Backed by expertise in human communication, performance studies, qualitative methods, and posthumanism and technoscience, Shauna M. MacDonald is thriving as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University. Her current course offerings include theories of perform studies and qualitative research in COM, and she has the additional responsibilities of acting as the director of programming for the gender and women’s studies department and advising both graduates and undergrads. Peers and students alike rave about her ability to take complex subjects and make them interesting and understandable.
Prior to joining the staff at Villanova, Dr. MacDonald served Southern Illinois University as the vice president of academic affairs for the graduate and professional student council, a graduate assistant to the chair of the Department of Speech Communication, and a graduate teaching assistant within the Department of Speech Communication. She worked for Cape Breton University in roles like instructor in the Department of Communication, peer lab facilitator in the Department of Communication, academic assistant in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and student research assistant in the Department of Languages and Letters.
Outside of academia, Dr. MacDonald enjoys using performance art to demonstrate the results of her research in post humanism and how humans and technology interrelate. She is currently performing an “(auto) ethnographic study of lighthouses as sites of public memory, performance, and storytelling,” called “Sentinels of Public Memory.” Other notable shows include “To Catch and To Keep,” “Tower at Midnight,” “Lightkeepers,” and “This is NOT a Period Piece.” “Performance, Place and Memory,” explored how “memory is made manifest through embodied performance and the creation of space and place.” With her unique background in the field, Dr. MacDonald is collaborating on research with Dr. Vassiliki Riga about the nature and reach of performance studies in the U.S., has published numerous articles in professional journals.
Dr. MacDonald prepared for her career by earning a PhD in speech communication with a performance studies emphasis, a certificate of women’s studies, and a Master of Arts in speech communication with a performance studies emphasis at Southern Illinois University in 2011, 2009 and 2007, respectively. She also obtained a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an English minor from Cape Brenton University in 2005 and joined prominent groups like the National Communications Association and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender.
As a testament to her success, Dr. MacDonald was nominated for the Outstanding Feminist Teacher/Mentor Award by the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender in 2016, and earned the Top Contributed Paper Award from the Performance Studies & Theatre Interest Group at the Central States Communication Association in 2013. Additionally, Dr. MacDonald was honored with the Marion Kleinau Theatre Award, the Graduate Student Research and Creativity Award, and the Excellence in Graduate Student Service Award.
When Dr. MacDonald isn’t working, she pursues interests like yoga and lighthouses.