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Meet the CETL Committee


Julie JohnsonJulie Johnson

 Julie joined COC in 2014 as an Adjunct History Instructor   having previously worked as an educational leader in a high   school for at-risk students. Because of her experience with   struggling students, Julie pursues practices in the classroom   that ignite a passion for historical inquiry in different student   populations. In 2017, Julie was able to dedicate her undivided attention to the classroom as a Full-Time tenure track Associate Professor of History here at the college. In 2020, Julie finished her Ph.D. in American History at Claremont Graduate University.

Robert WonserRobert Wonser

Robert Wonser teaches sociology here at College of the Canyons since 2008. He earned his BS in Business Administration with an option in Marketing and his MA in Sociology from CSUN. He teaches sociology as well as serving as one of two coordinators for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Robert's research interests include culture, mass media, subcultures, popular culture, youth culture, consumerism, social stratification, gender, criminology, education and social psychology. Currently his 'spare' time is spent with his daughters who he's training to be sociologists. 


Victoria LeonardVictoria Leonard

Victoria received her both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at CSU, Northridge, and has been at College of the Canyons since 1989.  She has served as department chair, Associate Program director, Teaching Strategies Workshop facilitator, and public speaking coordinator, as well as club advisor for numerous clubs on campus.  In addition, Victoria is a Canvas and Zoom mentor and is actively involved in numerous campus committees.  She particularly enjoys working with faculty.  Her academic interests include interpersonal communication, intergenerational communication, public speaking, leadership, and gender.  Aside from her teaching, Victoria has spent many years researching student engagement strategies, how to develop effective course syllabi, methods of improving student success, and best practices in instructor-student communication.  She also believes in the importance of community connections, and over the years has done communication consulting for both public entities and private individuals on public speaking, speech writing, conflict resolution, and leadership.  In her spare time, Victoria loves spending time with her family in Orange County and Great Britain, and she loves to repurpose and chalk paint furniture.

Katie ColemanKatie Coleman

Katie Coleman is currently serving as the Chair of the Sociology Department.  She is a critical sociologist specializing in the areas of sexuality, deviance, crime, and social control.
A College of the Canyons alumna, Professor Coleman received her Master of Arts degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Her sociological research includes published papers on topics including the re-humanization of sexuality, the American prison system, and the relationship between academia and intelligence agencies.
Katie began teaching at College of the Canyons in the fall of 2008, covering courses in women's studies, sexuality, death and dying, deviance, criminology, intimate relationships and the family, critical thinking, social statistics, globalization, and gerontology. 

In her spare time, Professor Coleman enjoys traveling.


Michelle LaBrieMichelle LaBrie

Michelle LaBrie is a graduate of College of the Canyons and has been a faculty member since 1998.  As a full time faculty member in both the Counseling department (former) and in the Psychology Department (current), she has taught 100% online courses since 2006. Michelle serves as an online teaching mentor, is a member of the Educational Technology committee and is one of the facilitators for the Introduction to Online Instruction course.

Brent RiffelBrent Riffel

Brent Riffel has taught American History and the History of the Middle East at College of the Canyons since 2008. He holds a doctorate in modern American History, specializing in labor and race relations in the contemporary US. He is currently faculty coordinator of COC’s International Forum on Youth and was co-coordinator of the Center for Excellent in Teaching and learning from 2015-2019.

Teresa CiardiTeresa Ciardi

Teaching has been my passion since I was a little girl, and that grew into a passion for making science come alive for all people. I am a first generation college student and the only person in all of my extended family to have a college degree. I put myself through school and earned a double bachelor's degree in Physics and Astrophysics from Boston University, followed by a Master's degree in Physics from the University of Wyoming. While in graduate school, I decided that as much as I enjoyed doing science I enjoyed teaching science more so I began a minor in education with the goal of teaching at the community college level. Currently I am full Professor of Physical Science and Astronomy and I lead the Astronomy & Physics Club, lead our Aerospace & Sciences Team NASA missions, Co-Mentor the STEM Equity Alliance, and participate and lead in many campus wide committees. Always my purpose is to make experiences and success possible for all students.


Lori YoungLori Young

Lori joined COC as an adjunct instructor in 2011. After a fulfilling career as a paralegal specializing in Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Elder Law, she became a full-time professor in the Paralegal Studies Department in 2017. She received her master’s degree from George Washington University, and she states her passion is the paralegal profession and helping others. Lori serves on the Curriculum Committee and is the Curricular and Assessment Coordinator for the Paralegal Studies Department. She also volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA of L.A.), is a participant of Coastal Cleanup, and knits hats for Operation Gratitude for soldiers. Lori is a lifelong learner, as well as a motivator, mentor, and inspirer to her students. When she is not working, you can find her spending time with her family and friends, walking on the beach searching for sea glass, or playing golf.   

Violeta Kovacev-NikolicVioleta Kovacev-Nikolic

As an instructor with two master's degrees, one in applied math and another in statistics, Violeta enjoys teaching and hopes to instill an appreciation for math and science in her students. She started teaching at College of the Canyons in fall 2014, and at this moment, it is her fifth year of full-time appointment. During this time, she taught the majority of mathematics courses here. Violeta is also engaged as a Math Club co-advisor and participates in various professional development activities, serving on academic committees that focus on excellence in teaching and learning, educational technology, enrollment, and assessment of student learning outcomes.

Karyl KicenskiKaryl Kicenski

Karyl joined COC in 1999 after finishing a doctorate in Cultural Studies and a Masters degree in Communication Studies,  She is passionate about teaching and learning pedagogical principles, and investigating the links between public ideologies, culture, and politics. Karyl cowrote the Center's Critical Thinking course and served as a facilitator on the program forerunner for CETL, the Associate Program.

Alexa DimakosAlexa Dimakos 

Alexa Dimakos earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature at UCLA and her master's degree in English Literature at CSUN. In 2009, she became an adjunct member of COC's English Department and a full-time instructor in 2015. She teaches a variety of composition, literature, and humanities courses, and her favorite part of teaching is helping students see how critical thinking, reading, and writing can impact their daily life. 

In addition to teaching classes, she is an ePortfolio Co-Coordinator who focuses on bringing folio thinking and ePortfolios to our campus community. Please see her PebblePad ePortfolio to learn more about her work and experience.



Committee Meetings

Committee Meetings of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at College of the Canyons are generally on the third Tuesday of the month from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm.  We meet HyFlex - in person on campus and on Zoom.  Please email us for the Zoom link at 

2024 Spring Schedule

Feb 20, 2024

March 19, 2024

April 16, 2024

May 21, 2024

2023 Fall Schedule

Tuesday, September 19 2023 2pm - HyFlex option

Tuesday, October 17 2023 2pm - HyFlex option 

Tuesday, Nov 21st  2023 2pm - HyFlex option

2023 Spring Schedule

Tuesday, February 21st 2023 2pm

Tuesday, March 21st 2023 2pm

Tuesday, April 18th 2023 2pm

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 2pm