Skip to main content



Communication and Rhetoric/Human-Computer Interaction
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rhetoric and Technical Communication
Michigan Technological University
Chinese Literature
Fudan University, Shanghai, PRC


Dr. Sun’s decolonial design approach explores ways of creating equitable and empowering technology to redress asymmetrical relations in the global power hierarchy and advocate for empowerment from within for healing and transformation. Award-winning book author of “Global Social Media Design” (2020) and “Cross-Cultural Technology Design” (2012) with Oxford University Press, she writes for public media including Fast Company and The Conversation, speaks at SXSW, STC, UXPA, CHI, and ATTW, and offers workshops at local SIGs and international conferences ranging from engineering to humanities. She has won multiple awards for her community-engaged projects with marginalized user communities, including the Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Society for Technical Communication and the Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Association for Business Communication.

Back in college, she was the chief editor of the college newspaper and published undergraduate research in feminist studies of contemporary Chinese cultural texts. Both experiences helped launch and invigorate her user experience research career.  

She’s serving the Chair of Faculty Assembly 2023-2024 to engage in practice-oriented critical design pursuit concerning shared governance. 

Scholarly Interests

Digital & Social Media, Global User Experience Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Social Computing, Informatics, Critical Design, Critical Entrepreneurial Thinking, Shared Governance


Community-Engaged Teaching Narrative: Empowering from within: Uttering voices and planting seeds (2021).

TCOM 220 Social Media (Check out the 2024 Study Abroad Program in Spain!) 
TCOM 320 Principles of Web Design
TCOM 330 Mobile Communication & Social Practice
TCOM 350 Editing and Design for Print Media
TCOM 420 Advanced Web Design
TCOM 440 Cross-Cultural Communication Design 
TGID 320 Innovation and Design Studio
TGID 420 Reflexive Design Portfolio

Honors and Awards

  • Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication, Society for Technical Communication, 2022
  • Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication Award by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English): 2022, 2013
  • 2022 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Advancement of Knowledge Award
  • 2022 CCCC Research Impact Award
  • 2017 Theodore von Kármán Fellowship, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Nell Ann Picket Award for the Best Article of Technical Communication Quarterly, 2006
  • CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication, 2005
  • The 8th Annual Localisation Research Centre Best Thesis Award, University of Limerick, Ireland, 2004
CV / Resume
Selected Publications


Sun, H. (advanced contract). Inclusive Digital Media Design for Global Users: A Handbook for Critical-Minded Design Students and Professionals. CRC (Taylor & Francis): UK

Sun, H. (2020). Global social media design: Bridging differences across cultures. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sun, H. (2012). Cross-cultural technology design: Creating culture-sensitive technology for local users. New York: Oxford University Press.

Journal Articles or Equivalents

Sun, H. & Hart-Davidson, W. (2014). Binding the material and the discursive with a relational approach of affordances. ACM SIGCHI (Computer-Human Interaction) 2014 Annual Conference (22% acceptance rate). 3533-3542.

Sun, H. (2013). Sina Weibo of China: From a copycat to a local uptake of a global technology assemblage. International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development, 5(4), 27-37.

Sun, H. (2009). Towards a rhetoric of locale: Localizing mobile messaging technology into everyday life. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 39(2), 245-261.

Sun, H. (2006). The triumph of users: Achieving cultural usability goals with user localization. Technical Communication Quarterly, 15(4), 457-481.

Sun, H. (2001). Building a culturally-competent corporate Web site: An exploratory study of cultural markers in multilingual Web design. Proceedings of ACM Special Interest Group for Design of Communications (SIGDOC) 2001, Santa Fe, NM, 95-102.