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Gayle Nelson

Associate Professor    

Intercultural competence
Qualitative research
Second language writing
Academic socialization


Gayle Nelson, professor and former chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL, came to Georgia State University in 1990 after receiving her PhD in intercultural communication from the University of Minnesota. Since 2007 she has coordinated international programs in the office of the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, GSU. For two years (2012 to 2014), she concurrently served as interim director of the Middle East Institute. Previously, she had taught EFL and ESL — at the American University in Cairo, West Virginia University, Kuwait University, and a Ugandan secondary school.

In 1995-6, she spent one year as a Fulbright senior lecturer at La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico where she taught and conducted research. In 2006, she taught at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Nelson’s research areas include the effectiveness of particular teaching techniques in various contexts, the role of sociocultural factors on language teaching and learning, issues related to second language writing, and cross-cultural pragmatics. As an advocate of international education, she administered programs between GSU applied linguistics students and Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Her commitment to international education is also demonstrated by her grants and contracts record. Most recently (2010-2013) she (with Eric Friginal) directed a linkage program between the University of Baghdad and GSU. Earlier, she directed a USAID HED TIES Partnership Program between the Nanational edagogical University (Universidad Pedagógica Nacional) in Mexico City and GSU. She also directed a three-way student exchange with universities in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. through a North American Mobility Grant (FIPSE); co-directed (with Pat Byrd) a series of funded USAID training programs for Egyptian English language teachers, and has conducted numerous teacher training workshops in Morocco, Egypt, Greece and Mexico.

Her work has been published in Applied Linguistics, TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Second Language Writing, Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Matters, International Journal of International Relations, and Spanish Applied Linguistics among others. Additionally, she has published numerous book chapters and book reviews and co-authored and co-edited several volumes.

Courses frequently taught:

AL 8330 Intercultural Communication

AL 8980 Seminar in Identity Construction

AL 4151 Communication Across Cultures (CTW)



Co-investigator (with Eric Friginal), University of Baghdad and Georgia State University: University Linkages Program (ULP), funded by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq for $1,000,000, September, 2011 to September, 2014.

Principal Investigator, A TIES partnership grant: Strengthening English Language Education in Mexico Through Training MA Students and Tutors, Revising Distance Learning Courses, and Developing an MA Degree, funded by HED USAID for $250,000, October 1, 2008 – October, 2011.


Nelson, G. & Acheson, K. (2015). Disciplinary approaches to culture: Applied linguistics. In J. Bennett (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of intercultural competence (pp. 248-252). Thousand Oaks: Sage

Belcher, D. & Nelson, G. (2013).  Critical and corpus-based approaches to intercultural rhetoric, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Temples, A. & Nelson, G. (2013) Intercultural computer-mediated communication:  Insights from corpus-based analysis. In D. Belcher & G. Nelson (Eds), Critical and corpus-based approaches to intercultural rhetoric (pp. 154-179). Ann Arbor.: University of Michigan Press.

Nelson, G. & Temples, A.L. (2011) Identity construction as nexus of multimembership: Attempts at reconciliation through an online intercultural communication course. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 10, pp. 63-82.

Nelson, G. & Lu, Y. (2008) Negotiating on-line and in-class academic conversations: Writing to speak. In D. Belcher & A. Hirvala (Eds.), The oral/literate connection: Perspectives on L2 speaking, writing, and other media interactions (pp. 226-242). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Lu, Y. & Nelson, G. (2008). Negotiating on-line postings and publication: Identity construction through writing. In C. Casanave & Y. Li (Eds), Learning the literacy practices of graduate school: Insiders reflections on academic enculturation (pp.150-165). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Nelson, G. & Carson, J. (2006). Cultural issues in peer response: Revisiting culture. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (Eds.), Feedback in second language writing (pp. 42-59). New York: Cambridge University Press.