Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 5 Oct 1997 to 6 Oct 1997

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 5 Oct 1997 to 6 Oct 1997
From: Antony Gian Ascione <aga22 -at- DUNX1 -dot- OCS -dot- DREXEL -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 13:19:54 -0400

As per the request of Carol Chubiz of Ljubljana, Slovenia, I have a few

1) If it's a "Technical Writing" profession you want, a declaration of
the profession's existence the first step. If you take the initiative,
the authority will follow.

2) Examine existing programs. Not surprisingly, I recommend Drexel
University's, Technical and Science Communication Program. Be comprehensive
in your scrutiny.

3) To sustain your new profession, start with creating a program in
Technical Writing in whichever university department deals with language
and writing. To do that, you must

A) State your new program's goals (be as specific as possible),
What are the goals of Industry? of the professional? Why is there a need
for Technical Writers? What are the needs of the university? Students?

B) Examine the courses that already exist to help you achieve
those goals. I recommend you look for courses in Communication Theory,
Rhetoric, and Computer Literacy in addition to the obvious writing
courses. List any necessary courses that your university does
NOT offer.

C) Approach those professors who teach those courses with your
desire to include their course in your program. Make the necessary
revisions based on their input.

D) Approach the appropriate university administrators with your
proposal. If you can assemble a program from existing courses, the cost
will be significantly less than if new professors need to be hired, etc.

E) If possible, since you are already a professional working
in the field, create a way to have your students perform real work in
the field (an unpaid internship program benefits everyone).

If the program is popular, then you can think about a separate
department. But for now, keep it small and as multidisciplinary as
possible. Students love that. They also love the prospect of being
employable upon graduating. Stress that and you will not fail. You may
know the pleasure of providing the template Tech. Writing program for other
universities in Slovenia.

NOTE: if a university program is impossible, form a union of
professionals and figure out alternative ways to increase your numbers.

Good luck. I hope this helps you organize your thoughts.

Gian Ascione, Master's Candidate
Technical and Science Communication
Department of Humanities
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA. 19046

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