Dr. Gwen Shaffer

Gwen ShafferDr. Gwen Shaffer’s telecommunications policy research examines the complex nature of social exclusion in the informational age. Recent projects investigate data privacy violations experienced by cell-mostly internet users; efforts by state lawmakers to deregulate VoIP services; and the potential for community WiFi networks to boost civic engagement. Shaffer also chairs the City of Long Beach’s Technology and Innovation Commission, which advises the mayor and City Council on relevant policy issues.

Shaffer’s articles have been published in the Journal of Information Policy; Media, Culture & Society; First Monday; and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Transactions on Internet Technology, among other journals. She has also published chapters in three books. Shaffer’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation; the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation; and the Media, Inequality and Change Center housed at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shaffer’s research directly informs her teaching. In JOUR 360/Culture and Politics of the Internet students consider the economic, legal and networking aspects of prominent policy issues. Students engage in critical debate about how to regulate technologies integral to their daily lives. Shaffer also routinely teaches JOUR 430/Communication Law and Policy, which covers principles of media law, primarily emerging from landmark cases involving Constitutional guarantees to free press. Students examine how the law affects mass communication practice which, ultimately, influences U.S. politics and popular culture.

Professionally, Shaffer worked as a reporter for more than a dozen years. She covered local politics for the Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly, and was an editorial assistant at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. Her freelance articles have been published in The New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, E/The Environmental Magazine, Philadelphia magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications.

Shaffer earned her Ph.D. in mass media and communication from Temple University in Philadelphia. Her dissertation examined the potential for peer-to-peer networking to help bridge the digital divide in the United States. Before joining the faculty at CSULB, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the computer science department at the University of California, Irvine. There, she conducted interdisciplinary research with an emphasis on integrating telecommunications policy, internet architecture and economic realities.

Office Location: LA4-206C
Phone: 562-985-5433
Email: gwen.shaffer@csulb.edu