Miles A Kimball, PhD

Professor, Communication and Media

Miles A Kimball worked as a technical writer and knowledge management consultant in the defense and telecommunication industries. He has published broadly on e-portfolio pedagogy, information design, graphic design, digital humanities, and the history of data visualization. He has served in a variety of administrative roles. His work has won the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) award for the Best Article on the History or Theory of Technical and Scientific Communication as well as that organization's award for the Best Article on Qualitative or Quantitative Research in Technical and Scientific Communication. His work thus extends across the boundaries of the humanities and the empirical sciences, making contributions to both.

Professor Kimball recently received the Society for Technical Communication's (STC's) top award for research, the Ken Rainey Award, which is given to mark a lifetime of quality research in the field. Kimball is honored by the STC for his "major contributions to research on the history of technical communication and document design and for providing research to broaden our understanding of the creation of technical communication as ubiquitous in contemporary experience."

Kimball is known in his field for the concept of tactical technical communication, which helps describe the actions that individuals make to cut across the grain of institutional strategies - often by appropriating the techniques of institutions (such as technical communication) against the institutions that designed these techniques to begin with. For example, the international cell phone networks that allowed the citizen journalism of the Arab Spring, which stoked hopes for democracy in the Middle East, also became a preferred trigger for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which thereby suppressed free speech and fostered extremism. Kimball's work has subsequently been applied to terrorist manuals and similar difficult topics rarely considered through the lens of technical communication.

Among other things, Kimball has written two books and co-edited a book of essays. He started and edited the Routledge Book Series in Technical Communication, Rhetoric, and Culture, and has since started co-editing the new SUNY Studies Technical Communication Series. He served as President of the College English Association and is a Senior Member of the STC.

"As no man is born an artist, no man is born an angler." ~ Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler


PhD, University of Kentucky

Research Focus
  • Usability
  • Design
  • Accessibility
  • Data visualization
  • History
  • experiential learning
Select Works
  • “The Golden Age of Technical Communication: Profession, Discipline, Performance.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 46.3 (2016): 330–358.
  • “Mountains of Wealth, Rivers of Plenty: Michael Mulhall’s Dictionaries of Statistics and National Competition.” In Visible Numbers: Essays on the History of Statistical Graphics, ed. Charles Kostelnick and Miles Kimball. Ashgate, 2016.
  • “Visual Design Principles: An Empirical Study of Design Lore.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 43.1 (2013): 3–41.
  • “Cars, Culture, and Tactical Technical Communication.” Technical Communication Quarterly 15.1 (2006): 67–86.
  • “London through Rose-colored Graphics: Charles Booth's Maps of London Poverty.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 36.4 (2006): 351–379.