Michael Alley

Engineering Communications Teaching Professor

My journey to the Leonhard Center:

Holding a master of science in electrical engineering and a master of fine arts in writing, I am a teaching professor of engineering communication at Penn State. I am the author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations (Springer, 2013), which has been translated to Japanese and Chinese, and The Craft of Scientific Writing (Springer, 2018), which has been translated to Japanese. Over the past decade, I have taught presentations and writing to engineers and scientists on four continents. Sites include Google, Harvard Medical School, MIT, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Simula Research Laboratory (Norway), Texas Instruments, and Panjab University (India). Alley’s website on presentations (www.assertion-evidence.com) is a top Google listing for engineering presentations and my website on writing (www.craftofscientificwriting.com) is a top Google listing for engineering writing.

Michael is passionate about:

  • Rethinking presentation slides
  • Helping faculty integrate effective writing in their classrooms

Proud moments:

  • Book: The Craft of Scientific Presentations, 4th ed. (Springer, 2018).
  • Book: The Craft of Scientific Presentations, 2nd ed. (Springer, 2013).
  • Journal Paper: with Kay A. Neeley, “Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides: A Case for Sentence Headlines and Visual Evidence,” Technical Communication, 52 (4), pp. 417-426.
  • Journal Paper: with Joanna Garner, “How the Design of Presentation Slides Affects Audience Comprehension: A Case for the Assertion-Evidence Approach,” International Journal of Engineering Education, 26 (6), pp. 1564-1579.
  • Invited Lectures: “Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides,” National Science Foundation (November 2011), MIT (2004), Harvard Medical School (2010), Google (2011).
  • Invited Workshops: Communicating Scientific Research (Norway, 2014 – present), Scientific Presentations (Texas Instruments, 2011 – present), Communicating Scientific Research (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2014 – present), Communicating Scientific Research (Punjab University, 2019).
  • Award: Ronald S. Blicq Award for Distinction in Technical Communication Education (2014), IEEE Professional Communication Society.
  • Website: Rethinking Scientific Presentations: the Assertion-Evidence Approach, www.assertion-evidence.com (more than 250,000 page downloads per year).
  • Website: Writing as an Engineer or Scientist, www.craftofscientificwriting.com (more than 250,000 page downloads per year).
  • Co-Founder: Engineering Ambassadors Network (2009).

Favorite Leonhard Center Halloween costume:

Mr. Green from Clue (2007)

a man dressed in a costume

What to contact Michael for:

Email Michael if you want to learn more about engineering communication.

michael alley headshot


The Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education was established in 1990 by an endowment from William and Wyllis Leonhard. Its mission is to catalyze the changes that are crucial to maintaining world-class engineering education at Penn State. In 2006 the Leonhard Center became the home for two other major programs that support teaching and learning in the College - the Office of Assessment & Instructional Support and Programs for Engineering Writing & Speaking.

The Leonhard Center

201 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-4020