A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Rentz, Kathryn

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Adventures in Collaboration: The Story of an STC Faculty Internship   (PDF)

Rentz relates the lessons she learned as an academic who contributed to a writing project for a private company.

Rentz, Kathryn. Intercom (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Industry and Academy


Designing a Successful Group-Report Experience   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Report assignments and collaborative assignments can both be fraught with risk. Report projects, if notstration) and/or can leave students wondering what they are supposed to have learned—all while creating a major grading burden for the instructor. Poorly planned group projects can cause similar difficulties, with the added danger of creating interpersonal stress in the student groups. Yet for many reasons, the report assignment is the perfect choice for the collaborative project. Because of its extra length and complexity, the report enables several students to contribute meaningful research, writing, and document design decisions to one product or a related set of products. If the project goes well, each student will learn important lessons both about report writing and about teamwork. To maximize the likelihood that the project will go well, the instructor must think through a wide range of variables and decide, based upon his or her learning objectives, what the features of the project will be.

Rentz, Kathryn, Lora Arduser, Lisa Meloncon and Mary Beth Debs. Business Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Reports


Getting an Invitation to the English Table—and Whether or Not to Accept It   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In this article, we trace the journey our professional writing program took from marginal area to well-supported specialty in an English department—a journey we made without sacrificing our commitment to prepare students for professional-level employment. In so doing, we explore the grounds of intellectual compatibility between our field and English studies and describe the conditions most conducive to professional writing's finding a respected place in English departments.

Rentz, Kathryn, Mary Beth Debs and Lisa Meloncon. Technical Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Education>TC>Case Studies


The Importance of "Niche" Journals To New Business-Communication Academics— and To All of Us   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This commentary, extending one published in 2007, reports on a study of publishing advice being given to new academics in business communication. The findings suggest that 'niche' journals such as the Journal of Business Communication are very important to these academics' professional advancement and are, in general, well regarded in the respondents' host departments. Such journals are essential to the scholarly conversation in specialty areas that are not well served by bigger, mainstream journals.

Rentz, Kathryn. JBC (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Publishing


Standing Up for Good Teaching: the Business Communication Academic as Activist   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Today I want us to consider a topic that we don’t talk about much: our working conditions as business communication teachers. Over the years we’ve had an occasional article and presentation on workplace issues. In 1990, a special issue of Business Communication Quarterly focused on stress in our field, and it identified unstable academic appointments and the lack of departmental support as two main causes. In the mid-1990s, Iris Varner and Paula Pomerenke gave several memorable ABC presentations on the demise of Illinois State’s business communication program. And the winner of the award for Outstanding Article in the Journal of Business Communication for 2007 linked perceptions of the quality of our journals to the struggle for academic rewards that many of us experience. But we have been largely silent about the less-than-ideal circumstances in which many of us teach. I think our close affiliation with the business disciplines has a lot to do with this. On some level, I think we’ve decided that if we are underpaid and undersupported, it’s because we deserve it—that what we teach just isn’t valuable enough to warrant the same rewards that the other disciplines get. Plus, we don’t like to come across as whiny or oppositional; those aren’t approaches that come naturally to people who are trying to teach students how to work well with others to achieve business goals.

Rentz, Kathryn. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Workplace

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