Faculty MemberBiography

Peter Briscoe

Department Chair

Peter has taught at the post-secondary level for more than a decade, with faculty appointments at Okanagan University-College, Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver Island University, and College of New Caledonia.  He holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Southern Cross University, specializing in hotel and tourism management.

Peter has also held numerous management positions with hotels and food service organizations. His passion is people and their success, and he prides himself in expecting the best from both himself and others. 

Ashraf Hassib


I have been with Vancouver Island University (VIU) since 2005. What I like the most about working in the Hospitality Management Department is its strong industry connection, applied approach to teaching, small class size and most importantly its friendly learning environment.

Prior to joining VIU, I have taught courses in a number of institutions in Ontario including: The University of Guelph, Humber College, George Brown College, Centennial College, and Seneca College.

I was also a visiting professor in a number of International Universities including: Munich University of Applied Sciences, Kempten University of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences, and Copenhagen Business Academy.  

My areas of interest are: Hospitality Revenue Management, Entrepreneurship, Hotel and Restaurant Operations, and Hospitality Accounting.

Before working full-time in academia, I held various managerial positions in different departments (Rooms Division, Food and Beverage, and Accounting) in a number of international hotels and resorts including Sheraton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hilton, and Le Meridien. 

Daniel Jordi

Discovery Room Technician

It all began at the age of twelve when my parents took me to the Cannery Seafood Restaurant to celebrate my birthday. I was completely enamored with the experience because it felt like magic.

Eleven years later, after receiving a Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia, I started work at the Cannery Seafood Restaurant and found myself being introduced to the art of fine dining from the very same Servers who helped me to celebrate my twelfth birthday. They shared generously all of their trade secrets.

More than 20 years have now passed during which I have undertaken Sommelier training, been a Food and Beverage Director of three high end resorts, the manager of several fine dining restaurants, and a Food and Beverage service consultant for top-tier retirement communities.

When it comes to hospitality, my philosophy is: It needs to feel like magic.

I teach students to create service magic by mastering practical fine dining techniques while learning about personality theory and employing mediation practices that support the interpersonal skills needed to succeed in Hospitality. 

When I’m not teaching you can find me road-tripping in my Airstream, hiking with my wife and two dogs and practicing Non-Violent Communication.

Jonelle Knowles


Jonelle has a passion for all things Hospitality whether that is enjoying local events and locations here on Vancouver Island, where she was born and raised, or experiencing international travel for work or pleasure.

Jonelle has been teaching Tourism and Hospitality since 1998, with courses such as Food & Beverage Management, Conferences & Special Events, Marketing, and Bartending. She enjoys producing events, such as gala wine festivals, dinners and student run events.

The hospitality industry embraces a world perspective so every opportunity for travel and meeting people can be considered professional development. Some of Jonelle’s highlights include project work in Vietnam on a Community Based Tourism Project, International Curriculum Development in Tanzania and many student field schools and field trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico, Cuba, Whistler and Vancouver.

Building on a tourism education and a Hospitality industry career, she went on to complete the Instructor Diploma Program at VCC and a master’s degree with the University of Liverpool, specializing in Services Marketing. Her industry career was mainly in Food & Beverage, working in Resort Hotels, International restaurant chains and small businesses.

Jean-Guy Robichaud


Jean-Guy started his career working for high-end hotels and resorts in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec to fulfill his apprenticeships and to complete his Journeyman certifications (Cook, Baker, and Pastry Chef). Jean-Guy also had an opportunity to become a business partner in Patisseries in Quebec City for six years. Passionate about education, Jean-Guy wanted to share his industry and entrepreneurial experience with the next generation of chefs and hoteliers. He became a faculty member at Cambrian College, Ontario, where he created new curriculum and was a program coordinator for the Hotel and Restaurant Management program and the Baking and Pastry Arts program for 15 years.

Over the years, Jean-Guy continued his education and obtained a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management at Vancouver Community College and a master’s degree in Tourism Management at Royal Roads University (Victoria, British Columbia). A lifelong learner, Jean-Guy is currently in a Doctorate in Business Administration program, specializing in Higher Education Management at Bath University in England. His thesis focuses on leadership and management of international higher education partnerships between the global North and South.

Lynda Robinson


With a Masters Degree in Leadership & Training, certified as an Emotional Intelligence Trainer and Coach (EQ-i 2.0/EQ 360 Certification), Erickson Coaching Level 1 Trainer, Super Host Facilitation certification, and Instructor Diploma credentials, Lynda brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the area of experiential learning methodologies and activities to develop and deliver programs, courses, services to enrich capacity and learning.

Employed at Vancouver Island University as a Manager of Career Services for several years, and holding a position as an instructor since 2006, her roles have focused on developing curriculum, programming and providing services to thousands of students in the Hospitality Management program and other disciplines. With a strong connection to the needs of the hospitality industry, Lynda has worked closely with employers to support the professional and personal development of hospitality employees.    

With over 20 years of direct work and certification/training within the career development field, and a proven ability in educational and workplace training, design of course and programs, using a variety of management and teaching methods, Lynda brings effective skills in evaluating performance in the workplace to ensure organizational goals and objectives are met. 

Jenny Aronson

Adjunct Faculty

Chef Jenny Aronson is a graduate of the Vancouver Island University Culinary Arts Program. She was fortunate to receive a practicum placement at Sooke Harbour House where she later apprenticed under Chef Edward Tuson, achieving her Red Seal Certification in 2007.

Although she grew up on Thetis Island here in B.C., hers is an international family that loves to cook and eat. Besides her years of experience in fine dining at Sooke Harbour House and elsewhere, she has worked in her sister’s Vietnamese restaurant, in Japanese and Mexican restaurants, and in 2008 she traveled to Europe and cooked in Verduno, Italy. Jennifer has lived in Korea, China and Thailand and has traveled extensively in North America, Europe and Asia.

When not teaching or cooking or traveling, she can be found playing badminton and helping to coach the VIU badminton team, and she has played in tournaments in Canada and the U.S. She loves teaching and the reward of the looks of accomplishment on her students’ faces when they achieve success.

Merv Jefferies

Adjunct Faculty