Re: Tech writing, publicity in US

Subject: Re: Tech writing, publicity in US
From: Cheryl L Towler <towl0005 -at- GOLD -dot- TC -dot- UMN -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 09:53:55 -0500

I am a student in the "Scientific and Technical Communication" (STC)
degree program at the University of Minnesota. The first problem you can
see -- our degree program as the same abbreviation as the Society for Technical

The second problem is that most people don't know what "Scientific and
Technical Communication" is. When people ask me what my degree program
is I put on a big grin and say "Scientific and Technical Communication."
Then I sit back and wait for a reaction. Most people just look
confused. Then I tell them that I the name of the degree program is an
excellent example for explaining my profession: "My job is to translate
terms like 'Scientific and Technical Communication' into terms
the general public understands." I also tell them that my
profession is best known for writing computer manuals -- at which point
they nod with understanding and then groan.

Yes, we have a bad reputation.

Wouldn't "Scientific Author" and "Technical Author" be better terms for
our profession? I'm going to start telling people that I am a Technical
Author-in-Training to see if they understand better. What do you think?

<>Scientific and Technical Communication junior <>
<>University of Minnesota College of Agriculture<>
<> Department of Rhetoric <>

As you might imagine, I also have to explain why I'm at the College of

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