About Me

Melissa Mae Cheater

Proudly #PSEWEB, #HighEdWeb & #WesternU

I am communications strategist & speaker, specializing in post-secondary education and social network theory.  I’ve been building & studying community for longer than ER was a TV show (15 years and counting) – from working with our cities to rethink youth services, helping Canada’s best minds to mobilize their knowledge to Canadians and the world, and helping universities how to reconnect.  As one of the first graduates of Western University’s Media & Public Interest program (Faculty of Information & Media Studies), I’m proud to work on campus helping to share the school that I love.

Founded in Theory & Practice

My early career started with The Company of Neighbours, a SSHRC funded action research initiative that taught me the importance of Main Street through documenting a century of community now archived in the National Library. In the same period, I founded a new non-profit serving local youth musicians, and helped the municipal government and local YMCA dig into and rethink youth services.

During my studies at Western, I worked closely with Anonequity/On the ID Trail, another SSHRC project that brought together technology, law and sociology minds from around the world to focus on identity and privacy online.  I also had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Dr. Burkell at the Faculty of Information & Media Studies, focusing on social network theory. Since 2007, I have been putting this experience and research into practice with universities and colleges across Canada, breaking new ground (featured by Adobe, Maclean’s and the Globe & Mail) and helping institutions negotiate the digital shift in communications.

My specialty in education communications starts with a foundation built working with Ken Steele and Academica Group – auditing communications, consulting constituents and delivering evidence-based strategies and communications solutions for colleges and universities across Canada. For the past decade, I have been on campus at Western University, working first with Ivey Business School and now Western Communications & Public Affairs, as well as teaching Digital Communications in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies.

#PSEWEB Conference & Community

#PSEWEB asks Canada’s post-secondary education digital designers, developers and strategists to step past their day to day work and isolation, coming together as a national community of specialized professionals, meeting once a year at a grassroots peer-to-peer conference to share ideas and experiences.

I’m a proud co-founder (and board member) of this powerful professional community. We are now heading towards our tenth year, led by an innovative Executive Director, team of institutional partners and board of advisors representing excellence in our industry from coast to coast.

Additional Specifics

Honours BA specializing in Media & Public Interest
Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Western University

Current Positions:
Digital Content Manager, Western University – Communications & Public Affairs
Founder & Board Member, #PSEWEB
Faculty, Information & Media Studies – Western University

Personal:

I live in London, Ontario but am originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  I have been in London since my undergraduate degree at Western University and am proud to be back on campus working in communications.

I have two maltese x shih tzus (Goose & Turk), and have been waging an endless war against dishes in my kitchen for the last 6 years*.  I love local everything, from music to groceries, and will always be happiest when eating delicious anything.  I have terrible taste in television and am surrounded by wonderful people who forgive me every day.

*Update Oct. 18, 2013: Have acquired a dishwasher and the battle has been won.