Melanie James has primarily worked in academic roles a the University of Newcastle, and senior management roles in public relations and media including as an executive level communication manager in government (Australian Greenhouse Office, Australian Electoral Commission, Australian Bureau of Statistics), health and financial sectors. She has won international, national and state awards for her communication campaigns and academic work.
Melanie has researched positioning in strategic communication and the impact of social media in public relations. Her research has been internationally recognised and she was a keynote speaker at the 2017 International Positioning Theory Conference held at Oxford University. Her academic book (Routledge, 2014), Positioning Theory and Strategic Communications: A new approach to public relations research and practice, is regularly cited in positioning theory research in multidisciplinary contexts.
She project managed the first Massive Open Online course (MOOC) development for the University of Newcastle, which in December 2017 won the global award “MOOC of the Year” for Exceptional Contribution to Online Learning by Edx.
In 2017 Melanie was a Visiting Research Fellow at UTS and a Visiting Researcher at the United Nations University – Centre for Regional Integration Studies, Bruges, Belgium.
In 2016, Melanie successfully undertook the Head of School role for the School of Design, Communication and IT at the University of Newcastle and led a team of 60 staff through a major restructure process.
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” and “Strategic Readiness” for the Wiley International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication are in press (2018).
She served as editor Dec 2015 – June 2018 of the Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, now open access, established in 1999.
She was 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’s third year students, with technical officer, George Hyde, made this video as a tribute to her teaching: View here (30 secs).
Melanie is also is a published creative writer, and has been a finalist in the Australian Vogel Literary Award and the 2016 University of New Orleans Press non-fiction/memoir competition.
Employment history and academic qualifications can be found here (opens in new window on LinkedIn).