Irina Gendelman, Ph.D.

Photo of Irina Gendelman

Chair, Department of Society and Social Justice

Professor, Communication Studies

Areas of Expertise

  • Media and culture
  • Study of place, food & travel
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning


Ph.D., University of Washington
B.A., University of Michigan and University of Paris, Sorbonne


Dr. Gendelman’s work in instructional development is focused on active and experiential learning, effective uses of technology in the classroom, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and equitable teaching practices. Her work in communication is based on her interests in visual media, place, food, storytelling, critical cultural studies, and public scholarship.

Dr. Gendelman started and currently directs the communication studies program at Saint Martin's University. Together with Dr. Olivia Archibald, she also co-founded the Center for Scholarship & Teaching at Saint Martin's.

In 2022, Gendelman was awarded a Visiting Teaching Fellowship at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Selected presentations and publications

  • Gendelman, I. and Birkenstein, J. “Slow Motion: How to Walk Your Turtle, Explore the World, and Teach Outside the Classroom.” Interactive session to be delivered at the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference. Bellingham, WA 2024
  • Gendelman, I. and Birkenstein, J. From the Beginning: Indigenous Storytelling of Food and Medicine. Accepted for presentation at the Modern Languages Association Convention in San Francisco, CA, 2023 
  • Gendelman, I. and Birkenstein, J. (2020). Designing, Teaching, Leading, & Theorizing Out-of-the-Box Student Travel (Domestic and International; Edited Collection). Lexington Books.  
  • Gendelman, I. and Birkenstein, J. (2018). Teaching Travel through Wandering and Food. In C. P. Greene (ed), Foodscapes. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang US 
  • Presented a course design project (PNW Nature, Food, and Literature) co-developed as result of receiving an MLA Humanities Innovation Grant with Dr. Jeff Birkenstein. Participated in the Award Ceremony for the Humanities Innovation Grant at the Modern Languages Association Convention. Seattle, WA, 2020 
  • “The Language and Culture of Food, Place, and Travel.” Paper presented the Western States Communication Association Convention. Seattle, WA, 2019
  • “The Literary Flâneuse Slow Walks and Slow Eats in the City.” Paper presented at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association Conference. Western Washington University, in Bellingham, Washington, 2018 
  • “Mushroom hunters: understanding culture through discourses about food, foraging, and land sovereignty.” Paper presented at the International Convention on Food History and Food Studies. University of Tours, Tours, France, 2018 
  • “Global citizenship: wandering through mega-landscapes” paper presented in Urban Communication at the National Communication Association Convention. 2016 
  • “Innocents Abroad:  Backpacking with Students” paper presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, 2016 
  • “Urban Archivist: Preserving Street Art, Graffiti, Signs and Other Ephemeral Markings on Cities” paper presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, 2016 
  • “Imagine(d) Places:  On Wandering and Digital Landscapes” presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, 2015 
  • “‘Tree Bathing’, a Deep Ecology:  A Forest Walk to Reflect, Write, and Observe Nature and Mycology” paper presented at the Whidbey Sustainability and Contemplative Practice gathering, 2014 
  • “Learning Garden” paper presented and co-chaired the panel on “Global localism: Creating campus community food gardens on the ground and online” at the Western States Communication Association Convention, 2012  
  • Gendelman, I. and Aiello. G. (2010). Faces of places: Façades as global communication in Post-Eastern Bloc urban renewal. In A. Jaworski and C. Thurlow (eds), Semiotic Landscapes in Tourism: Image, Text, Space. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 
  • Gendelman, I., Dobrovolski, T. and Aiello, G. (2010). Urban Archives: Public memories of everyday places. In Jeff Hou (ed.), Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of the Contemporary Cities. New York: Routledge.