Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff

The Faculty of Communication Studies bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom. Most have worked extensively in the disciplines they teach; many continue their industry involvement through participation in local and national associations and conferences and as adjudicators, evaluators, commentators, and consultants.

Faculty and staff members alike demonstrate a genuine commitment to the success of students and the program, developing innovative learning materials, working directly with students, and dedicating the time and energy required to ensure that success.

Marc A. Chikinda MA (Comm), LTC(Lon), AMRC

Marc Chikinda is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Studies. He previously taught broadcast journalism in the Broadcasting Diploma program. He has received several national awards for teaching excellence and was named the recipient of Mount Royal's Distinguished Faculty Award by the Board of Governors in 1999. Marc's office is located in room T254A where the door is always open for students, faculty and staff. On most early mornings, Marc can be found having coffee at Tim Hortons where he is eager to discuss most anything with those he encounters.

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Full-Time Staff

Elizabeth Lennox
Coordinator, Public Relations Outreach

After six years in the Registrar's Office, Elizabeth is excited to be a part of the Faculty of Communication's team. Her roots are in the Maritimes where she received her BA from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. She finds the change from Enrolment Services particularly satisfying due to her more direct involvement with the students and faculty. Elizabeth's primary role as Outreach Coordinator is to develop an Alumni program, connect with external clients as well as assist in the PR program with event planning.

Kerri Martin
Head of Web Publication Production

Kerri has worked for the Faculty of Communication Studies since 2007. As the Head of Web Publication Production, she works with web-based curriculum and all FCS web publications. She enjoys working with the students in all programs. Kerri also teaches Photoshop for the Continuing Education faculty at SAIT and is a nature and wildlife photographer in her spare time. Visit her photography website here: www.kerrimartinphotography.com

Brad Simm
Head of Print Production

Brad is the Calgary Journal’s production manager. He designs the print version of Journal and oversees the layout and production of the publication. Brad has a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Communication Studies and worked extensively in the environmental fiield before getting involved with arts and entertainment publications. He wrote for and edited VOX Magazine (CJSW’s now defunct program guide) throughout the ‘90s,was the editor for the Calgary Straight (a short- lived urban weekly owned by the Georgia Straigh t), and is currently the publisher of BeatRoute, a Calgary based music publication. Brad also has a web-design certificate from Mount Royal, holds a post-graduate certificate in Technical Communications and is completing a MA in Creative Media.


Full-Time Faculty

Brad Clark, Chair
Before coming to Mount Royal, Brad spent six years as a national reporter for CBC Radio, covering the oil and gas industry from Caracas, Houston,Tuktoyuktuk and Washington D.C. His personal interest in sports crossed into his professional life too; He's reported on the NHL, the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, and the Summer Olympics in Athens. Brad has run 11 marathons including Boston, and was a finisher at the 2003 and 2005 Ironman Canada triathlons. Before moving to Calgary in 1996, Brad was a reporter on an award-winning radio investigative team at CBC in Edmonton. He studied economics at the University of Alberta, and in 1990, graduated from the University of Wales with a Master's degree in Journalism Studies. He has started work on his doctorate at Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Irv Ratushniak, Broadcasting
Irv graduated from Mount Royal's Broadcasting Diploma program in 1977 and received his BA in English from the University of Calgary in 1998. Irv has worked in TV as a photojournalist and as an editor with CBC. Irv has done freelance work in TV and corporate videos since 1990.

Alana Gieck, Broadcasting
Since graduating from the Mount Royal Broadcasting program in 1994, and a brief stint in radio, Alana has been working in television creative throughout Alberta.  As an award winning Producer, Alana has worked on everything from commercials to programming.  In 2006 she had the fortune of fulfilling a dream to teach broadcasting full time.  Freelancing in her time off gives her a chance to stay connected to the industry as a writer, producer, director and voice actor. Alana’s passions include Television, Advertising and all things CREATIVE…

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Part-Time Faculty

Dave Anson
With over 20 years of experience in the television industry, Dave has worked at Mount Royal since 1994. One of the highlights of Dave's career was providing the audio during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Dave provides television and technical support to the Faculty. He provides hands-on training to the students on all aspects of television production and looks after the purchasing of new equipment.

Rick Castiglione
Rick Castiglione has been a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Communication Studies since 2001. For more than 25 years he worked as a reporter, anchor and producer for CTV (Calgary and Winnipeg) and Global Calgary. He has won numerous television and journalism awards for documentaries and television news specials and now operates a successful television production and documentary film company, Cielo Pictures Inc.

