The School of Journalism and Communication welcomes Carly Dybka as its Public Servant In Residence (PSIR). Dybka joined the School in January 2022 and will be involved in teaching, research and support of professional development initiatives for students in all of the School’s programs. Her appointment runs until December 2022. 

 School Director and Head of Communication and Media Studies, Josh Greenberg, met with Carly to discuss her work, the PSIR program and her plans for the year. The following is an excerpt of their conversation:  

JG: Welcome to Carleton, Carly. Or more accurately, I should say welcome to Carleton as our Public Servant in Residence! Others may not know this, but you’re already a member of our SJC community as a PhD student. Could you tell us a bit about your doctoral research? 

 CD: Thank you, I’m very happy to join the School as your Public Servant in Residence this year. I’ve been a PhD student in Communication for the last 4 years and am currently working on my dissertation research, which will examine the social media monitoring activities by the Government of Canada. That research asks what type of monitoring the government undertakes, the reasons for why it monitors social media, and the kinds of beliefs and logics driving this type of work. I am especially interested in how the data gathered through social media monitoring are used and treated, and what this might say about the understanding of these data as personal information. 


JG: And this research dovetails nicely with your day job. Could you tell us in which government department you work and what you do?  

 CD: Yes, for sure. I work at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as the head of their social media team. On behalf of the federal government my team communicates with millions of people across the world about immigration, and we help shape communications to better meet the needs of those who want to come to Canada. We also provide client services through social media, in what I believe is one of the federal government’s more robust social media service channels. But it’s also a space that is fraught with challenges, and we are relentlessly faced with the task of improving how we engage with publics in Canada and abroad. My team conducts social media monitoring to help us in our work. As both a public servant and an academic I became really interested in exploring questions about how we use social media in these ways. 


JG: The Public Servant in Residence program allows government employees to take a paid leave from their professional duties to undertake research and teaching and other activities that benefit not just the university but also their department within government when they return. Could you tell me about why this program attracted you? 

CD: When I found out about the program, I saw it as a unique opportunity to marry my doctoral research with my career interests and priorities. To some extent, this interest was practical in nature: working full time while pursuing a PhD is difficult, and this program allows me to focus on my research, and then eventually bring my knowledge back to the government in the form of advice and analysis. But another aspect of the program that spoke to me was the opportunity to take my experience working in government communications, and to use that experience to help students develop both academically and professionally.  

I’ve hired many recent Carleton graduates over the years, and it’s always a pleasure to introduce them to the various complexities of our field and help them build the skills and capacities to excel in that environment. This program allows me to provide some of my insights and experiences to students who will be entering the workforce in the coming months and years, and I hope I can play a small part in helping them in their career development. 


JG: Our community would love to learn more about the different activities and initiatives you’ll be pursuing during your appointment with us this year. Can you tell us a bit about what these are and how students can connect with you?  

CD: Some of my activities are sort of “behind the scenes”. As you know, I’ll be working with the COMS program to help inform the development of a social media guidance document, while other activities are designed for existing public servants. In September, I’ll be teaching a capstone course to 4th year students in the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management program who are specializing in communication policy. I’ll also be offering professional development workshops to students in the School, focusing on effective use of social media in the Government of Canada. I hope to share more about that soon, but I encourage students to reach out to me directly if they have questions about the ins and outs of government communications. I am always happy to share what I know! 

Friday, February 25, 2022 in ,
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