Dr Carolyn Rae Miller

Picture of Dr Carolyn Rae Miller

Named Distinguished Professor


Carolyn R. Miller retired as SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication in June 2015, after 42 years on the NC State faculty. She started as an Instructor in January 1973. 

Carolyn is the founding director of NC State's Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, established in 2005, and of the M.S. in Technical Communication, started in 1988; she also proposed and taught the first graduate courses for the M.A. option in Rhetoric and Composition, begun in 1984. She served as Director of Professional Writing in 1993–2002 and 2003–2004 and as coordinator of the undergraduate concentration in Writing and Editing (now Language, Writing and Rhetoric) from 1980–1985. She established and directed the Center for Communication in Science, Technology, and Management from 1995 to 1999 and co-directed its successor, the Center for Information Society Studies, from 1999 to 2003.

Her professional service includes terms on the governing boards of the American Society for the History of Rhetoric, the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the MLA Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition, and the Rhetoric Society of America. She is a past president of the Rhetoric Society of America and was editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly 2008–11. She has served on the editorial boards of College Composition and Communication, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Written Communication.

Carolyn was Visiting Associate Professor at Michigan Tech and Penn State in 1988, Visiting Professor at Georgia Tech in 1991, and Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil in 2007. She was the Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Louisville, Fall 2013. She has lectured in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, and South Korea.

See profile on Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and Google Scholar.

Teaching and Research Interests

Digital rhetoric • Genre studies • Rhetorical theory • Rhetoric of science and technology • Technical and professional writing

Carolyn's current research focuses on genres of action and interaction in new media, such as blogs, webinars, scientific publication, and the many genres of videogames. How do conventions of stability such as genres emerge and develop in an environment of constant turbulence such as the internet? Can historical examples of genre change in traditional media such as film and print inform our understanding of new media? Answers to questions like these may help us better understand and manage the capacities of the new digital media.


Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor, Rhetoric Society of America, 2016
• Fellow of the Rhetoric Society of America, 2010
Rigo Award for lifetime contributions to the field of communication design, ACM SIGDOC, 2006
• NC State Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, 1999
• Fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, 1995
• NEH Fellowship, 1993–94
• NC State University Academy of Outstanding Teachers, 1984
• Publication awards from the National Council of Teachers of English, 1981, 1984, 1999


Selected recent publications

“The Appeal(s) of Latour.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 47.5 (2017): 454–459 + references. Invited response to “Forum: Bruno Latour on Rhetoric.”

“Genre Innovation: Evolution, Emergence, or Something Else?” Journal of Media Innovations, 3.2 (2016): 4–19. DOI: 10.5617/jmi.v3i2.2432.

Emerging Genres in New Media Environments, first editor with Ashley R. Kelly. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Edited collection of 14 essays from symposium held at NC State University, April 2013. Includes my introductory chapter, "'Where Do Genres Come From?'" 1–34. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40295-6.

“Discourse Genres,” first author with Ashley R. Kelly. Verbal Communication, ed. Andrea Rocci and Louis de Saussure. Handbooks of Communication. DeGruyter Mouton, 2016. 269–286. DOI: 10.1515/9783110255478-015.

“Scientific and Parascientific Communication on the Internet,” second author with Ashley R. Kelly. Science and the Internet: Communicating Knowledge in a Digital Age, ed. Alan G. Gross and Jonathan Buell. Baywood Press, 2016; Routledge, 2017. 221–246. 

“Genre Change and Evolution.” Genre Studies around the Globe: Beyond the Three Traditions, ed. Natasha Artemeva and Aviva Freedman. Edmonton, AB: Inkshed Publications, 2016. 154–185.

“New Genres, Now and Then.” Literature, Rhetoric, and Values, ed. Shelley Hulan, Murray McArthur, and Randy Allen Harris. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. 127–149.

“Should We Name the Tools? Concealing and Revealing the Art of Rhetoric.” The Public Work of Rhetoric: Citizen-Scholars and Civic Engagement, ed. David Coogan and John Ackerman. University of South Carolina Press, 2010. 19–38.

“Questions for Genre Theory from the Blogosphere,” first author, with Dawn Shepherd. Genres in the Internet: Issues in the Theory of Genre, ed. Janet Giltrow and Dieter Stein. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. 263–290.

“Rhetoric, Disciplinarity, and Fields of Knowledge,” second author, with John Lyne. The Sage Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, ed. Andrea A. Lunsford. Los Angeles: Sage, 2009. 167–174.

“What Can Automation Tell Us About Agency?” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 37.2 (2007): 137–157. DOI: 10.1080/02773940601021197.

Work in Progress

“Disciplinarity: Making Peace with Blurred Boundaries and Open Categories,” with Gwendolynne Reid, in preparation for Composition, Rhetoric, and Disciplinarity: Shadows of the Past, Issues of the Moment, and Prospects for the Future, ed. Rita Malenczyk, Susan Miller-Cochran, Elizabeth Wardle, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. Under review.

“Genre in Ancient and Networked Media,” Ancient Rhetorics + Digital Networks, ed. Damien Pfister and Michelle Kennerly. University of Alabama Press, in press.

“The Tree of Life as Scientific Visualization in Evolutionary Theory,” with Molly Hartzog. In preparation for journal submission.

“What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Genre?” first author, with Anna Turnage and Nicholas Temple. In preparation for journal submission.


Interview by Dylan Dryer, “The Fact That I Could Write About It Made Me Think It Was Real,” Composition Forum 31 (Spring 2015); part of a special issue with retrospectives, original articles, program profiles, and reviews following up on my work in genre theory.

"Prof's Pioneering Work Hailed," by Brent Winter, NC State Bulletin, May 2014.

"Do Genres Evolve?" presented at Indiana University, November 2013. YouTube video

Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology Oral History Project, interview, November 2012. YouTube video.

Interview, Figure/Ground Communication, July 2012.

"Do Genres Evolve? Should We Say That They Do?" Featured presentation at Genre 2012: : Rethinking Genre 20 Years Later, An International Conference on Genre Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, June 2012. Video.

Academic conversation (Bate-Papo Acadêmico) on genre with Carolyn Miller and Charles Bazerman, Núcleo de Investigacaões sobre Gêneros Textuais, Programa de Letras, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, August 2011. Available in video, flash-paper, and PDF in four languages.


  • Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1980
  • M.A. in English from Penn State University, 1968
  • B. A. in English Honors from Penn State University, 1967