Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication

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Programmatic Perspectives publishes articles related to programmatic issues related to technical communication. ISSN 2326-1412

Current Issue

Volume 5 Issue 1 (Spring 2013)

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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 reviewers, table of contents, and articles.


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From the Editor

Issue Preview

Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha

This issue preview welcomes the community to Programmatic Perspectives. The editors preview articles and invite the community action. Volume 5.1 contains special commentary on a recurring theme in this issue: diversity in technical communication programs.



Technology and Technical and Professional Communication through the Lens of the MLA Job Information List 1990-2011

Claire Lauer, Arizona State University

Abstract. This article tracks the evolving relationship between technology and technical communication through the lens of the academic job market.  It identifies the changing ways in which members of the field have talked about the kinds of technologies and composing practices they are looking for in the teaching and research of new hires. The study at the heart of this article catalogued the ways in which seventeen technology and design-related keywords have been used in MLA job advertisements over the past two decades.  Looking specifically at the popularity of keywords such as “design” and “new media,” it suggests that program administrators should be aware of these trends and take ownership over the way we name and define the technological advances in our field.  Doing so will allow administrators to more strategically discuss the values and practices of our field to those in our departments, universities, and workplace and funding environments.

Keywords. MLA, JIL, Job Information List, technology, design, new media, trends, job, market, program, strategy, field, definition


Oral Communication Assessment in a General Education Professional Communication Course: Politics and a Proposal

Kristin Pickering, Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville

Abstract. This article discusses ways that an oral communication, Professional Communication course was assessed not only to meet the requirements of the university’s outside governing board but also to increase instructional effectiveness within the course while collaborating with faculty who teach it. As a result of course faculty’s taking ownership of the assessment process, despite difficult politics, the faculty created a new assessment form genre, which allows them to begin assessing required characteristics for the governing board, as well as characteristics identified by the faculty as essential for students to master as they learn specific oral communication genres within the course. The article focuses on assessment processes and politics while also proposing a framework for assessment that goes beyond meeting requirements to expanding the process by meeting specific student and faculty needs.

Keywords. programmatic reflection, assessment, oral communication, genres


A Survey of U.S. Certificate Programs in Technical Communication

Jim Nugent, Oakland University

Abstract. Many colleges and universities offer certificates in technical communication as an alternative to full undergraduate or graduate degrees in the field. Despite certificates’ increasing popularity in recent years, relatively little commentary exists about them within the scholarly literature. This article describes a survey of technical communication certificate and baccalaureate program administrators undertaken to develop descriptive data on programs’ age, size, and graduation rates; departmental location; curricular requirements; online offerings; and instructor status and qualifications. It concludes by discussing implications of these data for a number of larger conversations within the field of technical communication.

Keywords. certificate programs, program research, technical communication, program administration


2012 Keynote

A Survey of Emerging Research: Debunking the Fallacy of Colorblind Technical Communication

Miriam F. Williams, Texas State University

This keynote was presented at the 2012 annual meeting at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, on September 27, 2012. The meeting’s theme for that year was “Communities, Workplaces, and Technologies.”


Program Showcase

Profile of Professional and Technical Writing as Part of the Community at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

K. Alex Ilyasova, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Abstract.This article provides an institutional context, a program history and program development as it relates to the local and university communities for the Profes­sional and Technical Writing undergraduate emphasis at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. A program profile, disciplinary strengths, faculty overview, community engagement and assessment issues are described.

Keywords. community, curriculum development, client-based coursework, university and programmatic vision, stasis theory, technical and professional writing


Curriculum Showcase

A Professional Writing Capstone Course: The Portfolio Seminar at Michigan State University

Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Michigan State University

Laura Julier, Michigan State University

Jonathan Ritz, Michigan State University

Abstract. In an earlier Programmatic Perspectives piece (DeVoss & Julier, 2009), we presented a profile of the Professional Writing program at Michigan State University. In this piece, we focus specifically on a senior capstone experience—a portfolio seminar. We first describe some recent changes to the undergraduate program, then describe the intellectual framework that scaffolds the course. We then share course materials, assignments, and insights gained from our experiences teaching the course. We share student work, connecting the work to how it reflects the university’s larger “Liberal Learning Goals,” and describe some of the course outcomes and the work of the course in helping to prepare students for careers in technical writing, information architecture, media production, nonprofit communications, social media strategy, web authoring, grant and proposal writing, publications management, and editing and publishing.

Keywords. digital and technical writing; editing and publishing; internships; liberal learning goals; nonprofit communications; portfolio; professional development; senior capstone; senior seminar


Guest Editorial

A Call for Reaffirming a Humanist Understanding of Technology

Dale L. Sullivan, North Dakota State University


Book Review

Assessment in Technical and Professional Communication, Editors: Margaret N. Hundleby and Jo Allen Baywood Publishing Company 2010. 228pp.

Joanna Schreiber, Michigan Technological University