Status of the Academic SIG

The Academic SIG is now an STC Community of Interest. This is a group of people who share an interest and may want to share information and ask questions about that interest on a Slack channel.

If you would like to join the STC Academic SIG Slack channel, please join the STC Slack Workspace and the #sig-academic channel. For information on how to join, please visit STC’s Slack page.

The mission of the Academic SIG remains the same. The STC Academic SIG is a community of educators, practitioners, and students. We mentor young professionals to become future leaders in the field of technical communication and support the exchange of knowledge between academia and industry.

Periodically members of the SIG whose names are on the membership list maintained by STC are being invited to join the Slack channel and the Facebook group, and to contact SIG facilitator Carolyn Luttrell to volunteer for any new initiatives in the Academic SIG. Both Carolyn and Ann Wiley are working with the IDL SIG to reach out to STC students.

This site is being updated as an archive of the work of the Academic SIG. Posts about past events have been saved as drafts, and out-of-date pages are being saved as drafts also. If you are looking for information about past SIG activities, or have other questions, please contact the Academic SIG Community of Interest leadership team.

State of the SIG

By Pam Estes Brewer, SIG Manager

The Academic SIG is flourishing! When I think about where we have come in the last three years, I am amazed. Even more amazing is that we have fun doing it. Here are just a few highlights from the past year. We have:

  • Launched an electronic newsletter.
  • Offered the Academic SIG Partnership Pre-Conference for a fourth year to an audience of 70+ technical communication professionals, educators, and students. The 2014 pre-conference was held 25 September in Colorado Springs. It ran back to back with CPTSC and ACM SIGDOC—three conferences together.
  • Launched the third annual Student Poster Competition for the STC Summit, complete with great prizes and incentives (besides the incredible opportunity to network).
  • Welcomed a new Assistant Manager for the SIG, Dr. Lisa Meloncon. This is the result of our first annual election.
  • Supported the regeneration of the STC Body of Knowledge.
  • Piloted a MentorBoard for students and academics.
  • Coordinated efforts with the STC Board that have resulted in all student members’ receiving a complimentary membership to the SIG with their Society membership. We want to be the welcoming point for students.
  • Seen our members win a number of research and teaching awards including the Frank R. Smith and Gould awards.

In the coming year, we plan to expand our efforts to:

  • Establish a research grant or scholarship and pursue funding to enrich these offerings.
  • Offer webinars of interest to students and educators.
  • Pursue a rejuvenated Academic Programs database.
  • Build a critical mass for the MentorBoard.
  • Build our presence in social media.
  • Make sure that our membership receives excellent opportunities that support them professionally.

I want to place exclamation points everywhere because we are doing outstanding work and making connections for our membership. And for the first time, we have talented people just waiting for opportunities to contribute to our initiatives.

The STC Academic SIG is the place to be. We want you to be a part of our mission:

The STC Academic SIG is a community of educators, practitioners, and students. We mentor young professionals to become future leaders in the field of technical communication and support the exchange of knowledge between academia and industry.

Congratulations to Our Members!

The Academic SIG is proud to announce a number of honors to be bestowed on our members at the upcoming Summit.

  • Sally Henschel and Lisa Meloncon for the Frank R. Smith Outstanding Article Award for their article “Current State of U.S. Undergraduate Degree Programs in Technical and Professional Communication.”
  • Pam Estes Brewer for the Jay R. Gould award for excellence in teaching.
  • Kirk St.Amant for his election to Fellow of the STC, and Cindy Pao for her election to Associate Fellow of the STC.
  • Craig Baehr for the Distinguished SIG Service Award.

Congratulations on your well-deserved honors!

The Academic SIG is also proud to announce it has earned two honors to be presented at The Summit: Community of Excellence (third year in a row), and sharing the Pacesetter award with the Orlando-Central Florida and Willamette Valley chapters for their partnership with the Sigma Tau Delta Society.

