Re: degree programs

Subject: Re: degree programs
From: Stuart Selber <sselber -at- MTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1993 21:03:48 -0400

On Monday Aug 23 Paul Trummel wrote:

>The RPI program contains virtually no elements that relate to technical
>communication and most of the faculty have no qualifications or experience in
>the field. If potential students will carefully examine this program then they
>will probably discover the faculty corruption, substance abuse, and
>academic fraud that I have found to exist. Such an appraisal will provide
>them with a true understanding of the program and give them the
>opportunity to make an informed decision on whether to participate.

Paul's comment clearly reflects a challenge facing those of us interested
in technical communication and in technical communication pedagogy. How do
we decide what constitutes appropriate instruction for students, and from
what fields do we draw when framing this instruction? I've always felt that
interdisciplinary work is important, particularly for students to learn a
technical specialty such as computer science or biology. But even within
the humanities there seems to be a wide range of work particularly useful
to professional writers (rhetoric; composition/writing; critical/social
theories; educational theory--to name a few). In fact, I've often wondered
what technical communicators can claim as *their own.* In other words, what
are the boundaries between technical communication and, say, rhetoric, for
example. I wonder if Paul might be willing to talk a bit more about the
"elements" in RPI's progam that don't relate or are not useful to technical
communication. Although I know little about the program there, I have a
hard time imagining that a background in rhetorical theory, their general
focus, would not be at least somewhat useful to technical communicators.


Stuart A. Selber
Department of Humanities email: sselber -at- mtu -dot- edu
Michigan Technological University phone: 906-487-3252
Houghton, MI 49931 fax: 906-487-3347

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