News from around FIMS - June 2014

Alumni News

Anne Marie Owens, MA’88, first woman in senior position at national newspaper
On May 25, MAJ grad Anne Marie Owens was named the first woman in history to hold the most senior editorial position at a Canadian national newspaper.  She was appointed as editor of the National Post, and returned to the paper from her role as deputy editor with Maclean’s magazine.  Anne Marie took the reins at the Post on June 9.

Catherine Steeves, MLIS'95, named University Librarian
Catherine comes back to Western from the University of Guelph where she is presently the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Associate Chief Librarian (ACL).  In her role as Deputy CIO and member of the CIO Executive, she plays a pivotal role in the development of the overall strategy and policy administration of the University’s information technology, information services and information resources.  As the ACL she has oversight responsibilities for all library operations including Learning and Curriculum Support, Discovery & Access, Archival & Special Collections, Information Resources and Information Technology Services and shared responsibility for strategic and budgetary planning processes, personnel and financial administration.  Catherine's appointment as Western's University Librarian begins August 18, 2014.

Ryan Maloney, MA’07, wins CAJ award
MAJ grad Ryan Maloney won the Canadian Association of Journalists text feature award for 2013. The 2013 CAJ Awards were announced in Vancouver in May.  The story is titled "Former Soldier Who Lost Part Of His Brain For Canada Says Sacrifice Being Demeaned," and was published on November 10, 2013.

General News & Announcements

Susan Knabe named as Associate Dean, Undergraduate
Associate Professor Susan Knabe has been named to the new position of Associate Dean, Undergraduate in FIMS. Professor Knabe has been jointly appointed between FIMS and Women's Studies and Feminist Research for several years, but will be in her new position full-time. Her term begins on July 1. She will take over for Associate Professor Amanda Grzyb, who has been serving as Assistant Dean, Undergraduate for the last year and a half.

FIMS launches MIT Minor option
FIMS has accepted 50 students into the new MIT Minor option for September 2014. The Minor is intended for students who are not in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, and will provide media literacy skills that will complement any other field of study.

FIMS Faculty Council calls for reinstatement of Dr. Robert Buckingham
On Wednesday, May 21, Faculty Council voted to call for the reinstatement of Robert Buckingham, the professor recently fired from his position as Dean of the School of Public Health at University of Saskatchewan for speaking out against a university restructuring program. Proposing the motion to Council, Acting Dean Nick Dyer Witheford said that the case tested two opposing views of Decanal responsibilities: one saw Deans solely as members of University management, committed to public loyalty to administrative policies; the other understood Deans as having a dual responsibility to both University management and their Faculties, with a responsibility to engage in critical public debate about academic policy. The motion passed unanimously.

Visit from eminent scholar Dr. Volodymyr Kulyk
FIMS had leading Ukrainian scholar Volodymyr Kulyk on-hand for three days in June, where he headlined a series of events titled “Media and Crisis in Ukraine.”  Kulyk presented a lecture, held an informal conversation, and participated in a panel discussion dealing with the media war and struggle for control of information in the Ukraine.

Awards & Accomplishments

Marni Harrington promoted
Marni Harrington, FIMS Librarian and manager of the Graduate Resource Centre, was promoted to the rank of Associate Librarian as of January 1, 2014.

Nadine Wathen named FIMS Faculty Scholar
The nomination of Nadine Wathen as FIMS Faculty Scholar was approved in April by the Selection Committee for the Faculty Scholar Awards and by the Provost.  Faculty Scholar Awards are limited in number and recognize the scholarly achievements of a faculty member at a critical point in her or his career.  The awards acknowledge "the complete scholar who has maintained an excellent record in teaching and research, and who has recently achieved prominence in one of these two domains."

Additional Activities of Note

MIT instructor Henry Adam Svec announced the launch of LIVINGSTON, an archive of artificially intelligent Canadian folk music. The product of collaboration between Henry and the Czech programmer Mirek Plíhal, LIVINGSTON can access the history of Canadian folksong and generate hyper-authentic works from the source data. For more information, please visit

Successful Defenses

Lucia Cedeira Serantes, LIS PhD.  (May 20, 2014). Young Adults Reflect on the Experience of Reading Comics in Contemporary Society: Overcoming the Commonplace and Recognizing Complexity.

Jill McTavish, LIS PhD. (December 5, 2014). Knowledge Organization Practices in Everyday Life: Divergent Constructions of Healthy Eating.

Trevor Almon, Media Studies MA.  (April 23, 2014). The Imaginary Life of Revolt: Alienation, Nostalgia, and the Digital Mediation of the Radical Subject.

Devlin, Matthew.  (April 16, 2014). Cultivating Better Brains: Transhumanism and its Critics on the Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement Via Brain-Computer Interfacing.  

Macklem, Lisa.  (December 10, 2013).  Exploring Accuracy in Journalism Stories Reporting on Neuroscience Research Findings: A Comparative Case.