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 4 Issue 1 (Spring 2012)

Complete Issue

Front Matter

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-Omaha

Bill Williamson, Saginaw Valley State University

This issue preview welcomes the community to Programmatic Perspectives. The editors preview articles and invite the community action. Volume 3.1 contains special commentary on a recurring theme in this issue: diversity in technical communication programs.



Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Network of Communication Channels: Lessons Learned from a Communication Survey in Technical Communication Programs

Susan L. Popham, The University of Memphis
Lora Arduser, University of Cincinnati
Kelli Cargile Cook, Texas Tech University
Marjorie Rush Hovde, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis
Amy Koerber, Texas Tech University
Scott A. Mogull, Clemson University
Pavel Zemliansky, University of Central Florida

Abstract. The administrators of many programs, organizations, and associations often wonder if their program is functioning effectively and for the best purposes of the program's members. In this era of wireless, global communication modes and social network sites, these administrators may wonder if newer communication channels meet the needs of the members and the program. This study reports the results of a survey of a national organization of teachers of technical communication, a survey that asked the membership to report their perceptions of the effectiveness of the current communication channels and their interest in forging new, networked communication channels. The results revealed to the administrators the changing population demographic of the membership, the members' willingness and interest in using newer communication channels, and their reasons for not using other channels of communication. Ultimately, the authors argue that such reflective analysis of communication channels is healthy for the continued success of a networked program.

Keywords. organization, networks, communication channels, membership, survey of membership, perceptions of wireless communication and social networking, membership demographics, programmatic reflection


The Role of Historical Study in Technical Communication Curricula

Edward A. Malone, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Wright, David, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract. Historical study within academic disciplines is often used to invest students in their own futures and to create a sense of community among practitioners. As technical communication programs continue to develop, program designers must make decisions about how much historical study should be included. The current study examines information about how much value teachers of technical communication place upon historical study and the reasons for its inclusion in or exclusion from academic programs. Survey results show that attention given to historical study varies by program but that a few resources dominate study within many programs. The authors make recommendations for integrating historical study into technical communication curricula and offer an outline for a technical communication history course.

Keywords. history of technical communication, teaching of technical communication, study of history, survey, professional issues


NSF ADVANCE Grants and Technical Communication Faculty

Kathryn Northcut, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract. The National Science Foundation ADVANCE program is a direct response to the low percentage of women who enter the professoriate upon earning degrees in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite the STEM focus of NSF ADVANCE, technical communication faculty may benefit from ADVANCE grants if they are aware of the opportunities presented. This article points out ways that technical and scientific communication faculty can integrate with NSF ADVANCE initiatives on their campuses. My purpose is to provide faculty and program administrators ideas for using NSF ADVANCE as a professional development tool, and to recognize the skills we contribute to large proposal-writing teams.

Keywords. technical communication, professional writing, NSF grants, faculty collaboration, cross-disciplinary collaboration, external funding, gender in technical communication, gender studies, NSF ADVANCE, professional development


2011 Keynote

Crossing the Not-So-Great Divide: Academics as Technical-Communication Practitioners

Hillary Hart, University of Texas at Austin

Abstract. This keynote was presented at the 2010 annual meeting on October 6–8, 2012, at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, North Carolina. The meeting's theme for that year was "Academy-Industry Relationships and Partnerships."


Program Showcase

Moving On and Beyond: Technical Communication Program Assessment at Michigan Technological University

Ann Brady, Michigan Technological University
Erik Hayenga, University of Findlay
with Jingfang Ren, Michigan Technological University

Abstract. In this article we document a history of programmatic assessment in the Scientific and Technical Communication (STC) program at Michigan Technological University (MTU). More specifically, we describe three approaches to assessment used at Tech over the past fifteen years: system-centered, user-centered, and participatory. We provide this history, culminating with our current practices, so that others may benefit from our experience and develop advanced assessment practices compatible with their own needs and interests.

Keywords. programmatic assessment; system-centered, user-centered, and participatory assessment; formative; summative; portfolios; senior surveys; constructing professional identities; user instructions; portfolio presentations; stakeholders; speech act theory


Guest Editorials

An Editorial Introduction: A New Curriculum Showcase Section for Programmatic Perspectives

K. Alex Ilyasova, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs


A Call for a Coordinated, Inter-organizational Exploration of Current Arrangements

Stuart Blythe, Michigan State University


Book Review

Performing Feminism and Administration in Rhetoric and Composition Studies, Krista Ratcliffe and Rebecca Rickly (Eds.), Hampton Press, 2010. 261 pp.

Alex Layne, Purdue University



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