Featured Member Amy Koerber

Amy is an Associate Professor in Technical Communication & Rhetoric at Texas Tech University. She has been a member of ATTW since 2002 and in 2008 began a 5-year term as TCQ editor.

Alma mater/s

B.S. in Linguistics from Georgetown University, M.A. in English from University of South Dakota, Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication from University of Minnesota

Fields of interest

medical rhetoric, health communication, gender and women’s studies

What got you interested in teaching technical writing?

While studying literature during my MA degree at the University of South Dakota, I had the opportunity to teach freshman composition. I fell in love with teaching but also became increasingly interested in teaching students the writing skills they would need to succeed in the workplace. As I began focusing more on these skills in the writing classroom, I became acquainted with the field of technical communication and decided to pursue a PhD in that field rather than staying in literature.

What projects/assignments/classes are you working on currently?

I am eagerly awaiting the publication of my book, Breast or Bottle: Contemporary Controversies in Infant-Feeding Policy and Practice, which will be published in May 2013 by the University of South Carolina Press. I continue to research and write articles on topics related to women’s health and rhetoric. Current articles-in-progress include a coauthored piece on the rhetoric of women’s health in the 2012 Presidential Campaign and another coauthored piece on the infant-feeding practices of mothers in West Texas. I am also quite busy finishing up this last year of term as TCQ editor, and I am teaching an online graduate seminar in medical rhetoric at Texas Tech.

What do you value most about the technical writing profession?

I love the fact that we give our students the skills they will need to excel in any profession. So whether we are teaching a class full of technical communication majors or a class full of accounting students, we always know we are providing skills they will need to succeed and advance in the workplace. At Texas Tech I also have the opportunity to work with a lot of talented graduate students, and that is a very valuable and enjoyable part of my job as a faculty member.

Other than teaching and writing, what are you passionate about?

Spending time with my family (especially my three children—ages 14, 8, and 4) is very important to me. When it is not too hot here in Texas, I love being outside, and I especially love escaping to the mountains in the summer.

Talk about your experience as TCQ’s editor. What changes did you see? Thoughts on the future direction of the journal?

As journal editor, I have tried to recruit the best submissions from the best scholars and then to make sure those articles reach their full potential and get published and circulated as widely and efficiently as possible. I have especially enjoyed recruiting submissions from authors who might not have previously thought about submitting to TCQ, and I have been proud to witness a steady increase in submissions over the years. Another important goal has been to increase the readership and citation numbers of TCQ articles, and the journal has made important progress in those areas as well. In fact, most ATTW members might not be aware of this, but full-text article downloads for TCQ increased from 29,157 in 2010 to 41,925 in 2011. It’s been a great experience, and I look forward to working with the next editor to transition TCQ to its new home!

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