| October 6, 2016

Felix Odartey-Wellington, Communications Professor and Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

Felix Odartey-Wellington, Communications Professor and Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces

BY: Felix Odartey-Wellington

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Currently, I’m a Communication professor at Cape Breton University. I’m also a Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve. I obtained my position at Cape Breton University in the middle of a recession because I had the right mix of training, education and experience that made me competitive against other potential candidates.

My dissertation research was on Canada’s broadcast regulatory regime and complemented my supervisor’s research area. The research course in the program trained me in acquiring the skills to conduct regulatory research which has supported my career. That training allowed me to introduce two new courses when I was hired at CBU.

The opportunity to receive writing mentorship from my supervisor and work on published pieces was incredibly valuable. She had her own research program and offered me an opportunity to work with her on it. She said “I need you to be a co-author with me on a book project.” The book was published. I was then able to leverage the book to obtain the position that I have today.

I had completed my undergrad in another country (Ghana) and wasn’t initially familiar with the instructional culture in Canada. My experience as a TA helped me gain a better understanding of how undergraduate courses were taught here. Undergrad and graduate seminars are very different from undergraduate lectures. It was good to be exposed to these differences. My first teaching opportunity was at Ryerson, where I delivered a course for which I was previously a TA which was a good transition. I was able to learn the ropes as TA.

My work as a Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces is very much informed by my PhD training in Communication and Culture in terms of the depth and breadth of exposure the program gave me, allowing me to build on my MA specialization in Public Affairs at Concordia. Believe it or not, a solid grounding in critical communication theory is important for public affairs practice. (Coincidentally, the Canadian Armed Forces used to train its Public Affairs Officers at Ryerson.) In this position, I recently worked as contingent Public Affairs Officer for Canada in a multi-national exercise in Jamaica. The goal of the exercise was to build capacity for Caribbean nations to counter transnational organized crime, to provide humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

The position I have today at Cape Breton University and in the Canadian Armed Forces are very fulfilling. They’re both directly attributable to my formation at Ryerson.

Image: Felix works at his desk as a Public Affairs Officer during Exercise STRIDENT TRACER 16 at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, on August 24, 2016. Photo: Warrant Officer Jerry Kean.


Poll – Teaching assistantships

Currently, I’m a Communication professor at Cape Breton University. I’m also a Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve. I obtained my position at Cape Breton University in the middle of a recession because I had the right mix of training, education and experience that made me competitive against other potential candidates.

My dissertation research was on Canada’s broadcast regulatory regime and complemented my supervisor’s research area. The research course in the program trained me in acquiring the skills to conduct regulatory research which has supported my career. That training allowed me to introduce two new courses when I was hired at CBU.

The opportunity to receive writing mentorship from my supervisor and work on published pieces was incredibly valuable. She had her own research program and offered me an opportunity to work with her on it. She said “I need you to be a co-author with me on a book project.” The book was published. I was then able to leverage the book to obtain the position that I have today.

I had completed my undergrad in another country (Ghana) and wasn’t initially familiar with the instructional culture in Canada. My experience as a TA helped me gain a better understanding of how undergraduate courses were taught here. Undergrad and graduate seminars are very different from undergraduate lectures. It was good to be exposed to these differences. My first teaching opportunity was at Ryerson, where I delivered a course for which I was previously a TA which was a good transition. I was able to learn the ropes as TA.

My work as a Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces is very much informed by my PhD training in Communication and Culture in terms of the depth and breadth of exposure the program gave me, allowing me to build on my MA specialization in Public Affairs at Concordia. Believe it or not, a solid grounding in critical communication theory is important for public affairs practice. (Coincidentally, the Canadian Armed Forces used to train its Public Affairs Officers at Ryerson.) In this position, I recently worked as contingent Public Affairs Officer for Canada in a multi-national exercise in Jamaica. The goal of the exercise was to build capacity for Caribbean nations to counter transnational organized crime, to provide humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

The position I have today at Cape Breton University and in the Canadian Armed Forces are very fulfilling. They’re both directly attributable to my formation at Ryerson.

Image: Felix works at his desk as a Public Affairs Officer during Exercise STRIDENT TRACER 16 at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, on August 24, 2016. Photo: Warrant Officer Jerry Kean.


Poll – Teaching assistantships

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