Re: was tech wrtg skills, now teaching

Subject: Re: was tech wrtg skills, now teaching
From: Kathryn Summers <SUMMERS -at- GAMMA -dot- IS -dot- TCU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 10:18:00 -0600

Hello, everybody.

I'm finishing up a Ph.D. this spring and I've been lurking on your list for
several weeks trying to glean information for an upcoming job interview. It
has rather belatedly occurred to me that I might get even more help if I ask
for it outright.

Here's the situation. I'm interviewing next week for a job teaching tech
writing (and putting together a campus-wide communications program) at a small
but very fine engineering school. My soon-to-be-granted PhD
is in rhetoric, I have about 2 yrs experience doing tech writing for IBM, and a
bachelor's degree in science (mostly computers, some math & physics, all mostly
forgotten at this point). I'm supposed to give a presentation to both
technical and humanities faculty on the following topic: "What communication
skills will ______ graduates need most in the workplace and what strategies are
most effective in teaching those skills?"

Since I've been locked away in the ivoryiest of towers for four years, I wanted
to check in with the real world. As you can all imagine, my two audiences have
very different priorities--the humanities folk want me to sound scholarly and
theoretical, while the technical folk want proof that I can relate to the
"real" world. Since it's a job interview, I need to address the real world as
it is right now, plus I need to be able to say some exciting things about
future challenges to technical communicators. The ones most obvious to me
right now are things like learning to use multi-media. I'm also curious about
the growing importance of gender theory on the premises of technical writing,
and the implications of an international audience for technical communication.

I've been following the discussion of tech writing skills with great interest,
and would appreciate any suggestions or responses that you might have for my
particular task.

Thanks again.
Kathryn Summers
Texas Christian University
summers -at- gamma -dot- is -dot- tcu -dot- edu

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