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

Jason Kokot
Head of Video Production

With a background in electronic news gathering (ENG), electronic field production (EFP) and the broadcast industry, Jason has pursued video production opportunities in live transmission, videography, network production, media asset management, non-linear editing and broadcast/production training both in Canada and Europe. Jason has a diploma in Audio Visual Communications and, as part of the Faculty of Communication’s team, he supports both the Broadcast and Journalism programs. Jason continues to work in broadcast and video production, typically freelancing as a camera operator/editor.

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 arriving at Mount Royal in 2006, Dr. Brad Clark spent six years as a national reporter for CBC Radio based in Calgary, covering the oil and gas industry from Caracas, Houston,Tuktoyuktuk and Washington D.C. His career at CBC started in Edmonton in 1992, where Brad’s duties included reporting for an award-winning radio investigative team. At CBC his personal interest in sports often crossed into his professional life too; he reported on the NHL lockouts and Stanley Cup finals, the Paralympics in Salt Lake City, and the Summer Olympics in Athens. Brad has a Master's degree in Journalism Studies from the University of Wales (Cardiff) and a doctorate from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia. His doctoral dissertation examined network television news representations of Aboriginal peoples and ethno-cultural minorities in Canada.

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. His radio experience includes: live current affairs, 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 Sochi & London. 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.

Karen Owen
Karen Owen has worked as a sessional instructor for the Faculty of Communication Studies since 2011, the same year she completed her Master’s degree at Royal Roads University. Karen spent 26 years at CTV Calgary as a reporter/anchor, producer, & web editor. She enjoys sharing her experiences using everything from a pencil to a smartphone to get the story to the audience.

Information Design

Full-Time Faculty

Ben Kunz, Chair
Ben is the Chair of the Information Design Program in Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Communication Studies.

He has over 25 years of industry-based experience in visual identity design, information design and editorial design. He is the Founder and Design Director of Kunz + Associates Limited. His passion for books has resulted in the design of forty titles over the past two decades. As a design consultant he has been involved in launching numerous start-up ventures in the Calgary marketplace.

He has taught at the Alberta College of Art and Design, University of Alberta, York University and The University of Cincinnati. He is passionate about teaching design-thinking as well as teaching the craft of typography. Ben has also been nominated by his peers for the Excellence Award, recognizing consistent outstanding achievement in the practice, education and promotion of design in Canada.

He is a member of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) and has served on both the local and national executives. He is currently serving on the local GDC portfolio review committee.

"I am a delighted to be Chair of the Information Design Program. This program and its stellar students have a lot to contribute to the knowledge-based economy.”

Glenn Ruhl, Information Design
Dr. Glenn Ruhl is a Full Professor and former Chair of the Information Design program in the Faculty of Communication Studies. His academic qualifications include an honours baccalaureate degree, professional teaching certificate, MA and PhD in education. Writing and design has always played a large part in his career. One of his earliest projects was to design the logo for the college hockey team he was coaching and to write and prepare study materials. His most recent industry experience includes serving as Education Program Manager for the Environmental Services Association of Alberta and as the Executive Director for Canadian Plastics Industry Association (West). He is a member of the International Institute for Information Design, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Theta academic honour societies and has received awards for academic writing. In 2012, he received Mount Royal University’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

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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Part-time Faculty

Corey Brennan
Corey Brennan has over a decade of design experience in branding and web design. His passion for design has instilled in him a strong commitment to bring innovation and quality to all aspects of the design process. He is the president and creative director of ELEVATE™ Graphic Design. He is also a sessional instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). Corey has a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree in Visual Communication from ACAD. Prior to following his passion for design, Corey worked in the oil and gas industry and holds a degree in Applied Petroleum Engineering and a diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
His ELEVATE website can be found at: http://www.elevategraphicdesign.com

Victoria Guglietti, information design, journalism and public relations
After some experience as a reporter in Argentina, Victoria moved to Canada where she completed a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary, and a PhD in Cultural Mediations at Carleton University, in Ottawa. Victoria began her teaching career at MRU in Fall 2007, as a instructor of social research methods to journalism students. Since then, she has been teaching a series of communication theory classes (COMM 2500, COMM 2501, COMM 3500 and COMM 3501) to journalism, information design and public relations students.

