Alison Cardinal, Ph.D. (Candidate)


Specialty: Rhetoric and Composition, Basic Writing, Transfer of Learning

Cardinal, Alison

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: GWP 304
Phone: 253-692-4389
Schedule: Winter 2014 office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


  • Ph.D. (candidate), Language and Rhetoric, University of Washington Seattle, Expected 2017.
  • M.A., English Studies, Western Washington University, 2009.
  • B.A., English Literature, Whitworth University, 2006.
  • B.A., Theology, Whitworth University, 2006.


I am currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington - Seattle studying Language and Rhetoric. Before coming to UW Tacoma, I taught at a wide variety of classes at several area community colleges. I currently teach academic writing courses at UWT. My current areas of study include discourse analysis, issues of language and power, critical theory, qualitative research methods and composition studies.

As a teacher and a researcher, I am profoundly influenced by research in transfer of learning. Transfer - taking something you learn in one context and using it in another context - is the object of my study and the basis for my teaching. As a teacher, I design my courses to give students the habits of mind that will help them consciously take their writing skills with them beyond my course. In my research, I strive to help better understand what the process of transfer of learning involves and what factors influence a person's ability to write in a new situation.


"Transfer of Learning and Third-Space Collaboration: Preparing Students for Cross-Disciplinary Writing with Misty Anne Winzenried, Lilly Campbell, and Roger Chao, July 2012-present

This qualitative research study currently underway involves conducting focus groups of freshmen to study how and when transfer of learning occurs when students collaborate across their disciplinary courses. Initial results have been presented at several conferences and will eventually be submitted for publication this spring.


I teach a range of academic writing courses at UW Tacoma:

  • TCORE 100: Introduction to Interdisciplinarity
  • TWRT 111: Discourse Foundations
  • TCORE 101: Introduction to Academic Writing
  • TWRT 211: Argument and Research in Writing

Selected Publications

  • A. Cardinal., and Keown K. (forthcoming) So You Want to Start a Studio Program?: Stories From the Front Lines. In Innovative Developments in Writing Studio Practice, Ed. Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler.
  • A. Cardinal. (under revision) Redesigning the Basic Writing Studio Course for Transfer: Bridging Research and Practice. Composition Forum.


  • College Composition and Communication
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Two-Year College Association

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Teaching Award (nominee) 2014