I’m the Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities) and Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities at Brock University. Previously, I was a Director and Project Director at the National Film Board of Canada, and an Assistant Professor in the Departments of History, and Integrated Studies in Education (D.I.S.E.), as well as the Director of Undergraduate Programs (D.I.S.E), at McGill University.
As an academic leader, researcher, and teacher, I have striven for excellence in teaching and scholarship, created structures and mechanisms to support it in colleagues, and developed new interdisciplinary programs to cultivate it in students. I have led or helped lead the development and establishment of undergraduate and graduate programs (the Interactive Arts and Sciences minor and major programs, the Master of Arts in History program), conference and symposia series (the Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conferences), and research projects (such as Pastplay). I am also a proud winner of a Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
As an Associate Vice-President I have helped lead our university-wide strategic research planning process, and am working with my colleagues to increase the number and dollar amount of our research awards (in 2014 we more than doubled our SSHRC Insight Grant success rate, and more than tripled our funds awarded). Research Infosource recently ranked Brock among Canada’s top ten universities in research funding growth, with a 13% year over year increase (as compared to a 1.1% national average).
I am especially interested in how universities are addressing the paradigm shift brought about by the new digital technologies. In my Big Thinking Lecture to the 2013 Royal Society of Canada Annual Meeting, and the 2014 Annual Conference of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as in op-eds in venues including University Affairs and the
Globe and Mail, I have called for a conversation that brings us together in the practice of critical reflection and effective communication that has powered the academy in the past and will propel us into the future.
I have helped to build my university’s province-leading reputation for engagement with the community, with a special emphasis on the Arts, through the creation of the Niagara Interactive Media Generator (now the Generator at One, and Innovate Niagara). As a result of the partnerships I formed with local companies, the nearby college and all levels of government, Niagara now boasts one of the world’s most advanced interactive media and motion-capture facilities. Innovate Niagara speaks to the potential of humanities partnerships, and the ways in which the Arts can lead the university in community engagement.
My research program as a Canada Research Chair lies at the intersection of history, computing, education, and game studies. This research has resulted in the publication of books and articles on the use of computer simulations for history and history teaching and learning, and on Canadian cultural history, and its impact has been recognized through awards such as the Ontario Early Researcher Award. I have been fortunate to receive 38 research grants or fellowships as a principal investigator (47 in total), many of them from the Tri-Council, the total value of which is over 12 million dollars. Many of my research projects (such as the Ontario Augmented Reality Network) develop and support university to public- and private-sector technology transfers and partnerships. I created a corporation so that I could train budding interactive media entrepreneurs, and our projects (such as Niagara 1812), have been supported by the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Ontario Trillium Foundation). Together with my team I have produced history Web sites, games, simulations, and apps.