Associate Professor

Photo of Brad Mehlenbacher.PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
MA (English Co-op), University of Waterloo
BA (English, Honours, Co-op), University of Waterloo

Extension: 42287
Office: HH 145


I grew up in Southwestern Ontario and completed my BA in Honours English Co-op and MA in English Co-op at the University of Waterloo. After a brief stint at IBM Toronto Software Lab, I moved to the United States and did my PhD in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University. Following my PhD, I joined the faculty in rhetoric and technical communication at North Carolina State University and, after receiving tenure in the English Department, moved across campus to the College of Education to focus my research and teaching on instruction, technology, and learning.

I distinctly remember realizing that I had lived in the States longer than I lived in Canada about the time a position for Associate Professor in Rhetoric and Communication was announced at the University of Waterloo. A confluence of factors, some romantic and some family-related, made the opportunity to return to Waterloo and to Canada both ideal and exciting.

Joining the faculty in the department of English Literature & Language at the University of Waterloo in 2018 has invigorated my teaching and research, allowing me to return to teaching engineering and science communication. My research interest in instruction and learning with technology continues to be informed by the multidisciplinary relationship between rhetorical theory, the learning sciences, communication design, educational technologies, and human-computer interaction.

Selected Publications


Mehlenbacher, B. (2010). Instruction and technology: Designs for everyday learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (won NCTE/CCCC 2012 award for “Best Book in Technical and Scientific Communication”).

Duffy, T. M., Palmer, J. E., & Mehlenbacher, B. (1993). Online help: Design and evaluation. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Articles & Chapters

Mehlenbacher, B., & Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2020). Distance Learning. In A. Tatnall’s (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Education and Information Technologies (pp. 1-10). NY, NY: Springer.

Mehlenbacher, A. R., & Mehlenbacher, B. (2019). The case of the scientific research article and lessons concerning genre change online. In M. J. Luzón & C. Pérez-Llantada (Eds.), Science Communication on the Internet. Old Genres Meet New Genres (pp. 41-57). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Moriarty, D.*, de Villavicencio, P.*, Black, T.*, Cai, H.*, Bustos, M.*, Mehlenbacher, B., & Mehlenbacher, A. R. (2019). Durable research, portable findings: Rhetorical methods in case study research. Technical Communication Quarterly, 28 (2), 124-136.

Mehlenbacher, B., Kelly [now Mehlenbacher], A. R., Kampe, C.*, & Kittle Autry, M.* (2018). Instructional design for online learning environments and the problem of collaboration in the cloud. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 48 (2), 199-221.

Mehlenbacher, B., & Kampe, C.* (2017). Expansive genres of play: Getting serious about game genres for the design of future learning environments. In C. R. Miller & A. R. Kelly [now Mehlenbacher] (Eds.), Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (pp. 117-133). London, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mehlenbacher, B., Kittle Autry, M.*, & Kelly [now Mehlenbacher], A. R. (2015). Instructional design for STEM-based collaborative, co-located classroom composition. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 58 (4), 396-409.

Kelly [now Mehlenbacher], A. R., Kittle Autry, M.*, & Mehlenbacher, B. (2014). Considering Chronos and Kairos in digital media rhetorics. In G. Verhulsdonck & M. Limbu (Eds.), Digital Rhetoric and Global Literacies: Communication Modes and Digital Practices in the Networked World (pp. 227-247). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Mehlenbacher, B. (2013). What is the future of technical communication? In J. Johnson-Eilola & S. A. Selber (Eds.), Solving Problems in Technical Communication (pp. 187-208). Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P (book won CCCC award for “Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication”).

Mehlenbacher, B. (2012). Everyday learning: Instruction and technology designs. In N. M. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning (pp. 1181-1185). NY, NY: Springer.

Zaharias, P., & Mehlenbacher, B. (Eds.). (2012). Introduction to Special Issue on Usability Design for Learning and Education in Virtual Worlds. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 70 (7), 475-476.

Selected Fellowships & Awards

  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Award for Best Book in Technical and Scientific Communication for Instruction and Technology: Designs for Everyday Learning (MIT Press), 2012.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation, Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES): Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Grant, $199,998, 2013-2015.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation, Innovations in Engineering Education, Curriculum, and Infrastructure (IEECI), $173,592, 2009-2014.

Current Research

I am currently working on a book-length manuscript entitled “Learner,” and exploration of the rhetoricity of learning across the life span.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

  • Rhetoric
  • Technical, engineering, and science communication
  • Instructional technology and communication design
  • Cognition and learning theory
  • User experience, human-computer interaction, usability
  • Game studies and learning design
University of Waterloo

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