Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication

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Programmatic Perspectives publishes articles related to programmatic issues related to technical communication.


Volume 2 Issue 2 (September 2010)

Complete Issue

Front Matter and Articles

Front matter is included with the complete issue version, which also includes the journal's cover, information about the editorial offices' locations, copyright information, list of editorial board members, table of contents, and articles.


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From the Editors

Issue Preview

Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Michael J. Salvo, Purdue University

Bill Williamson, Saginaw Valley State University

This issue preview welcomes the community to Programmatic Perspectives. The editors preview articles and invite the community to comment. Volume 2.2 contains a special tribute to former-Editor Karla Saari Kitalong.



Undergraduate Technical Writing Assessment: A Model

Carol Siri Johnson, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Norbert Elliot, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Abstract. This article describes an assessment process developed for an undergraduate technical writing course at a public research university. To document program outcomes, we used a variety of statistical methods. To describe our process, we present longitudinal performance data collected over five years (fall 2004 through spring 2009) on 636 students. After providing a brief overview of the measurement concepts and statistical tools that we employ, we describe our process in five phases: designing the variable model to ensure construct validation; designing the assessment methodology to ensure content validation; designing the sampling plan to address economic constraint; designing the data analysis to articulate the validation argument; and using the assessment results to ensure consequential validation. Our intention is to provide a model that can be applied to other institutional sites and to encourage others to use it, tailoring the model to their unique needs.

Keywords. assessment, constructed response, educational measurement, evidence-centered design, ePortfolios, program assessment, technical communication, writing assessment


Working It Out: Community Engagement and Cross-Course Collaboration

Jennifer L. Bay, Purdue University

Michael J. Salvo,Purdue University

Mark A. Hannah,Purdue University

Karen Kaiser Lee,Purdue University

Abstract. This article reports on the results from a pilot program called Semester @SEA, an initiative in the undergraduate Professional Writing Program at Purdue University intended to encourage student engagement and activism. The four faculty who taught and managed students in the program report on their experiences and theorize four corresponding developments: new understandings of engagement as immersion, adaptation to emerging work environments, enhancement of leadership skills, and pedagogical transfer to other courses. This article relates the development of student leadership in postindustrial workplaces where they move beyond pseudotransactionality and into self-motivation and achievement, concluding with advice for undertaking and reporting programmatic innovation.

Keywords. community engagement, curriculum, immersion, internship, leadership, service learning


Program Showcase

Cedarville University, Technical and Professional Communication

Sandi Harner, Cedarville University

Abstract. This article describes the development and program history for the Technical and Professional Communication undergraduate major at Cedarville University. The article includes program distinctives, as well as profiles of students, graduates, faculty, and facilities.

Keywords. assessment, client-based projects, curriculum development, industry advisory board, rhetorical theory, technical communication, theory and practice


Book Reviews

Writing Studies as Grounds for Professional Writing: The Major at the University of Minnesota Duluth

David Beard, University of Minnesota Duluth

Abstract. The Writing Studies major (with emphases in Professional Writing and in Journalism) at the University of Minnesota Duluth marks a curricular innovation. This article traces the intellectual arguments that defined Writing Studies as one of the disciplines defined by its object (akin to American Studies, Women's Studies, and so on). The object of Writing Studies at UMD is writing, defined as a practice, a tool for cognition and social action, and a force for sociocultural change. These arguments are manifest in the core curriculum of the major (16 credits across four years of student coursework) and serve as grounds for the Professional Writing curriculum. That Professional Writing curriculum places exploration of and practice in writing in specific cultural contexts as the central skill set of a professional writing major rooted in the disciplinary home of Writing Studies.

Keywords. curriculum development, disciplinarity, independent program, Writing Studies



Some Thoughts on Emerging Programmatic Phenomena: Professional Certification and Online Technical and Scientific Communication Programs

Bill Williamson, Saginaw Valley State University