Lean Technical Communication: Toward Sustainable Program Innovation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lean Technical Communication

Toward Sustainable Program Innovation, 1st Edition

By Meredith A. Johnson, W. Michele Simmons, Patricia Sullivan


156 pages

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Lean Technical Communication: Toward Sustainable Program Innovation offers a theoretically and empirically-grounded model for growing and stewarding professional and technical communication programs under diverse conditions. Through case studies of disruptive innovations, this book presents a forward-looking, sustainable vision of program administration that negotiates short-term resource deficits with long-term resilience. It illustrates how to meet many of the newest challenges facing technical communication programs, such as building and maintaining change with limited resources, economic shortfalls, technology deficits, and expanding/reimagining the role of our programs in the 21st century university. Its insights benefit those involved in the development of undergraduate and graduate programs, including majors, service courses, minors, specializations, and certificates.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Part One

Chapter 1: Toward Sustainable Program Innovation

    • Terms Key to Our Inquiry into Programmatic Work: Disruption, Resilience, Sustainability, and Innovation
      • Disruption
      • Resilience and Sustainability
      • Innovation

    • On Modeling a Lean Technical Communication Program: The Book’s Plan

Chapter 2: A Model of Lean Technical Communication

    • Seven Tenets of Lean Technical Communication
      • Value not Deficit
      • Innovates and Disrupts
      • Rooted in Local Needs and Aims at Social Responsibility
      • Regulates Cost
      • Engages Sustainability
      • Promotes Efficiency
      • Enhances Visibility

    • Tenets and Tensions: Four Continuums that Frame Programmatic Practices
      • Standardization/Flexibility
      • Discipline/Department
      • Global/Local
      • Dependency/Autonomy

Chapter 3: On Crafting Lean Change that Endures

    • Relationships and Pathways for Lean Programmatic Work
      • Boundary Work as Making
      • Stewardship as Maintaining

    • Expand or Face Cuts: A Hypothetical Scenario
      • Narrative
      • Analysis: Lean Goals and Pathways at Work in the Video Option

    • Heuristics for Enacting, Maintaining, and Assessing Lean Change

Figure: The Big Picture—Connecting Tenets, Tensions, Phases, and Cases

Part Two

Chapter 4: Program Classifications. Standards, and Funding Models—An On-the-Ground Case

    • Florida’s Performance Based Funding Infrastructure
    • Classifications and Standards as Sites of Resistance
    • Boundary Objects in the Florida Funding Ecology
      • Programs of Strategic Emphasis

    • Critical Interventions Through Boundary Objects
      • Lean Futures

Chapter 5: Program Facilities and Sustainable Computing Infrastructures—An On-the-Ground Case

    • Environmental Impacts of IT
    • Sustainable Computing Infrastructure as Boundary Infrastructure

      • Standardization/Flexibility
      • Dependency/Autonomy
      • Discipline/Department
      • Global/Local

    • Lean Futures

    • Assessing Lean Facilities

Chapter 6: Developing Lean and Sustainable Pedagogy for Sustainable Communities—An On-the-Ground Case

    • Planning Community-Based Projects: Intersecting Considerations for Sustainable Pedagogy
    • Lean and Sustainable Pedagogy in the Technical Communication Classroom: Two Projects

    • Project 1: Writing for the Public
    • Project 2: Usability and UX
    • Talking Assessment

    • Conclusion: Implications of Lean and Sustainable Pedagogies

Chapter 7: By Way of a Conclusion: Toward A Lean and Sustainable Future

    • Goals of Lean Technical Communication
    • Lean Innovation and Emerging Technologies

      Lean Curricular Structures

    • Lean Sustainability
    • Concluding Thoughts

Reference List

About the Authors

Meredith A. Johnson is Associate Professor and Director of the graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of South Florida where she previously served as the interim director of Professional Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Purdue University. Her research appears in journals such as Technical Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition: An International Journal, Computers and Composition Online, IEEE: Transactions on Professional Communication, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, and enculturation.

W. Michele Simmons is Associate Professor of English, faculty affiliate with the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, and Director of Professional Writing at Miami University. Her research lies at the intersections of civic engagement, research methodologies, user experience, and institutional change. Her publications include Participation and Power: Civic Discourse in Environmental Policy and her research appears in journals such as Technical Communication Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, and The Writing Instructor.

Patricia Sullivan is a Professor and Director of the graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University where she previously directed Technical Writing. Recently she has published on emerging technologies, institutional change, mentoring, research methodologies, rhetorical theory, video, and usability/UX.

About the Series

ATTW Series in Technical and Professional Communication

The ATTW Series in Technical and Professional Communication publishes interesting and useful work in a wide range of topics related to technical and professional communication (TPC), including but not limited to the following: assessment of TPC programs, content management systems, globalization of TPC, human-computer interaction, intercultural communication, health-care and medical communication, pedagogy of TPC, publication management, risk and crisis communication, service learning in TPC, technical and professional editing, translation of TPC, usability/user-experience and accessibility studies, visual communication, and web design and development.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Media & Communications Industries
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies