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Pat Munday, Ph.D.


Professor of Science & Technology Studies
Engineering Hall 103B
(406) 565-1826
E-mail Pat Munday »


I am a Professor of Science & Technology Studies with and former Department Head of the Technical Communication program at Montana Tech in Butte. My teaching, service and research have gone through a number of distinct phases, begining with the most recent:

  • Human-nature relationships, mapped and explored through semiotics;
  • Environmental studies, emphasis on citizen participation in Superfund policy decisions, funded in part by National Science Foundation grant;
  • Service to environmental groups such as Trout Unlimited and Big Hole River Foundation, successfully writing more than $1 million in grants for environmental remediation and restoration, publication of a popular book; and
  • History of German physiological chemistry in the 19th century, work revolving around Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), research funded in part by Fulbright Research Award to Germany.

  • Helped establish our undergraduate and graduate Technical Communication programs;
  • Chaired about 24 MS-TC committees;
  • Fulbright Scholar with Ningxia University in Yinchuan, China and Southwest University in Chongqing, China (2017); and
  • Continue to work closely with Chinese graduate candidates on their master’s theses and PhD dissertations.

Research Interests

Semiotics of environmental communication.

In chairing about 24 MS committees at Montana Tech, serving on countless others, and working with many more Chinese graduate candidates, I have learned how to help graduate students focus on an appropriate topic, develop the literature review necessary to understand the topic, employ project management methods to achieve goals in a timely manner, adopt a methodology appropriate to the thesis question, and write and defend a cogent and well-organized thesis.

Non-Research Interests

I read broadly on many topics, especially the history and philosophy of science and technology, history of Western Civilization, American technology and culture, and the role of semiotics in narrative.

Selected Honors & Awards

  • 2017, Fulbright Scholar Award in the People's Republic of China. Taught two courses at Ningxia University in Yinchuan, delivered guest lectures at several other Chinese universities and at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Fulbright is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. 
  • 2013. Number one recommendation for a Merit Award by the Montana Tech Faculty Merit Review Committee.
  • 2012. Fulbright Scholar Award in the People’s Republic of China. Taught two graduate courses at Southwest University in Chongqing, delivered guest lectures at several other Chinese universities and U.S. Consulates in China.
  • 2014-15 Sabbatical award to research and write scholarly articles on a broad range of topics.
  • 2006-07 Sabbatical award to research citizen involvement in shaping Environmental Protection Agency decisions for remedy in Upper Clark Fork River Superfund sites.
  • 1998-99 Sabbatical award to research the history of people and place in Montana’s Big Hole River watershed.
  • 1994. "Liebig-Wöhler-Freundschafts Preis," a prize to recognize original scholarship in the history of German chemistry. Awarded at the meeting of the Göttingener Chemische Gesellschaft.
  • 1987-88. Fulbright Student Scholar Award to perform research and study in the Federal Republic of Germany, with Prof. Dr. Andreas Kleinert at the Universität Hamburg, Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik und Technik.

Career in Brief

  • Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Technical Communication Department. Montana Tech, Butte MT (Formerly the Humanities & Social Sciences Department, with a degree program in Society & Technology.) 
  • 2014-17: Summer faculty with Yellowstone English & Environmental Studies international (YESPI), a program to prepare Asain students for sucess at American universities. 
  • Spring 2017: Visiting Professor with Ningxia University in Yinchuan, China.
  • Summer 2016: Visiting Exchange Professor with Sun Yet-sen University in Guangzhou, China.
  • 2012-14: Department Head of Technical Communication. Montana Tech, Butte MT.
  • Spring 2012: Visiting Professor with Southwest University in Chongqing, China.
  • 2003-07: Faculty and Steering Committee with “American History Teachers: A New Corps of Discovery,” (US Dept of Education Grant).
  • 1992, 93: Summer Guest Faculty with the Science & Technology Studies Department, Cornell University.
  • 1981-85: Chemist and assistant supervisor with the Control Laboratory, Kendall Refining Division of Witco Chemical Corporation (Bradford PA).
  • 1979-80: Assistant editor for the Engineering Ethics Newsletter of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Human Dimensions Center.


Courses Taught

1990-date: Montana Tech, Butte, Montana. Technical Communication Department.

  • Professor, Aug. 2000 to date.
  • Associate Professor, Aug. 1994 to July 2000.
  • Assistant Professor, Aug. 1990 to July 1994.

Courses taught include:

  • Graduate Research Methods (T.C. 561)
  • Technology, Communication & Culture- with a focus on semiotics (T.C. 542/ PTC 442)
  • Environmental Communication (T.C. 512/ PTC 412)
  • Technology & Society (STS 201): sometimes taught as a film class
  • Presenting Technical Information (COMM 201)
  • History of Science (HIST 443)
  • History of Technology (HIST 442)
  • History of Warfare (HIST 440)
  • Graduate Seminar (T.C. 594)

    Fulbright Lecturer, Ningxia University, Yinchuan China (Spring 2017)
  • “U.S. Environmental History” advanced undergraduate history course
  • "American Culture" undergraduate history course

    Visiting Professor, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou China (Summer 2016)
  • “Advanced Science Writing” course for graduate candidates in U.S. History

    Fulbright Lecturer, Southwest University, Chongqing China (Spring 2012)
  • “U.S. Environmental History” course for graduate candidates in U.S. History
  • “American Technology & Society” history course for pre-graduate elite minority students

Cornell University, Ithaca NY (1985-1990; Summer Guest Faculty 1991, 1992)

  • History of Women in Science (Freshman Writing Seminar)
  • History of 19th Century Chemistry (Freshman Writing Seminar)
  • Technology & Society (lower division Summer Course)
  • Politics of Technical Decisions (upper division/graduate Summer Course)
  • GTA: History of War in the Ancient World; Freshman Chemistry I & II

Selected Publications

  1. 2018 (in press): “This too is China. Hui Muslim culture and the Fulbright experience at Ningxia University” (academic book chapter).
  2. 2013: “Thinking through Ravens: Human Hunters, Wolf-birds, and Embodied Communication,” Chapter 13 in Emily Plec, editor, Perspectives on Human-Animal Communication: Internatural Communication (Routledge Communication Series).
  3. 2013: “The Na’vi as Spiritual Hunters: a semiotic exploration,” in Bron Taylor, editor, Opening Pandora’s Film (WLU University Press):161-180.
  4. 2011: "Environmental Protection Agency," an entry in Green Culture: An A-to-Z Guide (Sage Publications):157-158.
  5. 2009: “The Role of Environmental Communication in Shaping Remedy at America’s Largest Superfund Site,” Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference on Communication and the Environment (August 2009).
  6. 2004: “Science, History of,” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004):2182–2188.
  7. “’A millionaire couldn’t buy a piece of water as good:’ George Grant & the Conservation of the Big Hole Watershed,” Montana Magazine of Western History 52 (2002):20-37.
  8. Montana’s Last Best River: The Big Hole and its People (Lyons Press, 2001).

Personal Interests

I grew up in a small town on the Allegheny Plateau of north-central Pennsylvania. We were subsistence hunters and farmers, and the experience connected me intimately to nature - a connection that is still important to my life.

As a four-season outdoorsman, activities include cross country skiing, trout fishing, backpacking, and elk hunting (longbow & rifle).

Current President of the Mai Wah Society - Butte's Chinese history and culture museum.

25 years involvement with Butte Superfund and environmental remedy/restoration.