The Academic SIG is always pleased to announce news of its members’ accomplishments.

STC Academic SIG Strategic Plan for 2013

The STC Academic SIG is a community of educators, practitioners, and students. We mentor young professionals to become future leaders in the field of technical communication and support the exchange of knowledge between academia and industry. In order to accomplish these goals, we have adopted the following strategic plan for 2013:

  • Support student priorities and participation in STC through
    • hosting the student poster competition and aligning the judging of that competition with the STC International Summit Awards Entry Assessment
    • participating in the development of a mentoring program and database
    • supporting cross-organizational collaborations
    • offering student-centered webinars
    • serving as leaders in STC society-level student initiatives
  • Serve as leaders in the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge initiative
  • Increase our visibility and contributions to STC and the field of technical communication through STC publications
  • Encourage dialog between practitioners, educators, and students by hosting the STC Academic Partnership Pre-Conference
  • Offer webinars that support the interests of the SIG membership

A Message from Our SIG Manager

Dear Colleagues—

I just returned from STC Summit 2013 in Atlanta. It was a wonderful experience. I learned about the latest trends in technical communication so that I can bring them back to my students, and I networked with many people (educators and practitioners) who are interested in preparing students to become excellent practitioners.

We saw a definite upsurge in interest in student members, which was punctuated by the entire STC Board of Directors attending the student poster competition. We announced the launch of the new Mentorboard. And, we celebrated with the members and friends of our SIG who were award winners this year. Let me share just a few of those honors with you:

  • For the second year, the Academic SIG was recognized as an STC Community of Excellence
  • Craig Baehr, Texas Tech University and a member of the SIG Administrative Council, was named an Associate Fellow
  • Bethany Bowles, University of Central Florida, received an Academic SIG Volunteer of the Year award for her work with student mentoring
  • Samantha Gale, Appalachian State University, won first place in the student poster competition
  • Sally Henschel and Carol Anne Wall, members of the SIG Administrative Council, received Distinguished SIG Service Awards
  • Mak Pandit, Technowrites Pvt. Ltd., India, was named an Associate Fellow
  • Kirk St.Amant, East Carolina University, was honored with the Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Dan Voss, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, won both a President’s Award and an Academic SIG Volunteer of the Year award for his work with student mentoring

I send sincere congratulations to these and other award winners. In addition, STC inducted four new students into the honor society Sigma Tau Delta. It was a good year! Please join our winning team in the work of creating another year of support for educating the technical communication professionals of tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Pam Estes Brewer, Ph.D., Manager, Academic SIG

Notes from The Summit

By Carol Anne Wall, Communication Manager

It’s been a couple weeks since I returned from The Summit in Chicago, and my head is still spinning. When it stops spinning, I hope all the information, names/faces, and memories are sorted neatly in my brain. Here are some of the Academic highlights, from my point of view.

Education Progression and SIG meeting

Monday was a big day for the Academic SIG. Bright and early at 8:30 am, the Education progression kicked into high gear, with 20 minute sessions on:

The Academic SIG meeting included a lovely light lunch, camaraderie, and updates from the SIG leadership. Items that created the most buzz were the Academic SIG taking leadership on the TCBOK and the student initiatives, such as the student sub-SIG and student participation at The Summit.

Student Poster Contest

The Student Poster Contest broke new ground with The Summit’s first-ever virtual student poster presentation. Heather Kfoury, a graduate student at the University of Houston-Downtown, presented “Have a Very Merry Recession: A Rhetorical and Ethical Analysis of a Corporate Holiday Card during the Recession”.

The First Place poster “Social Media Marketing for Technical Communication Professionals” was presented by Adaline Haseltine and Samantha Gale, undergraduate students at Appalachian State University.

Communities Reception and Music Jam

The Academic SIG wrangled at table near the entrance, between the Chicago chapter and the Marketing SIG, sharing our table with the Emerging Technologies SIG. Reception passports were cheerfully stamped with an “A”, sometimes an “A+” or even an “AA”. We spread the word about our SIG, passed out pens and brochures, and basically had a good time promoting the Academic SIG.

