Communication Teaching Positions: Part-time

Laurier University has a number of positions open in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Liberal Arts, with a deadline of June 7 and June 8 (see descriptions).  Those of you who live nearby may find these opportunities a way to fill gaps at Ryerson. See below for the links for the Waterloo campus:

History of Communication Thought

Communication Research Methods

And the following:

The Digital Media and Journalism Program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford Campus invites applications for instructors to teach the following courses in the Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 terms:

Course Instructor: DMJN/HR252 BR2/L2 – Designing Digital and Social Media

Course Instructor: DMJN/HR312 BR/OO – Advocacy Journalism: Principles and Practice

Course Instructor: DMJN/MX211 BR – Introduction to Media Studies

Course Instructor: DMJN202 BR1/1A – Cross-Media Story Telling
Course Instructor: DMJN202 BR2 / 1B – Cross-Media Story Telling
Course Instructor: DMJN307 BR – Media, Culture and Democracy
Course Instructor: DMJN308 BR – Advanced Data Journalism and Investigative Research

Course Instructor: DMJN317 BR – Editing and Verification
Course Instructor: DMJN319 BR – Integrated Media Lab

The positions are posted on Laurier’s Faculty and Librarian Job Postings page at:

The courses are posted under the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Please see the links there or above for detailed information about the courses.

The deadline for applications is June 8, 2018.

Kenneth C. Werbin, PhD | Associate Dean: Faculty of Liberal Arts | Program Coordinator – Associate Professor: Digital Media and Journalism | Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford Campus | 73 George Street, Brantford, ON N3T 2Y3 | 519.756.8228 x5732 |

More on Teaching Evaluations

Not long after our grades are in, we’ll have access to online teaching evaluations for the term.  If you’ve had a class with high rates of plagiarism or low marks during the evaluation period, you might hold your breath before clicking to see the report.  Will the few students who filled out the online FCS be those who needed catharsis or who wanted to express appreciation?  Will enough students provide written comments to guide adjustments or confirm what worked? Will feedback from less than 10% of your class have an impact on your employment?

In an article in the April 25 Issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Michelle Falcoff considers these issues. She summarizes the results of a 2016 faculty survey, and referring to her own experience directing a program in communication and legal reasoning at Northwestern, she points out that a required course, offered in the first year, with high standards and much critical feedback can lead to highly negative teaching evaluations. This suggests a more widely applicable definition of bias than that used in a recent study on gender bias and teaching evaluations.

In the same issue of the Chronicle, Karen Kelsey focuses on the ambiguous wording of evaluations and notes ways to make the exercise more accurate and useful. Falcoff recommends peer review to contextualize student comments.  She points to a resource from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) that provides an extensive list of measurement approaches that can put imperfect instruments such as the FCS into perspective. You may find some ideas for your teaching dossier on that list.

Those of you relatively new to Procom who still have to submit to peer evaluations may feel anxiety about faculty bias as well.  Another helpful resource from Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching acknowledges this concern.  Click to “Possible Limitations of Peer Review.”

Finally, and more depressingly, are the implications of a 1993 study, which found that teaching evaluation results at the end of term were highly correlated to the impression students had of an instructor’s nonverbal behaviour in the first 30 seconds of the first class. Are our carefully constructed lectures, exercises and instruction, not to mention agonizing over grades, all for naught?

This is an area that makes contractual lecturers feel very vulnerable.  Perhaps it’s time for us to work more closely as a group to discuss how to make the teaching evaluation process more meaningful and fair.



Fair Dealing in Higher Education

Many of Procom’s introductory communication courses have  been slowly transitioning from textbooks to digital readings of one sort or another.  We save students money on a course requirement that some are hard-pressed to afford and many are reluctant to read.

I haven’t seen much evidence that students value print versions of communication textbooks even if they shelled out as much as the cost of two months of cell-phone expenses.  Tests and exercises compel reading, no matter the medium.  This has been the case for me in CMN 314, which uses Richard McMaster’s recommended online textbooks and CMN 288, which uses various articles and chapters via D2L’s one-stop course readings.

In her copyright lecture to my CMN 288 classes, Ann Ludbrook, Ryerson’s Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian, warned that we’re in danger of losing this access to free online materials if copyright law is amended to curtail fair dealing. She urges students and teachers to persuade the government to reconsider:

Right now the government is gathering opinions about things that were added to the Copyright Act in 2012 (like fair dealing for education). This is the copyright review year which consists of consultations which will wrap up in early 2019. Right now they are planning a process of public consultations in face-to -face meetings (one of them will be in Toronto) and calling for feedback from Canadian citizens in the way of written submissions, and consulting specific interest groups. 

The Committee invites Canadians to submit written briefs not exceeding 2,000 words. Briefs may be sent to:

For more information on how to prepare a submission, please consult the Guide for Submitting Briefs to House of Commons Committees. 

Additional information can be found in the INDU news release, Ottawa U law professor Michael Geist’s summary update and former university administrator Michael Proulx’s op-ed on the potential impact on the free exchange of ideas.

You’ll also want to check out Catherine Jenkins’s submission to Fair Dealing ©anada, a site launched by the Association of Research Libraries. She provides both the student’s and teacher’s perspectives.

Slowing Down


Two Canadian academics, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber, have written a book, The Slow Professor, explaining how we can reduce the frantic pace and multi-layered commitments of today’s universities and still maintain standards. Though the authors write from the perspective of those with tenure, they advocate for changing our academic culture so that everyone in it can have time to reflect.

Here are two reviews of the book, if your busy schedule doesn’t allow you time to read the whole thing!

Times Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed

Moral Consequences of Adjunctification

David Perry

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to read the powerful speech given by Kevin Birmingham on the occasion of his Truman Capote Award. His essay, “The Great Shame of Our Profession,” was reprinted in The Chronicle of Higher Education last February, and now in Arts and Letters Daily. In fact, our union provided a link earlier this year.  Needless to say, there was some pushback by tenured faculty who didn’t take kindly to the implication that they needed to be part of the solution.