Brett Bowen Spring 2023

Our Board of Directors

Ross Peterson

Board Chair & Chair of Promotions Committee

Ross Peterson had a long career as a biologist and emergency manager before moving to the Island in 2000. During his career paths, Ross has been involved in many local, regional, provincial, and federal organizations where he has gained considerable experience in organization and leadership. Although retired, Ross still engages in biological work by volunteering for a local environmental stewardship organization. He also continues his emergency management work as a VIU ElderCollege instructor in emergency preparedness. Ross brings his skills and enthusiasm to the Board where he serves as Chair. 


Robin Fisher

Vice-Chair, Chair of Instructor Liaison Committee & Chair of Programming Committee 

Robin Fisher came to Canada from New Zealand to do his PhD at the University of British Columbia and stayed. His career path took him to a number of universities in four provinces as a teacher, scholar and administrator. He is an historian by discipline and has published several books on the history of British Columbia. He held senior leadership positions in the establishment of two new universities: The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and Mount Royal University in Calgary where he was Provost and Vice-President Academic. He moved to Nanaimo in 2012 and in “retirement” continued to work in the post-secondary sector including as chair of the Alberta Council on Admission and Transfer. He became more acquainted with Vancouver Island University by chairing a review of the quality of its academic programs for the Degree Quality Assessment Board of British Columbia. After his time in administration, he is also trying his hand at being an historian again. He strongly believes in the importance of lifelong teaching and learning as the way to make a better world. Learning is understanding and understanding was never more needed than now. He has taught in a variety of ways and in many places, including in First Nations communities. It has been a real pleasure for Robin to have the opportunity to teach and learn with the students in VIU’s ElderCollege. He hopes that he can now make a contribution as a Board member. 


Anne-Marie Lafleur

Chair of Media Relations Committee

Anne-Marie Lafleur, a long-time resident of Parksville was thrilled when she retired and finally had the time to take her first course at VIU ElderCollege. She was surprised, however, to learn that many of her friends and acquaintances knew very little about VIU ElderCollege and the wonderful courses that are offered.  Anne-Marie joined the promotions committee and started with media releases to publicize the programs and courses offered. Serving on the Board of Directors, Anne-Marie continues to seek out ways to recruit the media in the important role of community awareness. She constantly looks for new ideas for engaging the media and would like to recruit a retired journalist who could draft media releases and write magazine articles.  


Jacqui Townsend

Chair of Volunteer Committee

Jacqui Townsend arrived where she is today, a proud part of ElderCollege, by many diverse paths. After Emigrating to Australia as young marrieds, where their son was born, the couple ‘came back’ to Vancouver, then Nanoose where she volunteered with the Nanoose Library before becoming Director for three years. Later, she worked as Constituency Assistant for her MP. Empty-nest time arrived and Jacqui went to Malaspina College, completed her nurse’s aide certificate, and had a twelve year career at Trillium Seniors Hospital. She retired in 2003 and took the Orton Gillingham course to teach dyslexic children to read. But then – she discovered something truly exciting – ElderCollege. She now knows “learning never gets old.” After many classes, she joined the Board of Directors, and presently serves as Chair of the Volunteer Committee. In Jacqui’s words, “She has discovered a special energy with an enlightening group of ‘friends’ found at VIU ElderCollege.”


Rose Willow

Board Member

Rose Willow grew up in Saskatchewan, kept moving west, and ended up “off-grid” on Lasqueti Island for 30 years. There she earned a History degree from University of Waterloo by Distance Education. Next, she served two terms as Regional Director and two more terms as Islands Trustee; her last term as a vice-chair for Trust Council. She recently moved to Parksville and completed a Creative Writing degree from Vancouver Island University. Impressed with the courses offered by VIU ElderCollege, she volunteered to deliver Course Calendars. Joining the Board of Directors, she uses her writing skills to review documents and edits material for the Course Calendar. An avid supporter of Lifelong Learning, Rose considers her involvement with VIU ElderCollege as another learning experience.  


Pam Petrie

Board Member

Pam Petrie has an undergraduate degree in Economics & Commerce and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Simon Fraser University. Her career in Human Resources (CHRP) spanned the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. It included work with the City of Coquitlam, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and the Vancouver Canucks. Throughout her career she was an active volunteer, mentor and instructor (BCIT), and served on two Boards: West End (Vancouver) Community Centre and Chown Adult Day Centre. Upon retirement in 2013 Pam moved from Vancouver to Nanoose Bay, and quickly started enrolling in a variety of Elder College courses which lead to volunteering with calendar distribution, some committee involvement, and assisting at Saturday Speaker events. Pam has also served on the Parksville Beach Festival Board of Directors and volunteered as a committee member for a local biennial luncheon event in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada. Currently Pam also is a board member for the Parksville Qualicum Adult Literacy Society. Pam enjoys travelling, walking the local trails, reading, and fitting in as many visits as possible with her seven grandchildren.


John Edwards

Board Member

John Edwards is Poet Laureate of Lady Smith and a quince farmer. He studied Latin and Greek as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University; and has never really recovered. He regards the function of poetry as a path to introspection and respect for our endangered natural environment. John also serves as a CVRD Advisory Planning Commissioner; but, having read Plato, questions the veracity of every democratic process. He competes in senior track meets as a sprinter when not composing strophes.

  


John Black

Board Member

After moving to Canada from England in 1973, John completed graduate degrees in Philosophy at SFU and UBC, then taught for six years at Douglas College. In 1990 he moved to Malaspina College and led a faculty team in the first BA program here, in Liberal Studies. He was Dean of Social Sciences from 2011 until his retirement in 2017, having administered and taught in the Liberal Studies Abroad field school in Europe for the previous twenty years. Since retirement he has taught ElderCollege courses in European travel and art history, and along with his spouse Connie Kovalenka is a group leader with Adventures in Mind. He enjoys playing bridge, guitar and sitar, and, although meniscus damage has brought his soccer career to an end, still manages to hobble around the cricket field during the summer months.


David Brown

Board Member

David worked for many years as a Metallurgical Engineer in England, Africa and Canada. He came to Canada to work in Quebec province at a copper smelter in Murdochvile in the Gaspe peninsula in 1974 and except for a further 2 year period in Zambia has been here ever since. He has worked in 4 provinces, namely Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia—“Ever Westwards”. He worked in Copper ,Lead and Silver smelters, Sulphuric acid technology , Pulp and Paper. His work involved travel to many parts of the world. He has been retired for 13 years  and has attended many E.C. courses and spent a short time on the board around 2012. He feels that E.C. zoom meetings are what has kept him sane during the pandemic and is a supporter of this method of teaching, although also enjoying person to person contact when it is possible. David is a keen musician and has been since the age of 7 years when he joined a choir in Northampton, England. During his time in England he sang in St Paul’s Cathedral, The Albert Hall, and King’s College Cambridge. He is a member of Island Consort Chamber choir in Nanaimo ,and a former member of Acapella Plus and  Malaspina Choir. He has been a tenor soloist in all of these choirs. He lives in The Yellow-point area and enjoys gardening, reading, playing his tenor Ukulele and of course Elder College courses. 


Ruth Seltner

Board Member