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Dr. Anna Rissanen, PhD, MEd

Associate Program Director, Internship Coordinator, Master’s in Counselling (Virtual Campus)

As an associate program director and internship coordinator I teach and guide students, and work with faculty and staff at the Master’s in Counselling program across Canada in the Virtual Campus. I have been working with CityU Canada since 2020 teaching counselling courses and coordinating the internship experience. My background and degrees are in neuroscience, biomedical sciences, counselling practice and post-secondary education.


My research interests are neuroscience informed teaching and learning, trauma-informed practices in higher education and allied health practices that support psychotherapy.


Full list of publications in Google Scholar.

Selected publications:

  • Rissanen, A. & Costello, J.M. (2023). The effectiveness of interactive online tutorials in first-year large biology course. Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 15(3), pp. 632-649.
  • Lane, S., Hoang, J.G., Leighton, J.P., Rissanen A. (2021). Engagement and Satisfaction: Mixed-Method Analysis of Blended Learning in the Sciences. Can. J. Sci. Math. Techn. Educ. 21, 100–122 (2021).

I believe in meaningful student engagement, and according to my classroom studies student engagement enhances learning and student satisfaction. My lectures are interactive, providing students with opportunities to ask questions and get formative feedback with immediate opportunities to clarify content misconceptions. 

Other teaching methods I have used include weekly working sheets, group work, videos, animations, reading research articles, a neuroscience coloring book. Assessments I have used include quizzes, research papers, group presentations, creative arts, and a neuroscience task analysis that can be a creative project, and rubrics are available with detailed feedback for continuous learning support for students.

Diversity, inclusivity, and equity are important aspects of my teaching as I include non-colonial, anti-racist teaching materials, and trauma-informed approach as I consider students’ intersectionality in my teaching and assessments.


CPC523 Human Sexuality and Development, CPC529 Psychology of Addiction, CPC524 Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology, CPC513 Brief Therapy Models, CPC633 Internship, CPC 654/655 Practicum I/II, CPC695 Capstone Research Project.

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