Karen J. Head

Adjunct Faculty

Member Of:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication
Email Address: khead@gatech.edu


Personal Pronouns:

Dr. Karen Head (Ph.D. University of Nebraska, M.A. University of Tennessee, B.A. Oglethorpe University, A.A. DeKalb College) is the Associate Chair and Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Media, and Communication and Executive Director of the Institute-wide Communication Center. She has been at Georgia Tech since 2004.

In 2020, she was named the inaugural Poet Laureate of Fulton County, Georgia.

She is also the editor of Atlanta Review and the immediate past editor of Southern Discourse in the Center: A Journal of Multiliteracy and Innovation.

On a more unusual note, she is currently the Poet Laureate of Waffle House—a title that reflects an outreach program to bring arts awareness to rural high schools in Georgia, which has been generously sponsored by the Waffle House Foundation.

She has published five books of poetry (Lost on Purpose, Sassing, My Paris Year, On Occasion: Four Poets, One Year, and Shadow Boxes) and exhibited acclaimed digital poetry projects. Since 2006, she has been a Visiting Scholar at Technische Universität-Dortmund, Germany, where she serves as primary consultant for their academic tutoring center.

Her research focuses on higher education rhetoric, sustainable and innovative pedagogy and space design, communication theory and pedagogical practice, especially the implementation and development of writing centers, writing program administration, and multidisciplinary communication. Her book, Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promises of Technology was published by University Press of New England in 2017.

In 2012-13, she was awarded a Georgia Tech Fund for Innovation in Research and Education Grant. Head's classes center on analyzing, critiquing, evaluating, and creating a variety of texts that demonstrate an understanding of audience and adaptation of multimodal rhetorical strategies and tools. Students and colleagues consistently rank her teaching as excellent. In 2012-13, she won the CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Award. In 2019, she was honored with the Georgia Tech Outstanding Service Award.

  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska
  • M.A., University of Tennessee
  • B.A., Oglethorpe University
  • A.A., Dekalb College
Awards and
  • 2019 Georgia Institute of Technology, Class of 1934 Outstanding Service Award
  • 2019 Higher Education Leadership Development Program (HERS Institute)
  • Waffle House Poet Laureate
  • 2017 Oglethorpe University Talmage Award (Distinguished Alumni Award)
  • 2016 Dekalb College/Perimeter College at Georgia State Distinguished Alumni Award
  • 2016 Women Out Front “Class of 2016” Service Award
  • 2015 & 2019 GT Office of Diversity: Faces of Inclusive Excellence
  • 2013 GT Women’s Leadership Conference “Woman of Distinction Faculty Award”
  • 2013 CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Award
  • 2010 Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Prize
  • 2009 All Nations Press Editor’s Choice of Excellence in Poetry
  • Class of 1934 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award (multi-year winner)
Areas of
  • Creativity
  • Educational Technology
  • Higher Education
  • Innovation
  • MOOC
  • Multiliteracy
  • Poetry
  • Representations Of Self
  • Rhetoric
  • The Communication Center
  • Tutoring
  • Writing


Research Fields:
  • Communication
  • Digital Media
  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Europe
  • United States
  • United States - Georgia
  • United States - Southeast
  • Gender
  • Communication
  • Community engagement
  • Creativity in Context
  • Cross-Cultural Understanding
  • Digital and Mixed Media
  • Digital Communication
  • Education
  • Education Policy
  • Higher Education: Teaching and Learning
  • Innovation
  • Interdisciplinary Learning and Partnering
  • International Communication
  • Language and Popular Culture
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Performance
  • Poetry
  • Science and Technology
  • Sustainability


  • LCC-3206: Communication & Culture
  • LCC-3222: Regionalism-Amer Lit
  • LCC-3226: Major Authors
  • LCC-3234: Creative Writing
  • LCC-3403: Tech Communication
  • LCC-3823: Special Topics Lit/Cult
  • LCC-3843: Spec Topic-Communication
  • LCC-4406: Profession Communication
  • LMC-3204: Poetry and Poetics
  • LMC-3222: Regionalism American Lit
  • LMC-3226: Major Authors
  • LMC-3234: Creative Writing
  • LMC-3823: Special Topics Lit/Cult
  • LMC-3843: Spec Topic-Communication
  • LMC-4811: Special Topics