Academia/Industry Workshop:
Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders and Innovators in Technical Communication

Presentation Abstract

Join us for a structured, interactive discussion focused on what it means to be a technical communicator today and how best to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in the changing profession of technical communication (TC).

This workshop is one in a series being conducted as part of a multi-staged project intended to gather data that will help the field of TC understand how best to prepare undergraduate students to practice and research at the what we call the “engineering level” of the profession. This level requires skills in abstraction, systems thinking, computational thinking, and business analysis in addition to more traditional humanities-based skills in rhetorical analysis, writing, and information design.

The workshop is guided by the following question:

  • What can industry leaders contribute to the development of curriculum that prepares students to be leaders and innovators in the changing profession of technical communication?

Participants will have the opportunity to dialogue about changing roles and hiring needs and how their organizations are addressing these. They will also have the opportunity to contribute ideas for how TC education might be re-envisioned so to better prepare students for entry-level TC jobs and future leadership roles. Workshop presenters will share with participants all publications that result from this project.

There are a couple things you should know about the workshop:

  • You will be asked to sign a research consent form so we can use your opinions and input in related publications and presentations. All participants will remain anonymous in those reports. You can withdraw at any time or decline to sign the consent form.
  • We will give you microphones to capture small-group conversation. Please bring a laptop of tablet if you can to take notes and record conversations.

Meet the Presenters

Rebekka Andersen is an associate professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses in professional and technical communication and digital literacy. She serves on the CIDM Advisory Council, on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and on the review board of several journals in the field of technical communication. Her research focuses on the diffusion of content management methodologies and technologies in information development teams and on building stronger connections between academia and industry.

Carlos Evia is an associate professor and director of Professional and Technical Writing at Virginia Tech, where he also conducts research for the Centers in Human-Computer Interaction and Occupational Safety and Health. He is also a member of the DITA Technical Committee and co-chair (with Michael Priestley) of the Lightweight DITA subcommittee.

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