Melanie James (PhD) originally trained and worked in the 1980s as a registered nurse and clinical nurse educator and progressed in the 1990s into firstly health communication and then secondly into increasingly senior general communication management roles. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) (Hons1) in 1993, a Master of Arts in Journalism in 1998.
Melanie then worked as an academic from 2006 and completed a Grad. Certificate in Tertiary Teaching in 2008 and was awarded a PhD in Media and Communication in 2011.
She has won international, national and state awards for her communication campaigns, innovative course design, and academic work.
Her professional senior management roles in public relations and media have been in the government, health and financial sectors.
Melanie held various academic positions at the University of Newcastle, Australia from 2006 to 2018.
Melanie James’ academic research builds on Positioning Theory, focusing on strategic communication and also its application to Science Diplomacy. Her academic book (Routledge), Positioning Theory and Strategic Communications: A new approach to public relations research and practice, is regularly cited in positioning theory research in multidisciplinary contexts.
Melanie has worked with colleagues and has researched the application of her strategic positioning framework to the field of Science Diplomacy. The paper reporting on this exploratory research was accepted into the Public Diplomacy stream of the 2020 International Communications Association Conference and was presented 21-25 May 2020.
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).
Other Highlights include:
As project manager, she lead 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 was 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 (2018) are available.
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).