Schools list--Comprehensive as of today

Subject: Schools list--Comprehensive as of today
From: David Hailey <FAHAILEY -at- WPO -dot- HASS -dot- USU -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 1996 14:27:31 -0600

The following is an alphabetical listing of 12 schools
recommended by the members of this group--so far. Surely
there are more?

As you can see, I used the snips provided by the

Carnegie Mellon
*I attended Carnegie Mellon's tech writing program.
my opinion is slanted, but for what it's worth, I thought it
was excellent. The program was making a lot of (positive)
changes when I left. David
Kaufer, who runs the program, is very in tune with the needs
of the
students and the need to provide them with "real world"
situations. The
curriculum is tightly coupled with CMU's engineering
department -- there
are a number of opportunities for tech writers to attend
project classes and provide the documentation for sw/hw
projects (for real clients). The software engineering
department was particularly interested in tech writing
developments when I was there -- one of the professors
encouraged hypertext documentation, multimedia
presentations, and was dabbling in the idea of literate
computing. (I believe his fantasy was to make tech writers
obsolete through technology, but he enabled students to work
on innovative projects while moving toward this goal.) *

Eastern Washington University
*Across the state, an undiscovered gem,
Eastern Washington University offers a B.A. in Technical
that is far more technical than is the UW B.S.*

Metropolitan State College of Denver
(Colorado) has a full department of
Technical Communications. It offers a BA in three areas of
Technical Writing and Editing, Industrial Communications,
and Technical
Media. In addition it offers cognate courses in
International Technical
Communication. In the area of Technical Media, its current
emphasis is in
producing multimedia presentations for the high tech
industries. Our
graduates have been very well received by industry both in
their initial
employment and through promotions within the corporations
they served.

Michigan Tech
*Highly theoretical, a well respected Ph.D. I can't address
their undergrad program.*

Milwaukee School of Engineering
(MSOE) has a technical communication program. You can get a
B.A. or B.S. Most of the tech writers I know that have
graduated from MSOE have excellent skills.

New Mexico Tech
*I'd like to put in a good word for New Mexico
Tech's undergraduate program in Technical Communication. It
isn't as
flashy as all the multimedia programs you mention, but it
does focus
on how to write. Also, because the degree is a BS, all
students must fulfill the basic science requirements
(something in each field) as well as taking a minor in one,
or 4 science classes over the sophomore level. All the
professors have worked as technical communicators, and there
is an even balance between theorists and more hands-on
sorts. Students
must complete an internship and do research in order to
finish their
degree.* Two strong votes for this school. ( I can't leave
my opinion out of this. This is the one I would go to for
my undrgrad degree if I didn't go to USU. I was remiss in
not mentioning it the first time--I was thinking advanced
degrees. Dave Hailey)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
*Basically an Engineering school, but has a Tech Writing
program with a BS and an MS in Technical Communication and a
PhD in Communication that a lot of times ends up addressing
a TC topic. I will not venture to comment on how good/bad
the program is, being fresh out of there and not having
exposure to other programs.*

More on Rensselaer
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's program in Technical
Communication is
pretty damn good and has a wonderful reputation with
Several of the faculty members are outstanding, and they are
interested in seeing that you learn and get a decent job.
Writing and
interface design curricula are pretty strong (the intro
Writing and Editing
class is great, but they need more tech-writing courses).
The graphics
curriculum is weak: even though RPI offers a Graphics
which I'll receive when I graduate, there's no full-time
graphics professor
as of yet. You can, however, take courses in Director,
computer art,
and the like outside the department and have them count
toward the
Graphics Certificate.

The program can be completed in one year (best to take a
year and a
half, though). Tuition is unfortunately high and computer
resources are
not as good as they could be (at least not when I was there
last fall &
spring). Tuition scholarships are the norm rather than the
exception, but
most of them are pretty small. However, there are STC
scholarships to
be applied for as well. Two people in our department got
scholarships this past spring.

All in all, however, I landed a (good) job in software
development pretty
easily and, guess what, I actually have a good grasp of what
I'm doing.
This summer, new M.S. grads went to (inter alia): IBM
(internship), NCR,
BellCore (internship). IBM _loves_ RPI grads. Too bad the
expensive law school I attended didn't educate me as well.
Oh well...

For more info:
3 votes so far.

San Francisco State University
*I don't know exactly how I would classify the B.A. program
at San
Francisco State University, in comparison with your
classifications, as
it is the only technical writing program with which I have
acquainted. However, I can say that it is a strong program
that attempts
to turn out students that have a well-rounded education. All
of the
teachers are working professionals. The coordinator is
wonderful, answering all sorts of questions via the many
contacts she has and maintains in the field.*

Texas Tech
*One of the top three multimedia technical writing programs
in the country. Strongly theoretical. I would go there for
my MA and Ph.D. if I intended to teach.* I would go
elsewhere for professional skills.

University of Washington
*A direct line to Microsoft and the other Washington
software developers
also Japanese technical writing language program.* (This
school is the only one to have dissenters--two--Both
complained that the school would not let students take
related technical courses.)

Utah State University BS, MS.
The top multimedia technical writing program (imho) in the
country. Strictly professional. Examines the evolution of
the profession and
adapts classes to fit. All TW faculty are working pros.
Students graduate into $30-40K/year jobs for Novell, Allen
Communications, Micron, etc. _All_ students get jobs.
Grad school is specifically designed to enhance the
credentials of working professionals.

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
Canada's most highly reputed technical communications

Interesting, I think, that we have such varied definitions
of excellent
technical writing programs.

Hope you find this useful. And keep sending
stuff--privately if you fear crowding the system

Dave Hailey

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