing position at the University of the West of Scotland and maintained an associate researcher position in the Aging Lab at Dundee University. Dr. Jessiman came to UFV in 2011, where she continued her research in aging in Canada, collaborating on research in ageism, perceptions of elder abuse, elderspeak, healthy aging, and loneliness and social isolation in older adult populations. Dr. Jessiman has published her research in aging and neuropsychology journals and has presented her findings at the British Society of Gerontology and Canadian Association of Gerontology conferences.


Dr. Amir Shabani
Assistant Professor
Computer Information Systems

Dr. Shabani is directing the Interactive Intelligent Systems and Computing research where his team is looking at the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, internet of things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR) for applications in health care, energy, smart building automation and industrial automation (Industry 5.0), and also education. More specifically, his current projects include personalized machine learning in physiotherapy rehabilitation, social companion robotics, indoor positioning and contact tracing, active aging, augmented collaborative workspace of industry 5.0, and smart spaces.

Prior to UFV, Dr. Shabani had been NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) for smart connected buildings to focus on the development of AI and big data technologies in human-centred intelligent system designs as a core of a smart city. During the last decade, Dr. Shabani secured several public and private funding opportunities from NSERC, Ontario Center of Excellence, MITACS, FedDev and private companies, exceeding over $1 million as principle investigator (PI) and others as co-PI.

He completed his PhD in Machine Learning and Computer Vision at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Shabani has been invited to present his research at Stanford University, Queen-Mary University of London, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Ryerson University, and the IEEE Canadian Conference on Computer and Robot Vision. Prior to his PhD, Dr. Shabani worked in job-sharing international projects in the field of industrial automation and robotics (Industry 4.0). During this six years, he worked on several multi-million dollar projects with automation companies from Germany, France, Italy, UK, and South Korea.

Dr. Shabani has an exceptional record of project management, supervision, and team leadership in both industry and academia. In addition to the core academic research and teaching activities, he is an active consultant and always welcomes industry collaboration and applied R&D projects that requires expertise in computing and engineering (P.Eng.).


Dr. Joanna Sheppard
Associate Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Kinesiology

As a pedagogy specialist, Dr. Sheppard embeds theoretical and critical best practices in physical and health education within her research, teaching and her international program in Antigua, West Indies.

As the 2020 UFV Teaching Excellence award winner, Dr. Sheppard believes that it is our responsibility to recognize the many aspects (physical, cognitive, and affective) that make up an individual. It is equally important to discover and implement the most effective teaching strategies necessary to suit the individual needs of all learners. As an educator and pedagogy specialist, she aspires to create a learning environment that motivates students by challenging them at an optimal level while promoting an environment where students can feel a sense of ownership for their learning.

Her scholarly activity entails qualitative research in physical and health education curriculum models, teaching games for understanding, social and personal responsibility through physical education, life skill development, physical literacy, and open-ended questioning within a provincial, national, and international environment. Dr. Sheppard’s ongoing research-studies—the practical importance in social and emotional learning through the vehicle of physical activity, physical education and mental well being—can be found within the public school and recreation communities in the Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland, and on a national and international level.

For the past 15 years, Dr. Sheppard has been the director of the Champions for Health Promoting Schools International Teaching Program which enables university students the ability to teach life skills development through physical and healthy education best practices. During a four-week study tour, this collaborative program allows collegial mentorship between the undergraduate students and their Antigua educators within the K-7 Antigua, Barbuda, West Indies school system.


Dr. Katherine Watson
Associate Professor
Social, Cultural and Media Studies

In addition to her position as Associate Professor, Dr. Watson is also Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). Her main research interests are student engagement and well-being, critical pedagogy, and critical public education policy and curriculum development. She completed both her Master’s degree and Ph.D. at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario examining the ways in which public education responds to economic and social change and, in turn shapes the lives of students and their future opportunities.

Since arriving at UFV, she has undertaken numerous community and university research and evaluation projects that involve various organizations including the Chilliwack Social Research and Planning Council, and the Chilliwack School District. In particular, she has lead evaluations of the Arts Student Mentor Program at UFV (2018); UFV Student Engagement Experiences (2014); and been a co-researcher with Dr. Martha Dow on the Chilliwack High School Engagement and Completion study (2013). Each of these projects focused on the various factors that affected youth’s ability to successfully participate in educational institutions and the barriers they face in those institutions—such as exclusion and inequality. Examining the ways in which educational institutions shape policy, curriculum and processes is essential to ensuring that all young people are included in educational communities.

Dr. Watson also conducts community survey research projects such as Naloxone Training Assessment for Surrey and Vancouver Fire First Responders and the Chilliwack Quality of Life surveys (2004-2014) for the Chilliwack Social Research and Planning Council. These projects focus on lived experience of participants and how organizations can improve their delivery of vital programs. In addition to research, Dr. Watson is also the recipient of the UFV Teaching Excellence Award (2003) and has been engaged in developing the Student to Scholar initiative promoting the next generation of sociology students.