A message from Dean Lisa Henderson

September 2022

Lisa Henderson standing in a navy blazer outside on campus in the fall.Hello everyone. As I sit down to write to FIMS alumni, I find myself wishing we could see each other face-to-face. Visiting with alumni is one of the gifts of my appointment as Dean and I miss you in three dimensions. I hope you’re all doing well.

We have so much going on—it’s remarkable to consider the depth and reach of our activity even as the pandemic continues to demand our attention. But as the new academic year gets underway, let’s lead with the good news.

Coming Home - On September 23, from 5-7 pm, FIMS joins the Faculty of Arts & Humanities in a featured Homecoming event called The Human Library. The occasion invites faculty members from both units to act as “books” with titles designed to engage our alumni and guests. Visitors to the Human Library can “take books out” by joining a conversation with a particular faculty colleague, then moving on to another topic of interest. FIMS’ guiding idea for the library is Community—a theme connected to so much of what we’re currently doing as educators, researchers, and citizens. Borrow Professor Amanda Grzyb and colleagues to read up on Collaborative and Community-Based Research in El Salvador, about the Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador research initiative. Or select Professor Basil Chiasson to learn about Forest City Memories: Remembering Communities and Civic Space. Professor and filmmaker Sally Kewayosh will tell Stories from the Margins, or you can choose a book jointly authored by Paulette Rothbauer (FIMS) and Pauline Wakeham (A&H), titled “The Smoke Signals Radio Show Archive: Honouring Community Leaders in Indigenous Media.” (You can read about the Smoke Signals archive here.)

And when doesn’t a book pair well with food and drink? You’re welcome to join us for hors d’oeuvres while you’re browsing book titles. We hope to see many of you in the John Labatt Visual Arts Building for the occasion. You can find registration details here.

Welcoming Nataleah Hunter-Young – FIMS is thrilled to welcome new faculty colleague Nataleah Hunter-Young as Assistant Professor, whose appointment begins January 2023. Nataleah brings so many gifts to FIMS as a PhD scholar in Communication and Culture (York University & Toronto Metropolitan University, 2022), as an interdisciplinary Black Studies scholar, and as a research creator who combines expressive modes like documentary film and silk screen with new approaches to scholarly writing. A distinguished film curator, Nataleah has many years of experience working at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. They are also a trained social worker committed to young people and community arts activism. We welcome Nataleah to FIMS graduate and undergraduate programs and to Creative Arts and Production (CAP), our new undergraduate program jointly offered by FIMS, Arts & Humanities, and the Don Wright Faculty of Music. See more about CAP below and join Nataleah at TIFF for her program of films from Africa and Arab West Asia continuing through September 18, 2022. For a full list of TIFF ’22 selections from the Black Diaspora visit https://bit.ly/3R7c3ty.

Congratulating Marni Harrington and Welcoming Melanie Mills – After 12 years as FIMS Graduate Librarian and then Library Director, our colleague Marni Harrington retired on June 30 this year and was celebrated at a reception on the terrace of the FIMS Grad Library. Marni’s Library leadership has been moving and important – in its key educational contributions across all FIMS graduate programs, its training contributions to our MLIS program, its community orientation, its commitment to user service and privacy, its intellectual leadership through ELIP, the Emerging Library and Information Perspectives open-source journal, and through collaboration with Western Libraries. Marni has kept us in the field, the profession, and the conversation for a long time, and we’re so proud that she is also a 2007 graduate from our MLIS program. Here’s to safe and happy times and travels in her next chapter. With Marni’s retirement, we welcome Melanie Mills as FIMS’ newly appointed Graduate Library Director. You can find out more about Melanie is this recent profile.

Career Conferencing with Alum - In an interdisciplinary faculty like ours, students have many employment opportunities to consider after leaving the Alumni Hall stage and stepping out into life after graduation. Do you remember your first few years on the job market? While there’s no wrong way to go, alumni are helping make that first step easier for FIMS undergraduates by participating in the Career Conference, this year on Friday, October 21. The Career Conference connects students with their greater alumni network and helps them become more confident as they take flight after Western. Now in its sixth year, the FIMS Career Conference brings together current students and FIMS alumni to talk about the world of work. Alumni share how they made their big decisions, found (and even lost) opportunities, and how they navigated the challenges of working in media-related industries. The conference is organized each year by a committee of students, staff, and alumni, with generous financial support from the Undergraduate Student Fund (USF).

Follow along on Instagram: @westernuFIMS. If you’d like to be involved in events like this, we’d be delighted. Let us know @ fimscareers@uwo.ca.

Saying Hello to a Streamlined Master’s Option in Health Information Science – To make our Master of Health Information Science program more accessible, we have added a 3-semester, course-only option to the program for students whose interests are directed to health information practices (from medical records to social service support to community health development and health data management). It’s a great innovation on an important program jointly offered by FIMS and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Our thanks to Associate Dean Graduate Pamela McKenzie (FIMS), Graduate Program Chair Richard Booth (FHS), and HIS Coordinator Nicole Versaevel for their swift work bringing this new option into being. Students will be admitted starting Fall 2023.

Friends, that’s just a selection of our activities, with lots of places for our alum to interact, visit, get involved and support students. Join us!

Lisa Henderson