Meet the MLC Director

Alexandra Johnston
Assistant Teaching Professor
Director, MA in Language and Communication (MLC)

Dr. Johnston is an applied sociolinguist and critical discourse analyst with over 10 years experience as a consultant and executive coach focusing on workplace leadership and communication skills. Alex develops and delivers programming and coaching to clients spanning the corporate, academic, government and nonprofit sectors, with a focus on Dow 30 and Fortune 100 corporations in the agriculture and biotechnology space. She has led several nonprofit organizations focused on Japan-U.S. relations and Fulbright Program advocacy.

Alex received her PhD from Georgetown University’s Department of Linguistics under the direction of Ron Scollon, Deborah Tannen and Natalie Schilling. She was the first person to gain permission from US Citizenship and Immigration Services to videorecord permanent residency visa (“green card”) interviews. Her analysis focused on how U.S. immigration officers approve or deny green cards based on applicants’ verbal and nonverbal strategies.

She is a peer-reviewed author and presenter on institutional gatekeeping encounters, gendered patterns of discourse, workplace communication, and intercultural (mis)communication. She holds a BA (Washington University in St. Louis) and MA (Stanford University) in East Asian Studies and lived in Japan for 3 years on several international exchange programs, including the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. She received her MA in TESOL from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she taught English to adult speakers of other languages.