Janet Connerton
Writer /Creative Director/ Instructor for more years than she cares to admit, Janet’s won her share of awards including the prestigious Orson Wells (Best in North American), Clio (Best in the world). A graduate of the Mount Royal Broadcasting program, Janet moved to California as a Casting Director to work for several major film companies. She was Creative Director for FM96 and, KIKFM and now freelances for a wide variety of Radio,TV and production companies and enjoys teaching in the Broadcasting program.

Al Lamb
As a graduate of the Mount Royal Broadcasting program, Al has worked in radio and TV for over 30 years. He has radio experience includes: live current afairs, radio drama, international sporting events and musical events. Al's TV experience includes Hockey Night in Canada, CFL, Spruce Meadows and a number of Olympic Games, most recently Vancouver & Beijing. He has worked for all the major Canadian broadcasters (CBC, TSN, RDS, RSN) as well as American companies such as FOX and Comcast. Al is also currently an audio instructor for CBC radio & television as well as supplying training and audio services to other members of the broadcast community.

Information Design

Full-Time Faculty

Ben Kunz, Chair
Ben has over 20 years of industry-based experience in visual identity design, information design and editorial design. His passion for books has resulted in the design of 40 titles over the past decade. As a member of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), he has taught at the Alberta College of Art and Design, University of Alberta, York University and The University of Cincinnati. Ben holds degrees from the University of Alberta and the University of Cincinnati. Ben has also been nominated by his peers for the Excellence Award, recognizing consistent outstanding achievement in the practice, education and promotion of graphic design in Canada.

Glenn Ruhl, Information Design
Dr. Glenn Ruhl is the Chair for the Information Design program and Technical Writing certificates of achievement in the Faculty of Communication Studies. His academic qualifications include an honours baccalaureate degree, professional teaching certificate, masters degree, and doctoral degree in education. His most recent industry experience includes serving as the Executive Director for Canadian Polymer Industry Association (West). He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Theta academic honor societies and has received awards for academic writing. He is an active member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, and the Editors’ Association of Canada.

Milena Radzikowska, Information Design
Milena has a Bachelor of Design Honours (BDes) degree in Visual Communication from NSCAD University and a Masters in Design (MDes) from the University of Alberta. Professionally she has worked as an interface designer for the web and interactive television, and as a visual communication designer for print-based projects. Her current and past research activities include applying visual communication design methods to online computing issues. She is also interested in performance-based measures of information access and use, both in print and online. Milena is a Licentiate (LDGC) Member of the Graphic Designers of Canada; a member of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ACH/ALLC); and a member of the Calgary User Experience Group. View her portfolio at: http://milenaradzikowska.com/

Brian Traynor, Information Design
Brian has almost 20 years in the technical communication industry.This includes project management of multi-site teams, the design of documentation and courseware for complex systems, and the use of different tools and applications in information development. Brian’s career has followed the path of his interests rather than being formally planned. He has a M.Sc in Geography and M.Eng in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Calgary.

Gilbert Wilkes, Information Design
Gilbert has a PhD in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (2004). He specializes in the study of the production, composition, distribution, and the use of text in various media conditions, especially online and technical communication. He also studies, and teaches, rhetoric, which means persuasion, which means how to influence people to do things, or to believe things, with your words, and how we can use language to both inform and to connect. Both in his research and in the classroom Gilbert uses computer-assisted tools for text analysis, from concordancers to semantic-network visualizers to topic resolution tools.

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Full-Time Faculty

Shauna Snow-Capparelli, Chair
For nearly 13 years, Shauna was a reporter at the Los Angeles Times where she wrote and edited a daily arts and entertainment news column. But since joining MRU in 2001, Shauna has focused on teaching professional and ethical journalism practice to her students, and in 2011 won the “Teaching News Terrifically in the 21st Century” award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). She sits on the Canadian Association of Journalists’ national Ethics Advisory Board, for which she chaired the writing in 2011 of the CAJ’s Ethics Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Journalism. She currently teaches media ethics, but prior to becoming program chair, spent more than a decade as the faculty supervisor for the journalism program’s award-winning community news outlet, the Calgary Journal. Shauna also sits on the advisory boards of both NewCanadianMedia.ca and J-Source.ca, and is also the only Canadian editorial board member of the AEJMC’s refereed scholarly publication Newspaper Research Journal. Shauna has a Master of Arts in Integrated Studies (MAIS) from Athabasca University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the journalism program at California State University, Fullerton, where she held a number of editorial positions including executive editor on the university’s award-winning newspaper, the Daily Titan.

