Kathleen Carmichael Associate Professor of Instruction, The Cook Family Writing Program

Kathleen Carmichael teaches courses in research analysis, essay writing, and engineering communication and serves as a freshman adviser in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Her current freshman seminar—“The Credible Writer”—uses case studies from journalism, the scientific research community, and the financial services industry to help students examine complicated relationships among readers, writers, and research.

In Northwestern’s engineering school, Carmichael serves with engineering faculty as a co-instructor for Design Thinking and Communication (DTC), a two-quarter freshman design course that introduces students to the fundamentals of the design process. To support continuous improvement and innovation in the teaching of DTC, Carmichael also developed an online repository to capture the innovations and best practices of individual instructors and serve as a reminder that the practice of teaching engineering and design, at its best, incorporates the iterative process of design. In addition, Carmichael co-teaches communications skills workshops for students in Chemical and Biological Engineering’s Masters of Biotechnology Program.

Carmichael has served as a beta tester of blogging and wiki software for Northwestern University’s Academic Technologies group, developing strategies to help other faculty integrate these innovative tools into their courses. She is also a contributor to Design Thinking and Communication: Principles and Practice (2014), the required course textbook for freshman students in the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. She is currently co-developing a proposal for a communications textbook that targets the more than 500,000 undergraduate and graduate-level engineering students and faculty in the United States and Canada who need a school-to-work guide covering written, visual, and oral communication for the challenging field of engineering design.

As a freelance consultant, Carmichael authored Agate Publishing’s undergraduate organizational communications textbook for use in both virtual and brick-and-mortar classrooms. Carmichael has also served as a specialty communications consultant for Chicago real estate companies managing software systems transitions for new Housing and Urban Development site acquisitions.

Carmichael received her PhD from Northwestern University, where she specialized in the literature and political rhetoric of the British Enlightenment. Her instructional strategies are informed by more than eight years of experience as a securities analyst, public relations specialist and educational consultant. Her interests include the rhetoric of public policy, literatures of addiction, and how scientific information has been represented in popular media from the Enlightenment to the present.

Selected presentations and publications include the following:

  • Nielsen, B., Hirsch, P., Carmichael, K., Kelso, D., Smith, J. "Beyond 'Open' or 'Closed': Software: Social Innovation and the Construction of a Writing Commons." Computers and Writing Conference, Athens, GA, May 23, 2008.
  • Carmichael, K. “NUWiki and NUBlog: Supporting Student Collaboration.” Presentation for Northwestern University Academic Technologies faculty learning and video series, October 11, 2007.
  • Hirsch, P., Cline, J., Yalvac, B., Carmichael, K., and Anderson, J. “Teaching Science Writing in a Research University: Students’ Experiences vs. Faculty Expectations,” American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL, April 12, 2007