Dr. Lisa McNair

Lisa McNair, Ph.D.
371 Goodwin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Ph.D. Linguistics, University of Chicago, 2002
M.A. English, University of Georgia, 1992
B.A. English, University of Georgia, 1985

Research Interests:

  • Integrative curriculum development and assessment/li>
  • Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Creativity/li>
  • Interdisciplinary communication and collaboration/li>
  • Linguistic methods for research and teaching/li>
  • K-25 informal education in STEM and Art & Design

My research explores ways to promote teaching and learning across different fields. I design educational environments that support integrative learning, and I investigate ways to embed strategies of assessment and evaluation. I am interested in how communication and collaboration play roles in these diverse settings, including a range of formal and informal experiences, in academia, the community, and business.


Lisa D. McNair is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, co-Director of the VT Engineering Communication Center (VTECC), a Catalyst Faculty Leader at the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT), and a Provost's Pathways Scholar. Her degrees include a PhD from the University of Chicago in Linguistics, and an M.A. and B.A. in English from the University of Georgia. She is currently involved in developing an integrative Pathways Minor in Innovation, working across several colleges at Virginia Tech in the Provost's new general education initiative. Her projects supported by the National Science Foundation include exploring disciplines as cultures, interdisciplinary pedagogy for pervasive computing design; writing-to- learn in Statics courses; as well as a CAREER award to explore the use of e-portfolios to promote holistic professional identity and reflective practice. Her teaching emphasizes the roles of engineers as communicators and educators, the foundations and evolution of the engineering education discipline, assessment methods, and using linguistic methods for research and teaching.

Awards & Honors:

  • 2015-16 Pathways Scholar, Provost's Office, Virginia Tech
  • 2014 Nunnally Award for Outstanding Engineering Education Faculty Member
  • 2014 Best Paper, ASEE Graduate Studies Division (with McCord, Hixson, & Ingram)
  • 2013 Virginia Tech UOPD Management Academy
  • 2012 XCaliber Award for excellence as an interdisciplinary group involved with technology-assisted teaching
  • 2011 NAE Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium
  • 2010 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • 2007 Helen Plants Award for Best Nontraditional Session at Frontiers in Education (with Borrego & Newswander)
  • 2000-2002 Brittain Fellow, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, Georgia Tech

Selected Publications:

  • Groen, C., McNair, L.D., and Paretti, M.C. (2015). Prototypes and the Politics of the Artefact: Visual Explorations of Design Interactions in Teaching Spaces. CoDesign, 1-16.
  • McNair, L.D., Davitt, M., and Batten, G. (2015). Outside the 'Comfort Zone': Impacts of Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration on Research, Pedagogy, and Disciplinary Knowledge Production. Engineering Studies, forthcoming April 2015.
  • Svyantek, M.V., Kajfez, R. L., and McNair, L.D. (2015). "Teaching vs. Research: An Approach to Understanding Graduate Students' Roles through ePortfolio Reflection." International Journal of ePortfolio 5.2: 135-154.
  • Matusovich, H., Paretti, M.C., McNair, L.D., and Hixson, C. (2014). Faculty Motivation: A Gateway to Transforming Engineering Education. Journal of Engineering Education 103(2): 302-330.
  • Paretti, M., McNair, L.D., and Leydens, J. (2014). Engineering communication. In A. Johri and B. Olds (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Borrego, M., Karlin, J., Beddoes, K., and McNair L.D. (2013). Team Effectiveness Theory from Industrial and Organizational Psychology Applied to Engineering Student Project Teams: A Research Review. Journal of Engineering Education 102(4): 472-512.
  • Paretti, M.C. and McNair, L.D. (2012). Analyzing the intersections of institutional and discourse identities in engineering work at the local level. Engineering Studies 4(1), 55-78.
  • Martin, T., Kim, K., Forsyth, J., McNair, L.D., Coupey, E., and Dorsa, E. (2011). Discipline-based instruction to promote interdisciplinary design of wearable and pervasive computing products. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. (DOI) *10.1007/s00779-011- 0492-z*
  • McNair, L.D., Newswander, C., Boden, D. and Borrego, M. (2011). Faculty and Student Interdisciplinary Identities in Self-Managed Teams. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(2) 274-296.
  • McNair, L.D. and Paretti, M.C. (2010). Activity theory, speech acts, and the 'doctrine of infelicity': Connecting language and technology in globally networked learning environments. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 24(3), 323-357.