Panel Presentation at IPCC

Subject: Panel Presentation at IPCC
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 14:13:52 -0500

Tech Writers:

Tina Cipolla (also a list member) and I are in the process of preparing
a proposal for a panel presentation at the 1997 IPCC. This year's theme
is "Crossroads in Communication." We are hoping to put together a panel
presentation about the types of skills and knowledge English majors,
especially former graduate students, need to make a successful
transition into technical writing.

Our third potential panelist had to drop out for work-related reasons
and we are hoping to find a replacement. If you are a working as a tech
writer, especially if you are former literature grad student, and would
be interested in co-presenting with us, please contact me ASAP. The
deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 14 and we need to finalize our
proposal. The conference will be in Utah in October. For more
information about the conference, visit:

Following is a draft of our proposal:

Mark Johnson recently published a paper in the MLA journal, Profession
'96, detailing his transition from academia to technical writing.
Melissa Lowery's current research project, influenced by Johnson's work,
involves polling technical writers with literature degrees about which
particular skills they wish they had learned in graduate school in order
to better prepare them for a career in technical writing. Tina Cipolla
and Mark Johnson participated in her online research survey. The
resulting e-mail exchanges provided the foundation for this panel

All proposed panelists have common educational backgrounds in
literature. They vary in the level of education reached, but each has
successfully made the transition to technical writing. Their proposed
panel discussion will address the topic, "What skills beyond an English
or communication degree does the technical communicator need?" The
panelists have unique insight into the particular skills potential
technical writers need beyond what is taught in the English curriculums
of their respective programs. During this panel discussion, the
presenters hope not only to share their collective knowledge, but to
expand it as well during the interactive question-and-answer session
following the presentations.

Although the presenters come from literature backgrounds and work in
positions with the title "technical writer," they attended different
types of universities, completed different amounts of graduate
coursework. They now work in different sized companies, at varying
levels of responsibility, in different regions of the United States.
This diversity of experience will provide a balanced and informative
perspective on the various paths former literature students can and do
take in the process of becoming technical writers.

All panelists will describe their educational backgrounds, how they
found out about technical writing, what made them pursue it as a career,
why they believe they succeeded, and what skills they wish they had
learned before starting their first jobs.

Melissa Lowery
mlowery -at- scana -dot- com

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