This anthology brings together voices from industry and academia in a call for elevating the status, identity, value, and influence of technical communicators. Editors Barbara Mirel and Rachel Spilka assert that technical communicators must depart from their traditional roles, moving instead in a more influential and expansive direction. To help readers explore the possibilities, contributions from innovative thinkers and leaders in technical communication propose ways to redefine the field's identity and purposes and to expand the parameters of its work.
The chapters included here all point toward new directions for greater growth and influence of the field. Contributors depart from traditional ideas and solutions and discuss new and in some cases radical points, provoking further thought and discussion. Its exploration of fresh territory uncovers new research topics and directions, and provides an examination of both internal, industry-academia relationships and external relationships between technical communicators and other professionals. In its entirety, this collection represents an inclusive vision for the future, targeting such wide-ranging issues as creating effective professional organizations, disseminating research to diverse audiences, transitioning to more influential job roles, exerting leadership in usability, and creating hybrid identities and collaborative programs between industry and academic to support them.
The diverse voices from industry and academia will inspire readers to think differently about the discipline's identity and direction, and to build on the ideas they find herein to effect change within their own spheres. As required reading for academics and professionals in technical communication, this collection is a critical step in reshaping and reinvigorating the technical communication field to ensure its survival and growth in the 21st century.
"Many thanks to Mirel and Spilka--and to the authors represented in their volume--for an enlightening and fascinating look into the future of technical communication. They provide an experience in which both academics and practitioners can find though-provoking data to help them shape the direction and grasp the challenges that face technical communication in the 21st century."
"Reshaping Technical Communication: New Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century provides us with insights on many aspects of the past, present, and future relationship between academia and industry and sparks a very interesting discussion of future trends for technical communicators."
From the Foreword
Contents: J. Redish, Foreword. Preface. Introduction. Part I: Revising Industry and Academia: Cultures and Relationships. R.S. Dicks, Cultural Impediments to Understanding: Are They Surmountable? D. Bosley, Jumping off the Ivory Tower: Changing the Academic Perspective. A.M. Blakeslee, Researching a Common Ground: Exploring the Space Where Academic and Workplace Cultures Meet. A. Paré, Keeping Writing in Its Place: A Participatory Action Approach to Workplace Communication. S.A. Bernhardt, Active-Practice: Creating Productive Tension Between Academia and Industry. Part II: Re-Envisioning the Profession. R. Spilka, Becoming a Profession. K. Schriver, Taking Our Stakeholders Seriously: Re-Imagining the Dissemination of Research in Information Design. B. Faber, J. Johnson-Eilola, Migrations: Strategic Thinking About the Future(s) of Technical Communication. L. Anschuetz, S. Rosenbaum, Expanding Roles for Technical Communicators. B. Mirel, Advancing a Vision of Usability. R. Borland, Tales of Brave Ulysses. Appendix: Proposed Research Agenda for Technical Communication.