The best of the evening was yet to come, when the lights went down in the hall, and up on the stage to greet the return of The Rough Drafts, the STC’s house band. Anchored by original members, Tommy Barker on lead guitar and Rich Maggiani on the drums, they welcomed newcomers Viqui Dill and Robert Hershenow to the group.

A set list was published, and audience members were encouraged to sign-up before the show to jam with the band.

Honors Banquet

After a full day of sessions on Tuesday, it was time to recognize individuals, chapters, and SIGs for their contributions to the larger STC Community.

Our SIG Manager, Pam Estes Brewer was named an Associate Fellow of the STC. Her citation read: “For passionately supporting communication between those who practice and those who teach in the field of technical communication, and for promoting global communication to students of technical writing”. Congratulations, Pam!

The Academic SIG was named a 2011 Community of Excellence. Please see the story at

Thank yous

Thanks to STC Chicago for hosting The Summit, and to the Program Committee for putting together a great educational experience. Thanks as well to all the speakers, whether they did solo presentations, spoke on or coordinated a panel, progression, or lightning talks. Without your willingness to share your expertise and “put yourself out there”, The Summit couldn’t happen.

Kudos to Sally Henschel and Valerie Ball, for their work coordinating the organizational, technical and judging responsibilities for the student poster presentation.

A hearty and heart-felt thank you to Lloyd at the STC HQ for making the arrangements for the virtual poster presentation and for setting up the student volunteer program. The student volunteers work at the Summit for a day, in exchange for their registration fee for The Summit. It was great seeing all the students and feeling their enthusiasm for our profession.

Now it’s time for me to start up my Summit ’13 spare change jar so I can attend next year’s Summit in Atlanta. Hope to see you there!

Partnership Pre-Conference Discussed in Intercom Article

The Academic SIG leadership team discusses the processes of putting together the Partnerships for Professionalism Pre-Conference workshop at last Fall’s CPTSC conference in the January issue of Intercom,”STC Academic SIG Hosts Partnership Preconference at CPTSC”.

The article includes the lessons learned by the Academic SIG as they developed their first ever-preconference, and the logistics of using a hybrid presentation format.

Bakke Webinar Follow-up and Slides

Dr. Ken Baake of Texas Tech University presented “The Rhetoric of Science and How Metaphor Constitutes Knowledge in Science” at our first co-hosted Webinar on 23 February 2012. The presentation had nearly 35 participants with lively participation and questions after the main presentation by Dr. Baake. In attendance were members from both the Academic and SciCom SIGs which included both industry and academic professionals.

Thanks very much to Dr. Baake, members of the Academic and SciCom SIG leadership, and to the participants who attended. We look forward to hosing the next event and welcome any comments or suggestions.

If you were not able to attend the session, you can still view the slides from the following link.
Baake Presentation Slides

Academic SIG Earns Community of Excellence Award

The Society for Technical Communication has notified the Academic SIG leadership that the Academic SIG has earned the Community of Excellence Award for 2011. The SIG will be recognized during the Leadership Day event on Sunday, May 20,2012 at the Summit in Rosemont, Illinois.

The award honors the Academic SIG for “developing innovative activities that build bridges between those who practice in the field of technical communication and those who teach and study in the field.”(award citation)
Some of those activities included:

  • Partnerships for Professionalism workshop at the CPTSC.
  • Co-hosting “The Rhetoric of Science and How Metaphor Constitutes Knowledge in Science” with the SciCom SIG.

In her email to the SIG membership, announcing the award, SIG President Pam Brewer stated: “I just want to say thank you to our many SIG members who have worked so hard this year… We have an extraordinary leadership team that gets things done (and they are fun to work with).”

If you’d like to become more involved in the work of the Academic SIG contact any member of the SIG leadership.