Terry Field, Journalism
Terry Field is chair of the Journalism program. He came to Mount Royal in1999 following a 20 year career in news and current affairs, first in newspapers but primarily in television and radio as a CBC producer in Windsor, Edmonton and Calgary. He has produced a number of award winning programs including a radio series recognized by the Canadian Association of Journalists. Terry holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo, and a Master's in Communication Studies from the University of Calgary. He is also speaks Spanish, has taught courses in Mexico, and is active in Mount Royal's internationalization programs.

Sally Haney, Journalism
Sally teaches broadcast and online journalism to students in MRU's journalism program. She worked for CBC Television and Radio for 14 years before joining Mount Royal in 2003. Sally continues to work occasionally at CBC performing a variety of jobs, including hosting, reporting, and producing. She has also done some travel writing, as well as voice talent work for numerous organizations. Sally holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications from the University of Regina, as well as a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology from the University of Alberta. Her research interests include social media practice and policy in journalism, problem-based learning, and feminist theory. She and her partner are discovering by virtue of having two amazing children that the days are long, but the years are short.

Sean Holman, Journalism
Sean Holman is the founding editor of the pioneering British Columbia-based online investigative political news service Public Eye. Holman's nine-year career covering public affairs issues also included stints as a syndicated columnist, a legislative reporter for 24 hours and The Vancouver Sun, and a weekly talk show host on CFAX 1070. He joined Mount Royal in 2012, having previously taught journalism at the University of Victoria. A former government communications advisor, Holman's reporting has regularly appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Tyee, the Times Colonist and Dow Jones News Service. His research interests include evaluating the state of accountability in Canada's public and private institutions.

Ron MacDonald, Journalism
M.A., Political Science, Ron MacDonald has been a reporter, staff correspondent, senior editor, news director, acting bureau chief, and freelance writer. Ron taught at other post secondary institutions before joining the faculty at Mount Royal as a full-time Journalism instructor in 1984. He has served at Mount Royal as Chair of Academic Council, a member of the college Board of Governors, and as Chair of the former Communications Department and of the Applied Journalism and Applied Electronic Publications degree programs.

Janice Paskey, Journalism
Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Janice Paskey is past editor of Calgary’s Avenue magazine, and the McGill University alumni magazine in Montreal. She holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University and a master’s degree from the Institute of International Relations at the University of Chile. Over the course of her career, she has served as Canadian Correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education, web producer for CTV Calgary, Executive Director of Communications for the University of Calgary Development Office, and Manager of Communications for Development and Alumni at McGill. She writes for magazines and newspapers nationwide.

She was named a 2012 Reynolds Center for Business Journalism Fellow with a mandate to develop business journalism curriculum.

Janice Paskey was the principal investigator for the study “The Alberta Oil Sands, Journalists, and their Sources” published by the Oil Sands Research and Information Network published January 2012.

Together with a team of students from Mount Royal, she produces the Magazine School Curriculum Project for the Western Magazine Awards Foundation (2010, 2009, 2008.)

David Taras, Journalism
David Taras is the Ralph Klein Chair in Media Studies at Mount Royal University. Before coming to Mount Royal, he taught at the University of Calgary, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Toronto. Dr. Taras received a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Legislative Internship Program at Queen's Park. He has served as an advisor to the Alberta government on national unity and as an expert advisor to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. David Taras is the author of The Newsmakers: The Media's Influence on Canadian Politics, Power & Betrayal in the Canadian Media and co-author of The Last Word: Media Coverage of the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, he has edited or co-edited over a dozen books including three volumes in the How Canadians Communicate series, four editions of A Passion for Identity: Introduction to Canadian Studies and most recently Making a Difference: The Internet and Elections in Comparative Perspective. The New Newsmakers: Media and Public Life in Canada will be published in 2012.

David Taras is a regular commentator on the Global TV's Morning News in Calgary, is a five-time winner of the University of Calgary Students' Union Award for Teaching Excellence and received the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005.

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Part-Time Faculty

Paul Coates
While at the University of Guelph, Paul got hooked on journalism, but photojournalism became his passion. Paul went on to work at weekly and daily papers before creating his own photography business. Paul started teaching at Mount Royal in 1987 and has won six teaching excellence awards and two distinguished faculty awards. He first authored his basic photography manual in 1996, included a digital processes chapter in 1999 and last revised it in 2003. His students have won various photojournalism awards including a national weekly newspaper award.

Gillian Steward
Gillian Steward is a Calgary author and journalist. She currently writes a regular column for the Toronto Star, teaches at Mount Royal University and University of Calgary, and is a PhD candidate in communication studies. She was the managing editor at The Calgary Herald from 1987 to 1990, and was the publisher/editor of Alberta Views Magazine 2006/2007. In 2000 she co-authored with Kevin Taft Clear Answers: The Economics and Politics of For-Profit Medicine. She has also authored two major reports on the impact of the recession on Calgarians. These reports were funded by several community groups including The Sheldon Chumir Foundation and the Canada West Foundation and were based on the findings of 15 focus groups. Ms. Steward also wrote a major report for the Canadian Health Coalition and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives after these organizations conducted public hearings across Canada about the need for a pharmacare program.

