Barbara J. Irwin, Ph.D.

Professor & Director, Journalism Program

Ph.D. in Communication, University at Buffalo.
M.A. in Communication, University at Buffalo.
B.A. in Communication and Psychology, University at Buffalo

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Barbara J. Irwin, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of the Journalism Program, and co-director of the Strategic Communication Program. She specializes in the areas of broadcasting and mass communication. Her research interests include the behind-the-scenes development and creation of television programming, children’s media, the study of daytime soap operas, and the impact of the mass media on today's society. Dr. Irwin served as Executive Producer for numerous documentary films produced by the Canisius University Video Institute, earning more than 30 national Telly Awards among many other honors.  

She also directs the Internship Program in the Communication department, placing students in positions that help prepare them to pursue careers in their chosen field. A best-selling author, Dr. Irwin co-authored two books about television's highest-rated soap opera, The Young and the Restless. Prior to joining the faculty at Canisius, Dr. Irwin worked at WNED-TV on, among other projects, the Emmy Award-winning PBS television series, Reading Rainbow. She is currently writing a book about the early history of this show. A native Buffalonian, Dr. Irwin lives with her husband, James and their Labrador retriever, Riley.


  • Faculty Fellow, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Kenneth L. Koessler Distinguished Faculty Award – Presented by the Alumni Association of Canisius University in recognition of teaching excellence and outstanding contributions to the academic world.
  • Lambda Pi Eta, Nu Upsilon Chapter, University at Buffalo – National Communication Association Honor Society.
  • Alpha Sigma Lambda, Beta Kappa Chapter, Canisius University – National Honor Society for Adult Learning in Continuing Higher Education.
  • Alpha Sigma Nu, Canisius University Chapter — The Honor Society of Jesuit Colleges and Universities