I am the director of the Master of Communications Management Program in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University.
I joined the McMaster faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2001, as the co-founder (with Dr. Graham Knight) of the Communication Studies Program. I was awarded tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor in 2006. I was jointly-appointed to the departments of French and Communication Studies and Multimedia until June 30, 2011. On July 1, 2011, I became solely appointed to the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia.
My research is centred on the study of human communication – both interpersonal and mediated – using the tools of critical discourse analysis, content analysis, cognitive science, computational linguistics and pragmatics. I have also written about translation from a discourse analysis perspective. To further this research agenda, I founded and am currently executive director of the COMM-Lab: McMaster Communication Metrics Laboratory.
I hold secondary appointments in several other places at McMaster. I am an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, as well as in the McMaster Health Forum in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
I have won a couple of awards. I guess I should list them. In 2001, I was awarded a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the Government of France to work in cognitive science and content analysis at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris, rue d’Ulm). I declined it. Instead, I accepted a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship to work on the preservation and encouragement of the Mi’kmaq language and culture in the Gaspé Peninsula and in the Maritimes. We ended up publishing a comprehensive reference dictionary of Mi’kmaq. I am very proud of it.
In 2003, I won the MSU New Faculty Merit Award for teaching excellence. In 2006, I won the Petro Canada Young Innovator Award for integrating teaching and research in my practice as an academic. In 2008, the Hamilton Spectator listed me as one of their Top 40 Under 40. In 2011, I shared the Ontario Liberal Party Province-Wide Riding Advertising Award with the communications committee (which I chaired) of Ted McMeekin’s successful 2011 campaign for re-election in the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale for our victorious campaign.
I am the co-founding editor-in-chief (with co-founder, senior associate editor, Dr. Terry Flynn) of the Journal of Professional Communication (JPC) – a journal for practitioners, journalists, policy makers and academics.
Another journal I co-founded in 2005 with student Sadia Azmaat, of which I am still faculty editor, is the McMaster Journal of Communication. The MJC is a peer-reviewed, graduate and undergraduate student journal that explores ideas and publishes works of art in the fields of communication studies and multimedia.
I am an occasional political communicator/strategist for politicians and causes that I believe in. I worked as director of communications for Judy Marsales during her successful provincial campaign for Hamilton West in 2003. I was communications chair for Gerard Kennedy’s successful federal campaign in 2008 in Parkdale-High Park. I have been a senior advisor to Mr. Kennedy and other politicians during the last few years. In 2011, I served as communications chair for Ted McMeekin’s successful provincial campaign in Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. I have served, in the past, as an active member of my local federal Liberal riding association, but no longer sit on any political executive board. This blog is not specifically Liberal in its ideological or political orientation.
In fact, this blog, and my research, are emphatically non-partisan. I strive be an equal-opportunity critic, analyst and commentator.
I am a progressive but practising Roman Catholic. The intersections of faith, politics and public life interest me deeply. I am committed to social justice and have been profoundly influenced by the thought and life of Jean Vanier. I believe that Dr. Vanier has successfully blended academic achievement, political activism and a questioning, but loving faith.
In terms of personal interests, I love fencing (sabre), swimming, playing the piano, cooking, writing fiction and non-fiction, maintaining my vegetable and herb garden, as well as going to the opera, the ballet and the symphony. I love classical music, although my musical tastes can be pretty eclectic. Right now, I am listening to a lot of Sigur Rós.
I currently live in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, with my cat, the glamourous (and rubenesque) Gigi.