Karen Gulbrandsen

Karen Gulbrandsen

Associate Professor

English & Communication



Liberal Arts 338


Iowa State UniversityPhD
Northeastern UniversityMA
University of Wisconsin, MadisonBA




Research interests

  • Technical Communication
  • Technology Transfer
  • Rhetoric of Science & Technology

Karen Gulbrandsen received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University and her Masters in Technical and Professional Communication from Northeastern University in Boston. She holds a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Her research focuses on technology transfer — the movement of intellectual property from a university or private research lab to its development in industry — and the rhetorical figures that describe and stabilize the practice in historical and cultural contexts. Current discussions about technology transfer often address the "valley of death," a metaphor used to describe the problems associated with technology transfer, and hover around the tension between the traditional role of the public university and a more entrepreneurial one characterized by partnerships with industry. Her dissertation was a case study of a new university institute that received public financing to develop partnerships with industry leaders as a way to bridge the "valley of death," analyzing the ways in which the public good was described and understood by various stakeholders.

In addition to teaching classes in rhetoric and professional communication, she has more than twelve years of professional experience, working on publications and grant proposals for nonprofit organizations and state government.

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