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 2 (Autumn 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 4.2 contains special commentary on a recurring theme in this issue: diversity in technical communication programs.



Assessing Professionalism in Undergraduate Technical Communication

David J. Reamer, The University of Tampa

Abstract. Although much scholarship in recent years has emphasized the need to professionalize technical communicators, those discussions tend to focus on prestige and establishing a clearly defined position within a workplace economy. This essay focuses instead on professionalism as a guiding concept underlying all of our practices, from product to presentation to process. The concept is currently applied in a broad variety of ways in scholarship and teaching practices: existing models for professionalism range from an unreflective, skills-based approach to practice to a system of formal certification reflecting the important social role of technical communicators. The author suggests an assessment-oriented approach to professionalism that grounds the concept in measurable outcomes.



Program Assessment:  The Role of Outcomes

Thomas Barker, The University of Alberta

Abstract. Increased emphasis on assessment in universities, coupled with the recent development of third-party certification by STC, have created an exigency for this examination of the history and methods of program evaluation in technical and professional writing.  This article addresses the pilot version of the CPTSC Assessment and Review Committee’s Outcomes Survey and situates the survey within the literature of descriptive and analytical program evaluations. The study recommends adjustments to the survey to make it better reflect scholarly trends in assessment and program evaluation and ways faculty can consider the role of assessment in program development and scholarship.

Keywords. assessment, outcomes, administration, technical communication, learning


The Swiss Army Knife Approach: The Challenges of the ePortfolio as a Multidisciplinary Assessment Instrument

Michael Charlton, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract. This article presents a case study of the ePortfolio being used for programmatic and professional development assessment of senior-level undergraduates in a diverse professional writing program.  It describes the evaluation methodologies used to assess professional writing students’ preparation for graduation and for the workplace, as well as the challenges of maintaining “best practices” for assessment.  An investigation of these methodologies also reveals the challenges faced by smaller programs which attempt to use a single assessment instrument to measure student work in fields as diverse as public relations, technical communication, print journalism, and convergent media studies, particularly in a climate of shrinking budgets and shifting assessment and portfolio technologies.



Program Showcase

Revising the technical communication service course

Karen Gulbrandsen, University of Massachutes–Dartmouth

Abstract. This article describes our process for revising the technical communication service course at UMass Dartmouth, using Robert Reich’s (1991) description of the symbolic analyst. Reich’s framework helped us identify our curricular needs, providing a rhetorical ground for defining our course and its objectives. This framework also placed rhetorical principles at the center of our curriculum, creating a space for active student learning.

Keywords. program assessment, curriculum design, learning objectives, rhetorical theory, technical communication



The Enterprise of Brokering: Program Administrator as Broker

Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Kirk St. Amant, East Carolina University


Book Reviews

Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, Adrienne P. Lamberti and Anne R. Richards (Eds.), Baywood Publishing Company, 2011. 250 pp.

Cassandra Branham, University of South Florida


Teaching Intercultural Rhetoric and Technical Communication: Theories, Curriculum, Pedagogies and Practices, Barry Thatcher and Kirk St. Amant (Eds.), Baywood Publishing Company, 2011. 288 pp.

Laura A. Ewing, University of South Florida



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