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Lisa Del TortoAssociate Professor of Instruction, The Cook Family Writing Program


Lisa Del Torto is Associate Professor of Instruction in The Cook Family Writing Program. She teaches Weinberg First-Year Seminars, Expository Writing, and Design Thinking & Communication (DTC). She has taught DTC in collaboration with colleagues in Segal and McCormick since Spring 2010, and she served on DTC leadership from 2013-2021. In all of her courses, Del Torto uses ethnographic methods and theoretical frameworks from sociolinguistics to explore linguistic behavior and other sociocultural phenomena.

Del Torto's research activities intersect with her teaching and service work and combine her interests in writing pedagogy, sociolinguistics, and design thinking. She is collaborating on research projects concerning linguistically minoritized student writers, open educational resources in first-year design, and antiracist and equitable writing assessment. These scholarly commitments contribute directly and in multiple ways to advancing social justice and access at Northwestern.

Del Torto has focused her service engagement on building and reinforcing relationships across the University. Service to the University has included advising first-year students, mentoring new faculty, co-directing the Design Thinking and Communication program, and sitting on Weinberg’s Curricular Review Committee. Additionally, she has designed and delivered workshops, lectures, and teaching and training materials to various units across Northwestern on topics such as equitable writing assessment, writing pedagogy, linguistic discrimination and justice, open educational resources, critical thinking, ethnographic methods, intercultural interaction, and cultural adjustment.


PhD, Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

MA, Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

B.A. Linguistics (Spanish), New York University, New York, NY

Research Interests

Language and identity; language contact; multilingual family interaction; English language learning

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