Rebecca E. Burnett, Director of the Georgia Institute of Technology Writing and Communication Program, has been named the recipient of the Association for Business Communication’s prestigious Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teacher Award, which recognizes significant disciplinary contributions, outstanding teaching experience, and a strong record of research and professional practice.
Burnett, who holds the Class of ’58 Endowed Professorship in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts School of Literature, Media, and Communication, has taught and developed composition and workplace communication programs throughout her career. She guided the completion of more than 50 MA and MS theses and PhD dissertations. On a national and international level, Burnett’s business and technical communication textbooks were among the first to highlight cross-cultural and intercultural communication, the importance of information design and usability, and the nuances of collaboration. She has a long and distinguished record of scholarship, particularly in workplace communication, with more than 500 presentations and more than a dozen books related to writing and pedagogy. She has argued successfully that textbooks with a strong research foundation and articles about pedagogical research have a critical place in academic scholarship. As a workplace consultant, Burnett has been an analyst of communication problems in traditional manufacturing organizations, a coach for senior R&D scientists and engineers, a project manager/writer/ designer for long-term international instructional projects with a Fortune 100 company, and a trainer for myriad audiences, particularly in engineering and in medical insurance.
At Georgia Tech, she has raised the profile for all writing and communication activities, being involved in every stage of designing and developing the Institute’s first Communication Center, which serves the needs of all students across campus.
Burnett’s award reinforces Georgia Tech’s national presence as a model of excellence in digital pedagogy and multimodal communication (encompassing written, oral, visual, electronic, and non-verbal modalities). The Institute’s leading-edge Writing and Communication Program encompasses composition as well as business and technical communication courses that offer students and faculty opportunities to develop first-rate communication strategies that serve them in the classroom, community, and workplace.