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


Volume 6 Issue 1 (Spring 2014)

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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 Editors

Issue Preview

Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Kirk St. Amant, East Carolina University

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.



Of Horsemen and Layered Literacies:Assessment Instruments for Aligning Technical and Professional Communication Undergraduate Curricula with Professional Expectations

Sally Henschel, Midwestern State University

Lisa Meloncon, University of Cincinnati

Abstract. In this study, we attempt to answer the following questions: What conceptual and practical skills are deemed important by academics and practitioners, and how can they be summarized, illustrated, and applied to course development and program assessment? We review the scholarship on conceptual and practical skills and visualize our analysis in an explanatory matrix. Then we place the conceptual and practical skills into instruments for use in assessing individual courses and inventorying program curricula in technical and professional communication. Finally, we apply the inventory instrument to the top or ³core² courses in technical and professional communication (Meloncon & Henschel 2013).

Keywords. Undergraduate curricula, course assessment, program assessment, conceptual skills, practical skills, professional expectations, workplace skills


Service Learning and Undergraduate Research in Technical Communication Programs

Kelli Cargile Cook, Texas Tech University

Abstract. Service learning, as an instructional approach, was introduced in technical communication literature in 1997. Since then, service learning has been touted for its client-based learning affordances, but few scholars have noted its value as a means to teach research methodology and reporting, especially in undergraduate programs. This article¹s purpose, therefore, is to showcase a relatively unremarked aspect of service learning: the integral role that research plays in it. To support this claim, the article reviews service learning literature in professional and technical communication and examines several case studies of current technical communication courses across the United States. Through these examples, the article demonstrates how service learning experiences build undergraduate students¹ research and communication skills while simultaneously providing valuable services to community organizations in need. The article concludes with strategies for integrating service learning and instruction in research methods into undergraduate technical communication programs.

Keywords: Service learning, undergraduate technical communication programs, pedagogy, research


Engaging Entrepreneurship in Technical Communication Using Client and Service-Learning Projects

Ryan Weber, University of Alabama in Huntsville

John Spartz, University of Wisconsin Parkside

Abstract. This article calls technical communication scholars and teachers to introduce entrepreneurship into their classrooms through client and service-learning projects, especially those built on a consultancy model. The growth of entrepreneurship education throughout the university provides tremendous opportunities and resources for technical communication; at the same time, entrepreneurship education cannot be complete without the skills, mindsets, and ethical considerations provided by technical communication pedagogy. By having students serve as rhetorical consultants in projects that add value to for-profit and nonprofit organizations, technical communication teachers can develop entrepreneurship-focused client and service-learning projects that benefit students, the university, client organizations, the community, and regional economic growth.

Keywords: action-learning, curriculum design, entrepreneurship education, pedagogy, program design, research, service-learning, technical communication


Program Showcase

Technical Communication at Missouri S&T: Challenges and Strategies

Edward A. Malone, Missouri University of Science and Technology

David Wright, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Elizabeth M. Roberson, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract . In this article, we provide an overview of technical communication programs at Missouri S&T. We describe our faculty and students and discuss the major challenges we have faced because of the newness of our degree programs, the small number of faculty and majors in our programs, and the institutional environment in which we operate. As a contribution to CPTSC's growing body of "program showcases," this article is intended to be another source of ideas, examples, and precedents (both positive and negative) for current and future program administrators.

Keywords. Missouri University of Science and Technology, technical communication programs, curriculum, challenges, strategies


Curriculum Showcase

Apparent Feminist Pedagogies: Interrogating Technical Rhetorics at Illinois State University

Erin Frost, East Carolina University

Abstract. This curriculum showcase introduces apparent feminist pedagogies and reports on their use in a technical rhetorics course at Illinois State University. I describe the exigence for apparent feminist pedagogies, which seek to recognize and make apparent to students the urgent and sometimes hidden need for feminist critique of technical texts, and I offer a theoretical rationale supporting apparent feminist pedagogies. Finally, I critically reflect on my own experience enacting one possible iteration of apparent feminist pedagogy in hopes that readers might see how such an approach can enhance the efficiency with which technical communicators (including instructors) reach diverse audiences.

Keywords: technical communication, apparent feminisms, course design, social justice, technical rhetorics, efficiency, objectivity, women, culture, resistance


Guest Editorial

Tracking Our Progress: Diversity in Technical and Professional Communication Programs

Natasha Jones, University of New Mexico

Gerald Savage, Illinois State University (Emeritus)

Han Yu, Kansas State University

Abstract: This editorial provides brief points of consideration about the status of diversity in Technical and Professional Communication (TPC) programs. It discusses what we mean by diversity and social justice and the goals of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication’s (CPTSC) Diversity Committee. It reviews some ways the considerations of diversity and social justice are taking shape in the field of technical and professional communication and in TPC programs and considers the future of diversity in the field and TPC programs.

Keywords: CPTSC, Diversity, Diversity Committee, Professional Communication Programs, Social Justice, Technical Communication Programs


Book Reviews

Herrington, TyAnna K. Intellectual Property on Campus: Students Rights and Responsibilities. Southern Illinois UP: Carbondale, 2010. 136 pages.

Adam Breckenridge, University of South Florida


Amare, Nicole, & Manning, Alan. A Unified Theory of Information Design: Visuals, Text and Ethics. Baywood: Amityville, NY, 2013. 215 pp

Karla Kitalong, Michigan Technological University