Thomas Mitchell

Associate Teaching Professor, English

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Mitchell joined the Qatar faculty after completing a Ph.D. in rhetoric at CMU in 2013. He has taught introductory courses in academic writing and argumentation, style, writing in the professions, language and culture, and discourse analysis.


Ph.D., Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013

Dissertation title: Rhetoric of place: Shaping a struggling neighborhood’s reputation

Committee chair: Barbara Johnstone

Graduate study in Spanish and Latin American Literature, University of Chile, 2002-2003

B.A., English and Spanish, Emory University, May 2001

Area Of Expertise

rhetoric of place, second language writing, discourse analysis

Research Description

I am an associate teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University's Qatar campus. I primarily use Systemic Functional Linguistics to analyze and scaffold student writing of disciplinary genres through collaborations with disciplinary faculty. I am currently continuing to work as part of the SLATE-Q research team on a project that was funded by the Qatar National Research Fund to scaffold academic literacy development in Information Systems.

Research Keywords

academic linguistics, rhetoric, second language writing, systemic functional linguistics, discourse analysis, disciplinary writing


Refereed journal articles

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T. D., Gomez Laich, M. P, Maune, M., Le Roux, Cecile (forthcoming). Scaffolding the case analysis in an organizational behavior course: Making analytical language explicit. Journal of Management Education.  

Mitchell, T. D., Pessoa, S., & Gomez-Laich, P.M. (2021). Know your roles: Alleviating the academic-professional tension in the case analysis genre. English for Specific Purposes 61, 117-131.

Pessoa, S., Gomez-Laich, M.P., Mitchell, T.D. (2020). Mapping the case analysis genre continuum in an Information Systems program. Journal of Writing Research 12, 291-320.

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Reilly, B. (2019). Scaffolding the writing of argumentative essays in history: A functional approach. The History Teacher, 52, 411-440.

Pessoa, S., Gomez-Laich, M.P., Liginlal, D., & Mitchell, T.D. (2019). Scaffolding case analysis writing: A collaboration between IS and Writing Faculty. Journal of Information Systems Education30, 42-56.

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Miller, R.T. (2018). Scaffolding the argument genre in a multilingual university history classroom: Tracking the writing development of novice and experienced writers. English for Specific Purposes50, 81-96.

Mitchell, T.D & Pessoa, S. (2017). Scaffolding the writing development of the argumentative genre in history: The case of two novice writers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes30, 26-37. 

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Miller, R.T. (2017). Emergent arguments: A functional approach to analyzing student challenges with the argument genre. Journal of Second Language Writing38, 42-55. 

Miller, R.T., Mitchell, T.D., & Pessoa, S. (2016). Impact of source texts and prompts on students’ genre uptake. Journal of Second Language Writing31, 11-24. 

Miller, R.T., Mitchell, T. D., & Pessoa, S. (2014).  Valued voices: Students’ use of Engagement in argumentative history writing. Linguistics and Education28, 107-120.


Refereed chapters in edited volumes

Mitchell, T.D. & Pessoa, S. (forthcoming). Using the 3×3 toolkit to support argumentative writing across disciplines. Invited chapter in Belcher, D. & Hirvela, A. (Eds.) Argumentative writing in a second language: Perspectives on teaching, assessment, and research. University of Michigan Press. 

Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D. (2019). Preparing students to write in the disciplines. In Caplan, N.A. and A.M. Johns (eds.). Changing Practices for the L2 Writing Classroom: Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay (pp. 150-177). University of Michigan Press.

Mitchell, T.D. & Pessoa, S. (2019). Scaffolding second language writing in Qatar: A case study of a design teacher’s development. In L. Seloni and S. Henderson Lee (Eds.), Second Language Writing Instruction in International Contexts: Language Teacher Preparation and Development (pp. 150-172). Multilingual Matters

Miller, R.T., Mitchell, T.D., & Pessoa, S. (2018). Impact of source texts and prompts on students’ genre uptake. In K. Vieira, V. Portillo, J. Luther, D. Blakesley, and S. Parks (Eds.), Best of the journals in rhetoric and composition 2017 (pp. 177-208). Parlor Press (Reprinted from Journal of Second Language Writing, 31, 11-24, 2016).


Refereed chapters in conference proceedings

Gomez-Laich, M.P., Mitchell, T.D., Pessoa, S., & Maune, M. (in press). Using the Onion Model to scaffold the case analysis in information systems. Proceedings from the 44th English Across the Curriculum Conference

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Jacobson, A. (in press). Scaffolding argumentative writing history: The evolution of an interdisciplinary collaboration. Proceedings from 45th the International Systemic Functional Linguistics Congress.

Mitchell, T.D., Miller, R.T., & Pessoa, S.  (2016).  Longitudinal changes in use of Engagement in university history writing: A case study. In L. Lai, A. Mahboob, and P. Wang (Eds.), Multiperspective Studies of Language: Theory and Application. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. 145-153. (Proceedings of the 8th International Free Linguistics Conference)


Chapters in edited volumes

Pessoa, S., Mitchell, T.D., & Miller, R.T. (2018). Scaffolding literacy at a branch campus of an American university in the Middle East: Interdisciplinary collaborations. In M. Rajakumar (Ed.), Western Curricula in International Contexts (pp. 133-147). Lexington: Lanham.

Mitchell, T.D. (2010). “A Latino community takes hold”: Reproducing semiotic landscapes in media discourse. In A. Jaworski and C. Thurlow (Eds.), Semiotic Landscapes (pp. 168-186). Continuum.


Book reviews and notices

2009. (Fifth author, with Scott Kiesling, Brian Brubaker, Maeve Eberhardt, Veronica Lifrieri, Christina Schoux). Review of Jack Sidnell, Talk and practical epistemologyThe social life of knowledge in a Caribbean communityLanguage in Society 38, 372-375.

2008. Book notice on Dirk Gorter, ed., Linguistic Landscape: A New Approach to MultilingualismLanguage in Society 37, 312-313.


Awards & Honors

Best Paper, 2019, Journal of Information Systems Education for “Scaffolding Case Analysis Writing”

Finalist, CMU Teaching Innovation Award 2019-2020 for SLATE-Q collaborations, with Pessoa, S., Gomez-Laich, M.P., Le Roux, C., & Liginlal, D.

Honorable Mention, Best Article 2017, Journal of Second Language Writing for "Emergent Arguments"

Inclusion in Best of the journals in rhetoric and composition 2017 for "Impact of Source Texts and Prompts"

Professional Activities

Classroom Workshops / Academic Literacy Interventions

  • Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D.  (Fall 2015, Fall 2016). Global History writing workshop series: The stages and language of argumentative history writing. Carnegie Mellon University. Doha, Qatar.
  • Pessoa, S. & Mitchell, T.D.  (Fall 2015, Fall 2016). The Designed World writing workshop series: Unpacking prompts and addressing expectations. Carnegie Mellon University. Doha, Qatar.

Courses Taught

Style, 76-390

Language and Culture, 76-386/786

Introduction to Discourse Analysis, 76-385/785

Rhetoric and Place, 76-324

Writing for the Professions, 76-270

Interpretation and Argument, 76-101

Reading and Writing in the Academic Context, 76-100

English, CMU-Q Summer College Preview Program (SCPP)