Meet the Faculty

Our faculty and instructors offer a wide scope of expertise and scholarship in the field of communications and technology.

Core Faculty

Thomas Barker, PhD is Professor of Communication in the Graduate Program in Communication and Technology (MACT) in the Faculty of Arts (English and Film Studies) at the University of Alberta. His PhD is from the University of Texas, and he served as Director of Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University (2003-2012). He published Writing Software Documentation, second edition, with Allyn & Bacon Press in 2003 and has contributed articles on writing and professional communication to Technical Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, and The Journal of Business and Technical Communication. He is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication and a recipient of the J. R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. He has directed doctoral studies in public policy writing, professional issues in technical communication, intercultural communication, document design, and writing program administration. His current work is in risk communication with an emphasis on public health. Dr. Barker teaches COMM 502 Human Communications and COMM 554 Risk Communi

Gordon Gow, PhD is a Professor of Communication and Director of the Graduate Program in Communications and Technology (MACT) in the Faculty of Arts (Sociology) at the University of Alberta. From 2003-2006 he was lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, where he was Director of the Graduate Programme in Media and Communications Regulation and Policy. Dr. Gow is also affiliated with the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST) at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Gow teaches COMM 503 Social Impact of Digital Media.

Rob McMahon, PhD is an Associate Professor with the Master of Arts in Communication and Technology (MACT) in the Faculty of Arts (Political Science). He holds a doctorate in Communication Studies from Simon Fraser University. His PhD dissertation "Digital Self-Determination: Indigenous Peoples and the Network Society in Canada" was awarded the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal from the Faculty of Art, Communication and Technology. After he completed his PhD, Rob worked for two years as a postdoctoral researcher with the First Nations Innovation Project at the University of New Brunswick. He also co-founded the First Mile Connectivity Consortium, a national nonprofit association of community-based Indigenous broadband providers. Dr. McMahon teaches COMM 506 Strategic Communications and COMM 509 Seminar in Research Design.

Stanley Varnhagen (Faculty of Arts, Sociology) has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His specialty is in program evaluation and research, especially in the domain of educational technology. He is currently at the University of Alberta, in the Learning Solutions Unit where he is the Academic Director. His major responsibility is leading a team of evaluators in supporting, evaluating, and researching those using innovative learning methods and assisting faculty to evaluate their learning related projects. Dr. Varnhagen teaching COMM 553 Real World Evaluation.

Contract Instructors

Houda Trabelsi is an e-Commerce faculty member at Faculty of Business, Athabasca University since 2000. She has received her M.Sc. Business Administration from Sherbrooke University ; Master of Management from University of Tunis- Tunisia, and Advanced Graduate Diploma in Information Technology from Moncton University, NB. She teaches various courses in the field of electronic commerce, Management Information Systems, accounting and strategy as well COMM 550 Introduction to e-Commerce, an elective course within the MACT program since 2003. She has also chaired the Centre for Finance, Economics and e-Commerce for five years. Houda Trabelsi has developed comprehensive and rich e-Commerce and MIS courses and managed and coordinated the development of all advanced e-Commerce courses. In addition to her academic teaching and research, she is working closely with the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and other industry Leaders to build and develop the Business, Technology and Management (BTM) program. Her research interest revolve around strategic management of technology and innovations, cyber security and legal issues, mobile payment, online privacy and other social issues of new communication technologies, interface design and e-Learning.

Adjunct Faculty

Jessica Laccetti, has a PhD from De Montfort University (Creative Technologies). Her main fields of interest are technology, social media, #SMEM, transliteracy, transdisciplinarity and pedagogy. Dr. Laccetti's current projects focus on social media in emergency management, digital strategy (for NPOs), creative technology in education, and social media curriculum design. She is a member of the Transliteracy Research Group (, where she blogs about changing and emerging facets of communication. Twitter: @JessL Blog: Dr. Laccetti teaches COMM 555 New Media Narratives, an elective offered by the MACT program. 

Mark Wolfe, PhD, has an extensive background in strategic communication and emerging communication technologies. After being an early adopter and then educator in the area of desktop publishing technologies and applications in the mid-1980s, he was recruited by Shell Canada to help design and co-manage a world-first corporate newspaper project that helped redefine employee communications in that company while extending his expertise in networked systems. While at Shell, and also working part-time as an editor for The Calgary Herald, Mark earned a Master of Arts degree in communication from the University of Calgary, copping a Governor General Gold Medal thesis nomination for original scholarship in the process. As a PhD student in communication at the University of Calgary, Mark became a senior research associate and worked with the U of C's Dr. David Mitchell in designing and deploying several national research projects of major significance, including a three-year study of the Alberta SuperNet. Aside from ongoing work and publishing in related areas of Knowledge Management, as well as teaching in the MACT program at the University of Alberta, Dr. Wolfe is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, a senior lecturer in communication at Mount Royal University, and is also an Academic Co-Director of the Centre for Communication and Information within the Van Horne Institute in Calgary. Dr. Wolfe teaches COMM 504 Organizational Communications for the MACT program.