Patrick Perri
Patrick is a limited term sessional instructor with the Departments of Communications, Computer Science and General Education. He holds bachelor degrees in Microbiology / Immunology (UWO) and Education (Dalhousie), and a masters degree in Education Technology from the U of C. An educator since 1993, Patrick has taught everything from art and science to grade school students, to programming and mathematics to MRU students.

Public Relations

Full-Time Faculty

Jane McNichol, Chair
Jane McNichol, BA, MBA, President, Stoneman Communications Group, is a speaker, author, and business communication strategist with a career that spans journalism, corporate communication and financial communication consulting. She studied journalism at Carleton University; has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto; and a Masters degree in Business Administration, specializing in Public Relations & Communication Management, from Royal Roads University, Victoria. 

Sandra L. Braun, PhD, Public Relations
Sandra obtained her Diploma of Public Relations from Mount Royal, a Bachelor's degree in Telecommunication from Oral Roberts University, MA in Mass Communication from University of Florida, and a PhD in Communication from University of Alabama. She has public relations and advertising experience in the agency, medical and college settings. Her experience in the agency setting includes work in many sectors including corporate, small business, industry, nonprofit organizations, agriculture, financial institutions, government entities and political campaigns. Her master's thesis documented public relations practice in Bulgaria and was published in The Journal of Public Relations Research. Her paper, A Theoretical Analysis of Communication Efforts by the Canadian Tourism Commission after 9/11 received top paper at the International Communication Association conference in Dresden, Germany in 2006. Her research interests include international PR, application of theory to public relations, women in PR,  PR history, and the development of Canadian content for communications scholarship. She hails from Medicine Hat and is a native Albertan.

Janet Hamnett, Public Relations
Janet Hamnett, MCS. is a PhD. Candidate, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, University of Calgary. Dissertation: Learning Organization: More Mythical Than Real? Her credentials also include: MCS. (Communications), University of Calgary. Masters Project: Euro Disney: A Cross-Cultural Communications Failure? Her teaching focus is on developing applied and experiential learning opportunities that create a holistic and contextual synergy between theory and practice. She has taught the the following PR courses: Communications Theory, Organizational Communications & Culture, Interpersonal Communications, Communications Research Methods. Her research interest is on the social context of organizational experience and the notion of learning in relation to this experience.

Allison MacKenzie, Public Relations
Allison MacKenzie, BA, MBA, ABC is a results-oriented, communications generalist with more than 15 years of experience facilitating effective strategic communication between organizations and their stakeholders. Her extensive public relations background includes not-for-profit, for profit, government, education and fund raising. Previously she was the Director of External Relations at the University of Calgary, Senior Director of Communications at The United Way of Calgary and Area, International Marketing Manager at Macleod Dixon LLP, Director of Communications at the Law Society of Alberta and Internal Communications Officer at the Edmonton Police Service. Allison currently serves as President, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Calgary and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Calgary Arts Development Association (CADA) and the Calgary Distress Centre.

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Part-Time Faculty

Pam Ashcroft
Pam is a part-time member of the Faculty of Communication Studies teaching courses in public relations. Pam is also an instructor in the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension teaching face-to-face and online courses in the Public Relations and Event Management Certificate programs. With 10 years of professional public relations experience, Pam brings knowledge from working in oil sands in Fort McMurray, integrated oil companies in Calgary, not-for-profit organizations in Saskatoon and a successful consulting business to the classroom. Pam was part of the first class to graduate from Mount Royal with an Applied Degree specializing in Public Relations and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Integrated Studies focusing on Adult Education and Community Studies through Athabasca University.

John Phin
John is a professional fundraiser, with 20 years experience in fund development with several organizations serving a variety of sectors. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson, and in 1999 earned the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation. John is a sessional instructor teaching fund development.

Ron Strand
Ron is a part-time member of the Faculty of the Faculty of Communication Studies, Public Relations. He is also an Instructor in the Continuing Education Faculty, teaching online courses in the Nonprofit Management Certificate program. Ron has two undergraduate degrees, a graduate certificate and a Master of Arts Degree in Integrated Studies, which combined research in organizations and community through Athabasca University with Graduate Studies in Communications at the University of Calgary. He is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Education program. Ron received a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007.

Full-Time Faculty - Speech

  • Ruth Murdoch