Meet Ed Henczel, Communications Professor

Communications Professor Ed Henczel

'Some days I feel like a glorified student: I’m constantly learning new things in communications and I keep my eyes open for resources I can incorporate into my lesson plans'

What is your area of interest, research and/or creative work?

I’m a communications professor with a masters of journalism. I focus my research/teaching on mass and social media and how it’s used to influence public perception

When did you know you had found your discipline? 

I was working for a news organization in Kamloops. I started the day doing a tour of the local prison, then I interviewed the mayor (a former journalist) and spent the evening covering a Kamloops Blazers WHL game. 

Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?

I’m a huge fan of the college system. I took a number of training courses, such as Industrial First Aid, during my gap year(s) and then started my bachelor's degree by enjoying the smaller class sizes and lower cost at my local community college. It didn’t hurt that the journalism program was taught by award-winning media personalities.

What do you like the most/least about the work you do?

Some days I feel like a glorified student: I’m constantly learning new things in communications and I keep my eyes open for resources I can incorporate into my lesson plans. The downside is the marking. In my first month at OC I marked 104 papers about bottled water. From that day on I have given my students greater latitude in choosing their own topics. I still get a lot of papers on parking, marijuana, and college tuition, but there are dozens of other topics I’ve learned about.

Favourite teaching experience?

I love guest speakers that can build on my lessons. Having Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran speak to a media studies class two weeks before the last municipal election was timely, and my students were able to practice their newswriting skills in a real-life situation.  

Who gave you the best advice you ever received? 

A former journalism professor told me “Don’t choose your first job, choose your second.” So I took the very first journalism job I was offered. I worked for two years in Texas before I was able to get work at a daily newspaper in Canada. But because I had a degree and experience, I was able to be a lot pickier at the job I accepted and I ended up at The Daily Courier in Kelowna.

Where are you the happiest?

Enjoying the outdoors. I hike and bike and fish and generally love exploring the Interior of British Columbia. I’m also a tech with the local search and rescue organization and being able to help people who get into trouble exploring the outdoors gives me a great sense of accomplishment. As an added bonus, I use my communication skills to write up press releases and social media posts when we’ve completed a task. 

What matters most to you right now? 

Spending time with family. I’m at that stage of life where my parents are alive and active and I still have a son at home. That will change next year when my son heads off to university, but for now, those backyard barbecues are when I’m at peace with the universe.

If you ran the world?

Free college tuition. And better public transit, so parking isn’t such an issue at OC.

Published By College Relations on October 19, 2020

What is Communications?

The Department of Communications is interested in how meaning is made in a range of contexts, including advertising, television, film, popular culture, and the internet. Explore how communication is fundamentally related to the development of self and society and examine how the messages of the contemporary world influence perception of such issues as gender, race, class and community.

Communications study options

There are several programs to choose from when considering studies in Communications: