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Faculty and Staff

(listed alphabetically by last name)

Senior Lecturer, Spanish (retired)

Senior Lecturer, Mandarin Chinese

Jia has a B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from East China Normal University, an M.Ed in Second Language Education from the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), and a Ph.D in Languages, Cultures and Literacies from SFU. She also holds a certificate in Web-Based Instruction from SFU. Jia has been teaching at SFU since 2005. Before that, she taught Mandarin at the University of Toronto and in an international school in Shanghai. Her research interests include language and ideology, identity and positionality, group dynamics, computer-assisted language learning [CALL] and language assessment. Jia believes that "Education is life itself" (Dewey). Great learning occurs when genuine interests and passion are generated among students. A nurturing community is key. 

Jia has a variety of interests. She enjoys traveling, photography, reading, writing and Chinese calligraphy. She has written newspaper columns and translated documentaries for the CBC. Her next goal is to become multilingual: Spanish and Japanese are in the plan.

Lecturer, Japanese, Limited Term

Dr. Furukawa has a Ph. D. in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a M.A in Education from the University of Tokyo. Dr. Furukawa’s research interests include identities, cultures, and languages in transnational spaces. Before coming to Canada, she taught Japanese language and cultures in various institutions in the USA while conducting research on students in language schools.

Senior Lecturer, German

Claudia is originally from Hamburg, Germany. She received her I. Staatsexamen from the Teacher’s College in Kiel, Germany in 1989 and her Masters of Arts in Foreign Languages from WVU, USA in 1992.

Before coming to Canada, Claudia supervised and coordinated the German program at WVU in the early 90’s. In 1992, she moved to Italy where she worked as a lecturer for German at the Università degli Studi G. d’Annunzio in Pescara until 1998. She then moved to Vancouver and has been working for SFU since 1999. She has also taught at SFU’s Goethe-Zentrum and is a certified Goethe-Institut examiner.

When teaching, Claudia’s main goal is to get students excited about the German language and encourage them to the point that they will spend some time in a German speaking country.

Multilingualism is of great interest to her, as she brings up her daughter trilingually. In her free time, Claudia enjoys reading, aerobics, surfing the internet, traveling, and relaxing with her family.

Please see Claudia's website for more information.

Lecturer, Spanish, Limited Term

Isabel has a Ph.D. in the Educational Technology and Learning Design at SFU. Her research interest involved Computer-Assisted Language Learning and the use of Learning Management Systems for language teaching. She also has an MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija (Madrid, Spain), a BA from the ITAM (Mexico) and an MA in Political Science from SFU with focus on discourse analysis and national identities. 

Isabel has more than 17 years of classroom experience teaching all levels of Spanish courses at SFU and other Universities in BC and the US. She has developed online courses and learning content materials for credit-based courses and adult education. She is fully convinced that teaching Spanish involves not only transmitting grammar and linguistic rules but also understanding the cultural basis of languages. She encourages students to be active learners and thinkers who can continue developing an interest in Spanish world outside of the classroom environment.

In her free time, Isabel likes to hike, paint and read. She enjoys science fiction and fantasy novels and movies; she also expends time exploring new tech gadgets.

Lecturer, Arabic & Farsi, Limited Term 

Dr. Mehri obtained his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, in the University of London, U.K., and obtained his BFA, BA and an MA from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has taught courses at SFU since 2005 whilst a graduate student.  His research interests include the history, literature and social situation of the Middle Eastern and South Asian Diaspora in British Columbia, Canada.

Senior Lecturer, Mandarin Chinese

Billie has a B.A. in Education from the International Christian University in Japan and a M.A. in Comparative Education from the University of London, England.

Billie has been in the field of Language Education since 1980. Her work has included curriculum development, challenge exams, and consulting with government and businesses. 

She is the President of the Canadian TCSL Association, a national organization of Canadian faculty in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Her publications include four textbooks, with workbooks and online resources and (as co-author of) the Provincial Mandarin IRP (Integrated Resource Package).

Billie is now working on blending traditional classroom strategies with resources, tools and opportunities available to learners in an increasingly efficient technological environment.


Senior Lecturer, Japanese

Noriko has been teaching Japanese at the post-secondary level since 1981. She has an MA in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language from the Osaka University of Foreign Studies and an M.Phil in General and Applied Linguistics from the University of Exeter.

Before doing so at SFU, Noriko developed the Japanese language programs at Capilano and Douglas Colleges. She has also published a series of Japanese language textbooks tailored to the needs of Canadian university and college students. Noriko is an active member of SCOLA (Standing Committee on Language Articulation) and has served as both its co-chair and chair.

When Noriko is not thinking about languages, she enjoys macro-photography, gardening, ballroom dancing, and singing classical art songs. She also likes watching motorcycle and bicycle road racing.

Lecturer, Spanish, Limited Term

Rita is originally from Lima, Peru. She holds a B.A., B.Ed. with specialization in teaching foreign languages from Peruvian Universities, and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from University of British Columbia. She also holds Professional Certificates in a Spanish Teaching from the Instituto Cervantes, Spain, and in Translation and Interpretation from the University of California.

She has been teaching Spanish since 2008. Previously, she has taught languages and culture to postsecondary and adult students in California, USA and Peru; also she has worked as translator & interpreter, English-Spanish, Spanish-English.

Besides teaching at the LTI-SFU she also teaches online Spanish at UBC Extended Learning. She has designed several Spanish and Latin America courses. Her research interests include identities and culture, integral education and spirituality.  

Senior Lecturer, Japanese

Naoko has taught at SFU since 2004 and been involved with teaching Japanese for almost 15 years. She has taught Japanese in England and China and holds an MA in language education. She is particularly interested in pedagogical methods that combine the teaching of language and culture.

In her leisure time Naoko likes to study other languages. In addition to English and Japanese, she can speak Chinese and some Italian. A big outside interest is opera in talian, of course! 

Senior Lecturer, Mandarin Chinese (School of Computing Science)

Cynthia has an M.A. degree in Applied Linguistics and a B.A. degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She has been involved in Mandarin Chinese instruction and curriculum design in universities in China, Finland, and Canada since 1992. Now she teaches both intensive Mandarin Chinese courses and Heritage Mandarin Chinese courses at SFU.  Her research interests include Chinese linguistics and Chinese language pedagogy.

Cynthia is responsible for the Chinese language education for the SFU-ZU Dual Degree Program. Besides language teaching, she is also working on the curricula design, course development, assessment, and coordination with faculty from SFU and the Chinese university.