Mark Aakhus


Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Communication


Dean's Office

Mark Aakhus investigates the relationship between communication and design, especially the uses of technological and organizational design, to augment human interaction and reasoning for decision-making and conflict-management. He uses multiple methods from discourse analysis and computational social science to examine language, argumentation, and social interaction in professional practice, organizational processes, and information infrastructures.


University of Arizona
Ph.D., Communication and Management Information Systems

Washington State University
M.A., Communication (Language and Social Interaction)

University of North Dakota
B.A., Political Science and Journalism


Mark Aakhus's current research, teaching, and doctoral projects emphasize the following themes:

  • Argument Mining: Laboratory for the Study of Applied Language Technology and Society
  • Designing common(s) ground for open innovation: Social media and information systems for deliberation and collective intelligence in health decision making
  • Sustainability communication: Controversy and rationality in polylogues about the environment and wellness in the new media ecology
  • Information Infrastructures and Digital Social Ontology: Accountability and communication in digital society

The aim in these streams of research is to improve understanding of the intentional, and emergent, design of institutions for communication and the consequences for the co-creation of health, wellness, and democracy.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

Mark Aakhus has received funding for his research from the Kellogg Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Sun Micro-Systems, Rutgers Academic Excellence Fund, Rutgers Office of the Vice President for Research, and the National Science Foundation. 

Selected Publications

Aakhus, M., and Bzdak, M. (2015), Stakeholder engagement as communication design practice. J. Public Affairs, 15, 188–200. doi: 10.1002/pa.1569.

Aakhus, M. et al. (2014), Symbolic Action Research in Information Systems: The Introduction to the Special Issue. MIS Quarterly, 38.4

Aakhus, M., and Jackson, S. (2014), Becoming More Reflective about the Role of Design in Communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 2.2 125–134.

Aakhus, M. (2016). The Communicative Work of Organizations in Shaping Argumentative Realities. Philosophy & Technology, 1-18. Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1007/s13347-016-0224-4

Aakhus, M. & Lewiński, M. (2016). Advancing polylogical analysis of large-scale argumentation: Disagreement management in the fracking controversy. Argumentation. Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1007/s10503-016-9403-9.

Awards & Recognitions

Recipient of the National Communication Association’s Applied Communication Division’s 2015 Distinguished Publication Award for Journal of Applied Communication Research, Special Issue: Communication and Design

Guest Professor of Information Systems Uppsala University’s Department of Informatics and Media

Most Valuable Rutgers MCIS Professor (2009, 2012)

Distinguished Achievements in Teaching (2012) and Service (2009), Rutgers Department of Communication

Research Keywords