Victoria has specialized in Aboriginal community media and new media art, postcolonial theory, visual culture and cultural studies. Her work on Aboriginal new media art was published in an anthology, Understanding Community Media (ed. K. Howley, 2009), and in art journals such as Art Inquiry and Seachange. Her most recent research passion is journalism education. She received a Nexen scholarship from Mount Royal University's Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in 2012 to investigate journalism students' learning of social research methods and, since 2014, she is involved in a collaborative investigation of journalism students' professional identity development also funded by Mount Royal University's Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


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 senior courses in video and audio storytelling for the web. She is also faculty supervisor for CalgaryJournal.ca, our program's ever-expanding news and current affairs publication. Sally has a deep interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and has presented research on the use of learning plans in capstone courses, as well as a negotiated grading model she has developed for use in experiential learning courses. She worked as a reporter and editor for CBC Television and Radio for 14 years before joining Mount Royal in 2003. Her radio documentary work received national recognition from the Canadian Association of Journalists. Sally continues to work occasionally at CBC, but less so since taking on a full-time role at MRU. She loves social media, CBC radio, strong coffee and HBO. 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.

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.


Her publications include: “The Alberta Oil Sands, Journalists, and their Sources” (Janice Paskey & Gillian Steward) and The Alberta Oil Sands Then and Now: An An Investigation of the Economic, Environmental and. Social Discourses Across Four Decades (Janice Paskey, Gillian Steward, Amanda Williams) both published by the Oil Sands Research and Information Network.

Together with a team from Mount Royal, she produces the Magazine School Curriculum Project for the Western Magazine Awards Foundation (2008 to 2014) View it at themagazineschool.ca



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.

J. Ian Tennant
J. Ian Tennant has spent more than 30 years in the newspaper business as a reporter, photographer, layout artist, editor and part-owner. He has worked at weekly newspapers in Alberta and London, England, and dailies in Waco and Houston, Texas. In 2014, Ian obtained his doctoral degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also received his master’s degree in journalism in 1999. His research interests include media history, newspaper practices, business models and the future of news, international news, the ever-evolving world of digital news media, photography, and the coverage of Cuba. Ian has authored or co-authored research articles that have appeared in the Newspaper Research Journal and the International Journal on Media Management.

Mike Vernon
Mike Vernon is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and Dalhousie University, where he earned his MA in English Literature. Mike switched to journalism after serving nine years as an army officer with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, including a two-year posting at Canadian Forces Base Baden in West Germany. As a fledgling freelancer he covered the war in Croatia in 1994. Then he became a television news producer and later videojournalist with CBC Newsworld and CBC TV Calgary. He reported from Afghanistan (2002) and France (2007) for the The National and CBC Online. As an army reservist with the Calgary Highlanders, Mike served in Sierra Leone (2011) and Afghanistan (2010), producing the one-hour documentary Desert Lions: Canadian Forces Mentors in Kandahar (2011). This documentary was screened at the Calgary International Film Festival in 2012. Mike began teaching part-time at MRU in 2009. He specializes in visual storytelling and recently developed the COMM 2503 War and Media course in conjunction with Gillian Steward. When he's not teaching at MRU, Mike continues to work at CBC TV Calgary, as well as writing, shooting and editing video projects for the Canadian Armed Forces.

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 20 years of experience facilitating effective strategic communication between organizations and their stakeholders. As a tenured associated professor in the Faculty of Communications - Public Relations, Allison teaches a wide variety of courses including Strategic Communication Planning, Public Relations Management and Applied Writing I and II. Outside of the classroom she is extensively involved in University administration, serving as Chair of the Academic Program and Policy Committee and as a member of numerous other administrative committees.

Her extensive public relations background includes not-for-profit, for profit, government, education and fund raising. Prior to joining Mount Royal University, Allison 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 is an active member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and a Past President of IABC Calgary.

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Part-Time Faculty

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