Liza Potts, Ph.D.

Welcome to one of my many internet-based homes. For updated content, go to my academic portfolio.

 

About Me

I am an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) at Michigan State University. I am the director of WIDE, where I work on various digital humanities research projects. I am the director of the Experience Architecture program, an awesome new degree program focused on user experience and user-centerered design in the College of Arts and Letters. I teach in that program as well as the Professional Writing program and the Digital Humanities program. My Ph.D. is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where a chapel was converted into a computer lab. I also do consulting work, typically focused on different aspects of social experience for internet-based projects, products, and services. I share my life with an awesome partner (and super smart software architect), three adorable daughters (filled with mischief and fun), a shaggy dog and her smaller sidekick (always at my feet), and a cat the size of a small lion. For fun, I enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, cooking, and soccer. I am proud to be a total geek. You should be, too.

 

Research

My research focuses on technologically-mediated communication, information architecture and design, and digital culture. My most recent project looked at how everyday people use social web tools to communicate during times of disaster. Other projects include participatory memory (digitizing physical spaces where everyday people build collective memory), digital entertainment (non-rivalrous systems made rivalrous), and food-borne illness tracking on Twitter. The findings of my research have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Technical Communication Quarterly, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Technical Communication, and the International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development, as well as conference proceedings for the International Professional Communication Conference (IEEE PCS), Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC), and the British Computing Society’s Sociotech Interaction Design Workshop (Sociotech). Along with those conferences, I have also presented my work at the Association for Teachers of Technical Writing’s (ATTW) annual conference the Association of Internet Researchers’ (AOIR) annual conference. You can learn more about my research work on Academia and Mendeley.

 

Teaching

At MSU, I teach a variety of classes on digital culture and design. What they have in common is a focus on digital technology, ethical innovation, and practical application. I very much take seriously the concept of teaching as mentorship, and I try to ensure that my classes reflect this concept. Recent courses include Researching Experience Architecture, Content Strategy, and Digital Rhetoric. I've also taught classes on Research Methods, Digital Humanities, Visual Rhetoric & Design, and Firsy Year Writing. My Ph.D. students are driven, motivated, and brilliant. And I like to brag about them. A. Lot. If you are interested in working with me, know that I have a high-bar and expect you to have one, too. I expect you to set deadlines, meet those deadlines, publish/present/profess, and be passionate about your work. You must also be fluent in sarcasm, use social web tools, and have an insatiable curiosity about how we use technology, how cultures work, and ways we can solve communication problems.

 

Service

I am Chair of the Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group for the Design of Communication (ACM: SIGDOC). I am a member of the steering committee for . I helped launch SIGDOC's new publication Communication Design Quarterly. I created and led a local writing project with our elementary school, helping students build their literary magazine with the help of some really awesome PW students.

 

Consulting

Specializing in experience design, I work with clients focused on building services, applications, and processes that help them build better experiences for their participants. I've worked for Fortune 100s, 500s, and start-ups where I've helped launch bleeding-edge technologies, built software used by millions, and redesigned ginourmous content architectures. I've been a director of design research, an information architect, a social experience expert, a program manager, and a documentation engineer (now that's a title!). Today, most of my work is focused on C-level advisement and product innovation, but I do still build wireframes, construct taxonomies, and manage communities from time to time. You can learn more about my work on LinkedIn.