Dr. Sylvie Lafreniere

Dr. Sylvie Lafreniere

Biography

Dr. Sylvie LaFreniere is a Professor with the Sociology and Criminology Departments at Vancouver Island University. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. She then completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). After her studies, she spent 10 years working as an analyst with Statistics Canada and teaching part-time at the University of Ottawa. In 2010, Sylvie joined VIU, first as a sessional and then a professor with the Sociology Department and the Criminology Department. Her experience and her research interests are centred around minority communities, official languages in Canada, social issues and quantitative analysis. For Sylvie, teaching at the post-secondary level is an opportunity to broaden students’ experience and help them meet their goals. She believes teaching goes beyond the subject matter, supporting students’ autonomy, self-reliance and curiosity. Drawing on this philosophy, Sylvie was one of three lecturers who co-designed the Community Based Applied Interdisciplinary Research course (CBAIR). CBAIR’s goal is to provide students with a unique experience, an opportunity to gain and practice their skills through real-life experience working with community members. Student teams have worked, for instance, on projects looking at what services people with brain injuries require, and at how social housing is perceived in Nanaimo. Sylvie believes that by working on such projects, students can have a direct impact on the community’s life. This provides them a new perspective on their academic studies and, perhaps most importantly, builds confidence in their own abilities.