I'm always puzzled by the misunderstanding, distrust, and sometimes downright animosity between academic and practitioner members of the technical communication family. At its extremes, this attitude manifests itself in practitioners who consider research and theory to be ivory tower games with no relevance to their practice, and in professors who regard practitioners as ignorant anti-intellectuals. The vast majority of us, of course, would never admit to being either academic snobs or practitioner rednecks, but many of us evidence less extreme vestiges of these biases.
Collaboration between academic programs and STC chapters builds a sense of community and relevance for all participants. Neither academic programs or professional chapters by themselves provide sufficient educational or professional development opportunities. Working together helps inform faculty and students about workplace trends, helps introduce students to their future professional opportunities, and provides chapter members and their companies and organizations with access to up-to-date research and to students before they go on the job market.
Having lived and worked on both sides of the academe-industry border, I've thought a great deal about the negative attitudes held by so many who live in both of these parts of the larger world of technical communication.
The author discusses her transition from academic professor to corporate worker and back to academic professor. She compares and contrasts some fundamental differences between these environments on the dimensions of teaching, research, collaboration, problem solving, and ethics. She describes some of the lessons she learned as she moved back and forth across these environments. She concludes by suggesting that, however large these transitions seem, they are transitions we routinely expect our students to make when they migrate from school to work.
This article, as well as our conference presentation, catalogues a year in the symbiotic relationship between the Orlando Chapter of STC, the University of Central Florida's technical writing program, and the student-run technical communication club, Future Technical Communicators (FTC)--and the ways in which this powerful partnership has helped sustain many of the chapter's varied and successful initiatives that led to its designation as a Chapter of Distinction in 2003. In this article, authors Bonnie Spivey and Dan Voss report on the UCF-STC legacy, the development of the chapter's new mentoring program, their contribution to educational outreach/ fundraising, and the numerous ways in which these institutions are working together.
The twenty-year partnership between the Orlando Chapter and the technical writing program at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has reached new heights in the past two years. This paper reviews several highly successful programs that have either grown directly out of the UCF-Orlando Chapter partnership or which have benefited from and been improved by it: (1) an annual scholarship program; (2) student projects that benefit the chapter (or feature the chapter as client); (3) strong student support to the STC AccessAbility SIG; (4) an annual fund-raising initiative; (5) an educational outreach initiative to Central Florida high schools, and (6) a highly successful formal mentoring program pairing students with professionals.
Although academy-industry partnerships have been a subject of interest in professional communication for many years, they have barely been considered in terms of globally networked learning environments (GNLEs). This empirical case study of an academy—industry partnership, in which the authors participated, examines the opportunities and challenges in applying GNLE practices to the design of a corporate engineering communication workshop. Using genre-ecology modeling as the analytical framework, the study demonstrates how the pedagogical processes considered for inclusion in such a workshop may be embedded in a network of institutional genres, some of which are associated with strong regulating controls. The findings from this study have implications for those who are interested in applying GNLE practices in workplace contexts and for those interested in using a principled framework for representing the work of such partnership activities.
In technical communication, we talk about bridging academy and industry quite often, and we usually brainstorm ways that academics can forge relationships with professional organizations. This paper focuses on the reverse: helping technical communicators seek out academics who can help with workplace writing problems. Academics can offer expertise in training, problem-solving methodologies, and research facilities and can help organizations work through problems of collaboration, technology, design, and communication.