Deborah Canning


JWU Faculty Since 2001

Deborah Canning teaches multimedia design and other tech courses.

Contact Info


Deborah Canning is an Instructor in the College of Engineering and Design at Johnson and Wales University. With over 20 years of service to the University, Deborah has been instrumental in student retention initiatives and curriculum development. Deborah served as the College of Engineering and Design Freshman Advisor and Chair of the College of Engineering and Design Retention team. Deborah spent 6 years on the University Retention Committee. Deborah is currently on the University Interdisciplinary committee

Deborah has taught Multimedia Design, Database Design, Digital Technology, and Foundations in Technology. Deborah holds a B.S. in Communications from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Educational Technology from California State University, Hayward. She has spent over 7 years working in Technology in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

Deborah started her journey in technology as a Public Relations Executive for Gates Group, Inc., a multimedia public relations firm in San Francisco, CA. Deborah worked with some of the hottest web-based start-up companies in the heart of the multimedia mecca in downtown San Francisco. Two years later she joined PC Professional, Inc. in Palo Alto, CA as a project manager selling and implementing network designs. As a certified reseller of Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and Novell, Deborah managed teams of certified technical engineers on site at large fortune five hundred companies. Clients included Chevron, National Semi Conductor, Inc. and Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto, CA.

In conjunction with high-tech management, she received training in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript at Silicon Valley College. She earned a certificate in Online learning and teaching from Cal State Hayward and became certified in HTML Design. Her love for learning and technology led her to pursue and earn a M.S. in Educational Technology at California State University, Hayward in 2000.

Deborah spent three years teaching in the Computer Science Department at Diablo Valley College in Walnut Creek, California. Her courses included Intro to the World Wide Web and Browser Technologies and Information Management Technology.


  • California State University, M.S. Educational Technology, May 2001
  • Syracuse University, B.S. Communications May,1993

Tech gives the quietest student a voice. Jerry Blumengarten

Q&A with Deborah

At JWU, education is not confined to the four walls of the classroom. You’re not going to spend four years with your nose buried in a book, learning theories you may never get a chance to apply — you’re going to get out there and apply them, be it through internships, group projects, leadership opportunities, competitions and more.

How Did You Get Started?

I took a chance after College when I was 21 one and called a Syracuse Alumni and asked for an informational interview when I was in San Francisco visiting friends. She met with me and I thanked her for her time and wisdom about the technology business. As, I got up to leave her office she said "Deborah, I really could use an assistant if your interested." I didn't know what to tell my parents because I was suppose to go into the family real estate business back home in RI 3,000 miles from San Francisco. I knew that all I had to do was try my best and become a sponge for all the knowledge I was about to learn in IT.
I started by managing the receptionist desk everyday with over 300 calls coming in a day. I thought I was going to lose my mind! A B.S. in Communications from Syracuse University and I am answering phones, I thought maybe this was a mistake. I somehow had the grit to survive. I persevered. Six months later she moved me into an account executive position and I experienced the tech boom of web start ups in the San Francisco bay area and never looked back.
One day, about four years now as an account executive, an engineer at the company asked if I knew anything about Browsers and Search engines and if I would be interested in teaching a night class at Diablo Valley College in Walnut Creek, CA. I had been working with Netscape and AOL and I took another chance and said "Yes, I would love to." I fell in love with teaching technology and went back and got my Masters degree in Technology and when I did a search for Colleges hiring back east the first one that appeared in my search was JWU!
I was dying to get back home and be with my family so I came back to RI and started here 20 years ago and have never looked back.

What Is Your Favorite Teaching Moment?

This past year on ZOOM for the first time we all were sharing our screens and students were jumping in and helping other students get on ZOOM and turn their microphones on. It was so cool!

What Advice Do You Have For Incoming Freshmen?

90% of your success is showing up and being present for class meetings. Smile and say hi and you will have so many new friends at school.