Melanie James is an academic at the University of Newcastle (UON) in strategic communication and public relations. She researches the application of Positioning Theory to strategic communication, examining theory and practice in emergent strategy, agile management and telepresence.
She is a 2017 Visiting Research Fellow at UTS. In 2016, Melanie successfully undertook the Head of School role and led a team of 60 staff through a major restructure process.
Her research is internationally recognised and she was a keynote speaker at the 2017 International Positioning Theory Conference at Oxford University. Recent journal articles have appeared in Global Media Australia (2016), Quarterly Review of Film and Video (2016), and Public Relations Review (2016). Her academic book (Routledge, 2014), Positioning Theory and Strategic Communications: A new approach to public relations research and practice, was well reviewed.
Her 2017 “Autoethnography: the story of “doing a MOOC” or knowing “the beast” from within” chapter appears in Bennett, R. & Kent, M. (Eds.). MOOCS and Higher Education: Where to Next? (Ashgate). Her invited entries on “Emergent Strategy” (4000 words) and “Strategic Readiness” (2000 words) for the Wiley International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication are in press (2018).
She is the current editor of the Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, now open access, established in 1999.
She is an invited contributor as a “thought leader in social media” in both the 2017 and the original 2014 edition of Lipshultz’s book, Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics (Routledge). She served from 2012-2015 on the National Educational Advisory Committee of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.
Having been awarded the National Educator of the Year Award 2015 by the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Melanie continues to pursue innovation in teaching. In 2016, she led the new MOOC Committee for UON and project managed the first NewcastleX MOOC development, which has been recently announced as a finalist in the top ten global Edx MOOCS. Her third year students with technical officer, George Hyde, made this video as a tribute to her teaching: View here (30 secs).
Prior to joining UON Melanie was an executive level communication manager in government (Australian Greenhouse Office, Australian Electoral Commission, Australian Bureau of Statistics), health and financial sectors. She has won national and state awards for communication campaigns. She continues to take on selected strategic communication consultancy roles.
She is a published creative writer and poet, and has been a finalist in the Australian Vogel Literary Award. In September 2016 she was named as a finalist in the University of New Orleans Press non-fiction/memoir competition.
Employment history and academic qualifications can be found here (opens in new window on LinkedIn).