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Pat   Munday,   Ph.D.

Pat Munday

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

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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:

  • History of German physiological chemistry in the 19th century, work revolving around Justus von Liebig (1803-73), research funded in part by Fulbright Research Award to Germany;
  • 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;
  • Environmental studies, emphasis on citizen participation in policy decisions, funded in part by National Science Foundation grant; and (most recently)
  • Human-nature relationships, mapped and explored through semiotics.

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.


  • Helped establish undergraduate and graduate Technical Communication programs;
  • Chaired about 24 MS-TC committees;
  • Recently a Fulbright Scholar with Southwest University in Chongqing, China;
  • Continued to work closely with about 12 Chinese graduate candidates on their master’s theses.

Research Interests

Semiotics of environmental thought, but also semiotics of intercultural communication.

In chairing about 24 MS committees at Montana Tech, serving on countless others, and working with about 12 Chinese master's candidates, I have learned how to help graduate candidates 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

  • 2013. Recommended as a top candidate for 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 Academic Year. Sabbatical award to research and write about seven scholarly articles on a broad range of topic.
  • 2001-2015. Montana Tech Library Author’s Award.
  • 2006-07 Academic Year. Sabbatical award to research citizen involvement in shaping Environmental Protection Agency decisions for remedy in Upper Clark Fork River Superfund sites.
  • 1998-1999 Academic Year. 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.) [Promotions from Assistant to Associate to Professor, and tenure]
  • Aug. 2012-July 2014: Department Head of Technical Communication. Montana Tech, Butte MT.
  • Spring 2012: Visiting Professor with Southwest University in Chongqing, China.
  • Su 2003-07: Faculty and Steering Committee with “American History Teachers: A New Corps of Discovery,” (US Dept of Education Grant).
  • Su 1992, 1993: Summer Guest Faculty with the Science & Technology Studies Department, Cornell University.
  • 3/81-8/85: Chemist and assistant supervisor with the Control Laboratory, Kendall Refining Division of Witco Chemical Corporation (Bradford PA).
  • 9/79-2/80: 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:

  • Freshman Seminar (PTC 194): 2-semester sequence required for majors
  • Technology & Society (STS 201): sometimes taught as a film class
  • Presenting Technical Information (COMM 201)
  • Professional Ethics (PHL 325): conventional and web-based sections
  • Philosophy of Science (STS 358)
  • Politics of Technical Decisions (STS 359): designated writing course
  • Technology, Communication, & Society (PTC 4426): designated writing course
  • History of Science (HIST 443)
  • History of Technology (HIST 442)
  • History of Warfare (HIST 440)
  • Senior Thesis, 2-semester sequence (PTC 499)
  • Senior Seminar (PTC 499): two semester sequence
  • Graduate Seminar (T.C. 594)
  • Professional Presentations (T.C. 501)
  • Proseminar in Communication Ethics (T.C. 537)
  • Technology, Communication & Culture (T.C. 542)
  • Graduate Research Methods (T.C. 561)

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. 2015 (in press): “The American Frontier Myth,” Humanities International Journal (Xiamen University).
  2. 2015 (under review): Co-author Wang Yong, “The U.S. Clean Water Act of 1972 and its Origins in the American Environmental Movement in the 1960s.”
  3. 2015 (under review): “Needham’s Girls: A Case Study of Gender and Mentoring in Entomology.”
  4. 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).
  5. 2013: “The Na’vi as Spiritual Hunters: a semiotic exploration,” in Bron Taylor, editor, Opening Pandora’s Film (WLU University Press):161-180.
  6. 2011: "Environmental Protection Agency," an entry in Green Culture: An A-to-Z Guide (Sage Publications):157-158.
  7. 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).
  8. 2004: “Science, History of,” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004):2182–2188.
  9. “’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.
  10. Montana’s Last Best River: The Big Hole and its People (Lyons Press, 2001).

Personal Interests

I am a four-season outdoorsman, including cross country skiing, trout fishing, backpacking, and elk hunting (longbow & rifle).

I am currently president of Mai Wah, Inc. - Butte's Chinese history and culture museum.

I have for 25 years been involved with Butte Superfund and environmental remedy/restoration.