Re: TW and grad school (LONG)

Subject: Re: TW and grad school (LONG)
From: Dan Fierro <dfierro -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 22:32:21 -0500

Hi (dimorphic neutral usage) guys!

After a long absence ... I lurked ... I posted promised information ... I
bided my time.

As old Rafikki says in Disney's "The Lion King" -

"It is Time!"

When I first saw the "drivel" comment in conjunction with the concept of
education, I was sure it was posted in error. So I ignored it.

Then I read the following snippet:

>>questions about education for tech writers are never "drivel" >--
especially on a list for tech writers! Yet there appears to >be a vocal few
on this list who are paranoid about any >discussion of
education/certification issues.>>

Followed by a long discourse.

I will respond point-by-point. I mean no disrespect to the writer. I
believe we all have the inalienable right to express our opinion.

Here is mine.

>I hope that I'm not among the paranoid, but I think that both education
and certification are full of potential problems.>

I'm sorry. But the lack of education and certification poses a much
greater threat to any field, or society, than the presence of it. (This is
just warm-up.)

>One problem in education is the speed at which the field is moving. For
example, I know of at least one program in which students are still
being taught to think of paper and on-line manuals as different,
although the real issue for many working writers is how to single-source
both types of manuals.>

All technical fields are moving extremely rapidly these days. The curve of
knowledge is expanding exponentially. The difference between what my
grandparents believed about their time span continuum and what my
grandchildren will believe about theirs, well, boggles the mind.

The concept of "single-source" to me is merely a blip on the screen.

>Another is the administration and organization of new programs. Often,
traditional educators don't have much understanding or appreciation of
technical communication. On the other hand, many technical communicators
aren't teachers. And the whole idea of a partnership between academia
and business is distasteful to a good many people, if only for the quis
custodiet question: that is, how do the academics judge the standards
set by the business people, and guard against things like nepotism?>

I consider myself to be a lucky person. Of course luck has two faces, but
that is another story.

Anyway, I had the GOOD fortune to have many "traditional educators" at
Southern Polytechnic State University (Southern Tech in Marietta, Georgia).
These educators not only had "much understanding or appreciation of
technical communication" but are, or were, active in the field and are
active in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) as well.

I won't drop names (as much as I would like to give credit to these fine
academians), but I will list some of their accomplishments.

One of my teachers is a past president of STC at the international level
and still active at the international level, as well as the vice-president
of a Midwestern company.

Another Southern Poly staff member is the founder of the local STC chapter
and helps industry standard publications get published at the STC
international level.

Another teacher who I will always hold in highest esteem is busy at the
local and international levels of the STC.

My thesis advisor implemented the International Technical Communication
program at my school.

I had one teacher who spent hours of class time imparting his real-time
work experience for the benefit of his students.

I had the opportunity to lecture on my Master's thesis topic. I know that
doesn't make me a teacher, but it did give THIS technical communicator the
opportunity to share the fruits of his quest for knowledge.

I often talk about my professional career and my academic career. I see
them as complimentary, not adverse. I intend to pursue my Ph.D. I also
intend to broaden the scope of my professional career, wherever that may
take me. But I am sure that the knowledge I garner from both careers will
help me grow not only as a technical communicator, but also as a person.

>Not that these concerns can't be deal with. But they are certainly worth
raising. A little creative paranoia beforehand can save you time later.>

Creative paranoia - hmmm - oxymoronic?

Dan Fierro

____________________________________________
_
_ Give a man a fish and he will eat the fish.
_ Teach a man to fish - and he will eat all the fish.
_ Copyright 1998 by DSF Publishing
_ http://home.att.net/~dfierro
_ Words for Sale (TM)
_ dfierro -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net
_____________________________________________




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