Alison Cardinal, Ph.D. (Candidate)

Language and Rhetoric
University of Washington
English Studies
Western Washington University
English Literature
Whitworth University
Whitworth University

As a teacher and scholar, my work revolves around issues of language difference, multiple literacies, and anti-oppressive research methodologies and pedagogies. Driven by social justice, my work aims to better understand the wealth of communicative strategies – oral, digital, and written – that students bring with them to the writing classroom. By understanding the full complexity of students’ experiences, my work seeks to help teachers design responsive writing courses that help students both develop and draw upon the languages and literacies they bring to the university classroom. I have expertise in composition studies, digital rhetoric, technical communication, sociolinguistics, and critical theory.

Current Research

My dissertation, Literacy Flows: How Mobile Bodies and Literacies Come to Matter, examines how students’ reading, writing, and language practices are used across the shifting contexts of school, home, and work. Using participatory video methods, I collaborated with students to gather extensive video footage of their language and literacy practices to understand which literacies matter to students and how students use literacies to navigate institutional power structures. Operating off of feminist principles that treat research participants as co-creators of knowledge, I am working with a student to co-create an hour-long film, co-authoring articles with participants, and presenting with participants at conferences. My work appears in Composition Forum and is forthcoming in several edited collections.

I am also currently an affiliated researcher at the University of El Paso’s Sites of Translation: A User-Experience Research Center


I teach upper and lower division undergraduate courses in writing, argument, technical communication, and visual rhetoric. I have over a decade of teaching experience in university and community college settings. Alongside traditional essays, my courses focus on creating multimodal and community-focused projects.

I have taught the following courses at UW Tacoma
• TCORE 100: Introduction to Interdisciplinarity
• TWRT 111: Discourse Foundations
• TCORE 101: Introduction to Academic Writing
• TWRT 211: Argument and Research in Writing
• TWRT 330: Written and Visual Rhetoric
• TIAS 305: Interdisciplinary Seminar
• TIAS 498 A: Directed Readings: Power, Inequality and ESL K-12 Teaching
• TIAS 496 A: Internship: Technical Communication in the Workplace


Two-Year College Association
College Composition and Communication
National Council of the Teachers of English
The Council of Writing Program Administrators
Association of Teachers of Technical Writing
Women in Technical Communication

Honors and Awards

Distinguished Teaching Award (nominee) 2014
University of Washington Tacoma Outstanding Woman Award (2015)

CV or Resume
PDF icon CardinalCV11.12.pdf121.77 KB