Rachel Gans-Boriskin

Assistant Professor of Practice
  • Communications

About Me

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Communications Department where I teach classes in communication theory, media culture, journalism, the sociology of news, public speaking, health communication and storytelling. Though I teach a diverse set of topics, I see storytelling as central to all of them. As friends, family members, citizens, students, teachers, and professionals, we tell stories about ourselves and our society. Understanding those stories and figuring out the best ways to tell them is the work of every human being, but is the specific job of those working in the various fields of communication.

In my academic research, I have looked at the way primetime scripted television incorporates and translates political and health messages into engaging stories. I have explored the ways that journalists construct political stories and shape collective memory with particular interest in changing conceptions of objectivity. My current work looks at how journalists, librarians, educators, and citizens can combat the mis and disinformation that is polluting our information environment.

In addition to my academic work, I am an active member of the Boston area storytelling community. I have been a featured storyteller for WGBH’s Stories from the StageFugitive Story ProductionsDelivered, and Story Club Boston and was a 2017 Massmouth Grand Champion finalist.

A political blogger, I have appeared in local media outlets and forums discussing politics and the media. I believe that one of my jobs as an educator is to help my students become active and engaged citizens and I encourage them to develop a critical news reading habit.

My teaching philosophy is informed by my work as a life coach and I strive to help students identify their passions, so that they may channel them into research and career choices. Believing that education can be a life changing opportunity, I approach my students as whole human beings and hope that they leave my classes having grown not only intellectually, but also as people.

I earned a Master’s degree in Communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Media Ecology from New York University. I have published in the Journal of American CultureJournal of Communication Inquiry and the Journal for Crime, Conflict, and Media Culture. I have also managed grants for The Kaiser Permanente Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. Prior to teaching at Simmons University, I taught at Brandeis, Clark, and Northeastern Universities where I was recognized for excellence in teaching. I was also profiled in the Princeton Review’s book, The Best 300 Professors.

What I Teach

  • Comm 122 Media Writing Bootcamp
  • Comm 124 Media, Messages and Society
  • Comm 181 Public Speaking
  • Comm 310 In-Depth Storytelling for the Digital Age
  • Comm 312 Health Communication
  • Comm 315 Blogging/Op-ed
  • Comm 320 Media and the First Amendment
  • Comm 325 Culture and the News
  • Comm 344 Senior Seminar/Storytelling