Welcoming Zoë Druick as the new CMNS Director

September 08, 2020

Learn about Zoë: I’m a media studies scholar with a particular interest in histories of educational and documentary media. I’ve been fortunate to be a professor in the School for two decades where I’ve learned a good deal by teaching a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in the media studies area. I’ve also previously held two appointments as an associate dean, both in our faculty (FCAT) and in Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. I’m thrilled to be part of a School that is leading the way in developing critical frameworks and research projects with which to understand and intervene in the current conjuncture – whether that takes the form of conversations, community organization or software development.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Director of the School?  What do you hope to achieve?

I’ve never been more enthusiastic about the School than I am today. Over the past few years, we’ve hired a group of brilliant young scholars and teachers who are infusing our School with passion and new ideas. The field of communication is rapidly shifting and has never been more central to public conversations – or more popular with students. I look forward to working with our amazing students, staff and faculty to continue to improve our programs.

How are the challenges of COVID-19 influencing the start of your new role?

We are living through a once-in-a-century global pandemic, which is providing an x-ray on all the social and political issues we collectively face, both locally and globally. In the university, we are grasping at the technologies and platforms we have available to support us as we move to operations at a physical distance. This situation is far from ideal, but it provides an incredible social experiment on the use of technologies in our daily lives that has been quite revealing. This is like a massive social experiment for the field of communication!

How does your previous work prepare you for the new role?

Although you can never be entirely prepared for the challenges of a new job, I’ve been around the university in a variety of roles long enough to know the basic structure and operations. And, of course, I’m relying on my faculty and staff colleagues to provide support. In my experience, leadership is all about relationships.

Who is one of the most interesting people you have ever met?

When I was in second year university at Concordia, I attended a public presentation by the American documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, whose controversial film about a Massachusetts prison for the criminally insane, Titicut Follies, was censored and could only be shown if the filmmaker was there to present it. The experience of watching his film and hearing him speak about it had a profound influence on me and was part of what eventually led me to a scholarly interest in the social and political impact of documentary cinema. A decade ago, Mr. Wiseman was invited as a guest speaker to a conference at Simon Fraser and I had the opportunity to meet him in person and discuss his films. It was an honour to connect with someone whose work has had such a formative impact on my life. And, of course, I still teach his films in my documentary classes.

What are your passions and hobbies outside of SFU?

When not in front of my computer, I spend as much time as possible in the mountains around Vancouver and attempting to grow food in my permaculture garden. I’m also an avid amateur musician, playing cello and accordion.

Learn more about the School of Communication Leadership team.