The Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology is looking to expand their department with the addition of four new hires.

In an interview with The Medium, professor Anthony Wensley, the director of ICCIT, stated that if successful in adding these hires, three would be assistant professors in the tenure stream, and one would be an assistant professor in the teaching stream.

“Any instructor will end up teaching a balance of courses. Some will be courses we already offer, and some courses will relate directly to their interest and their research,” said Wensley.

“But at this stage, because we have such a diversity of individuals applying for our jobs, it is very difficult to say.”

The institute will be undergoing an external review this year, in which the department gets reviewed by professors from outside institutions. The resulting report will help determine areas of focus for the department to develop and expand, according to Wensley.

“At the background, there are some very general ideas we have about where we want to develop or add areas of research and areas of teaching to the institute,” he said.

Students had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by one of the potential candidates, Jeffrey Diamanti, last Friday, who talked about climate media. He is the 2016/2017 Media@McGill postdoctoral fellow in “Media and the Environment,” and is also a co-editor of After Oil, Energy Cultures, Materialism and the Critique of Energy, and others. He is currently working on a book project called The Long Transition: Market Media and the Future of Energy.

In response to whether students are able to present feedback on the candidates, Wensley stated, “The extent to which we can directly involve students is a bit of a challenge, because students have got so much else that they have to do.

“But even if it is a challenge, we find ways of getting students to participate, because it is vitally important that we’re recruiting people who are outstanding teachers, as well as being outstanding researchers,” he added.

“Both things are fundamentally important to UTM, but it’s something we’ve always done in the institute.”

Wensley explained that there are different ways to get students to participate, as the institute carries out constant research.

“Because we do so many searches and because they are so concentrated, in the past, we have had some of our candidates come to existing classes.” He added that this time, the institute will involve students.

“It’s not ideal, but by watching videos of the presentation and assessing videos, that feedback comes directly back to the search committee.”

After interviews with the candidates, the search committee will then submit a request to the Office of the Dean to hire the individual.

“A report is written requesting that we’d like to hire, and part of that report has to provide evidence about student feedback,” said Wensley.

Other new additions to the ICCIT department within the upcoming years include a variety of new courses, a larger emphasis on initiatives with organizations outside of the school, field trips, and engaging in international exchange.

Candidates selected for the new hires are expected to assume their role as early as July 1 this year.

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