Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Dawn Opel
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Photo of WRAC Assistant Professor Dawl Opel outdoors

Dawn Opel

Assistant Professor

Graduate Faculty

Office: 240 Bessey Hall

Email: opeldawn@msu.edu

Twitter: @dawnopel

Skype: DawnOpel

Google Scholar





Research Areas

Rhetoric of health and medicine, experience architecture, community literacy, technical and professional writing, feminist and activist research methodologies


Dawn's interest in rhetoric, law, and policy stems from her legal background, having served as a federal law clerk and lawyer with legal aid societies and other nonprofit organizations. Dawn serves as Faculty Fellow at the Sparrow Health Systems/MSU Center for Innovation and Research at Sparrow Hospital, where she works with healthcare professionals on a variety of projects involving innovation of healthcare service delivery, communication practices, and information technology. Dawn's recent research focuses on the improvement of clinical practice and care coordination across community and clinical settings for better health outcomes.


PhD. Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics. Arizona State University. 2015.
JD. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. 2002.
BA. History. Wake Forest University. 1999

Representative Work

Opel, D. (2016). Designing online resources for safety net providers: Users’ needs and the Evidence-based Medicine paradigm. Communication Design Quarterly, 4(3), 35-45.

Opel, D. (2016). Communicating the complexity of healthcare payment and service delivery reform. 5th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information, Greenville, NC.

Opel, D., & Stevenson, S. (2016). Do women win?: Transnational development NGOs, discourses of empowerment, and cross-cultural technology initiatives in the Global South. connexions: international professional communication journal, 4(1). https://connexionsj.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/opel-stevenson1.pdf

Opel, D. (2014). Social justice in technologies of prenatal care: Toward a user centered approach to technical communication in home pregnancy testing. In SIGDOC 2014 Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference on Design of Communication, pp. 8. ACM.

Opel, D. (2015). Review of The Social Media Reader. Kairos, 20(1). http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/20.1/reviews/opel/index.html

Selected Courses Taught

XA 333: Researching Experience
WRA 331: Writing in the Public Interest
AL 333: Researching Experience
WRA 410: Advanced Web Authoring

Research or Academic Affiliations

Faculty Fellow, Sparrow/MSU Center for Research and Innovation
Researcher, WIDE
Affiliate, Digital Humanities @ MSU
Sponsorship Manager, ACM SIGDOC
Member, CCCC Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession