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Judith Norback, Ph.D.

Director of Workplace and Academic Communication

Judith Norback

Contact Information

Email: Campus Phone: 404-385-1079
Fax: 404-894-2301
Office Location: Groseclose 0205, Room 223B


Dr. Judith Shaul Norback is a member of the General Faculty in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. As the Director of Workplace and Academic Communication, she has developed the Workforce Communication Program by conducting interviews with engineers, managers, and executives of firms employing engineers and using the information along with faculty input to develop and teach Workforce Presentation Instruction in Capstone Design and Basic Statistical Methods. Formerly, she worked for eight years at Educational Testing Service identifying the communication requirements of jobs and then founded and directed for eight years the Center for Skills Enhancement, Inc. Her clients included the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Skill Standards Board, the entire American steel industry, and many colleges and universities.

At Georgia Tech, Dr. Norback founded and has directed the Workforce Communication Lab and taught students communication skills. She continues to improve the workforce presentation instruction, which has been shown to improve student confidence and competence in presenting. Her research on the communication skills required for engineers' success in the workforce and the assessment of those skills has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, alumni, and the Engineering Information Foundation. Dr. Norback has presented at many national conferences and since joining Georgia Tech in 2000 she has published articles in INFORMS Transactions on Education, the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, and IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. Currently she is focused on writing a book for John Wiley & Sons on Oral Communication Excellence for Engineers, assessing the Capstone Design communication instruction, teaching a new course for graduate students on writing journal articles, and developing performance assessment for communication instruction.


M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology, Princeton University
B.A. magna cum laude, social psychology, Cornell University

Professional Affiliations

American Society for Engineering Educations (ASEE)
Council for Programs of Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS)
American Psychological Association
International Reading Association

Selected Publications

Integrating an Executive Panel on Communication in Senior Design (with E. Leeds & K. Kulkarni). In press for IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, December 2010.

Building a Stakeholder-based Rubric to Enhance Student Communication Skills (with T. T. Utschig). Revised for International Journal of Process Education, spring 2009.

Refinement and Initial Testing of an Engineering Student Presentation Scoring System (with T. Utschig). In press for American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2010.

Engineering Communication-Executive Perspectives on the Necessary Skills for Students (with E. Leeds & G. Forehand). International Journal of Modern Engineering. Vol. 10, No. 1, Fall/Winter 2009.

Managerial Presentations of Analytical Work, (with T. Grossman & J. Hardin). INFORMS Transactions on Education. Vol. 8, No. 3, May 2008.

An Evaluation of Workforce Presentation Instruction in Industrial Engineering Capstone Design (with P. Griffin & G. Forehand). American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2008.

Communication Instruction in an Engineering Introductory Statistics Course (with N. Serban, N. Gebraael & G. Forehand). American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2008.

Comparing Senior Design Students' Audience Analyses to their Clients' Self-Descriptions (with R. Billings & G. Forehand). American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2006.

Integrating Workplace Communication into Senior Design (with J. Hardin). IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Vol. 48, No. 4, December 2005.

Integrating Discipline-Specific Writing Instruction based on Workforce Data into Technical Communication Courses (with L. McNair). American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2005.

Engineering Workplace Communication (with J. Sokol, P. McGuire & G. Forehand) in P.K. Raju and Chetan Sankar (Eds.), Introduction to Engineering through Case Studies. Anderson, SC: Taveneer Publishing Company, 2004.

Teaching Workplace Communication in Senior Design (with G. Forehand, S. Jernigan & A. Quinn). American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference Proceedings, June 2002. (Best Paper Award).

Honors & Awards

  • Asked to serve on three NSF review panels 2009
  • One of 20 engineering education professionals selected to attend NSF workshop on Rigorous Research in Engineering Education 2007
  • Best Paper Award, American Society of Engineering Education, Industrial Engineering Division 2003


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