Author: Bradley Dilger

Williams elevated to ATTW Fellow

Congratulations to Dr. Miriam Williams of Texas State University. Williams was elevated to ATTW Fellow at the 2017 conference in Portland, Oregon.

Read the citation read by Bill Hart-Davidson and written by Jerry Savage, with remarks from Natasha Jones, Michael Trice, and Emmelyn Wang.

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ATTW 2017 participant information (updated)

ATTW 2017 is next this week! We wanted to round up all the information about conference events in one place before everyone starts traveling. Hopefully, this answers your last minute questions, but if not, please feel free to contact us at attworg@gmail.com.

All ATTW conference events are held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Portland, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland, Oregon 97232, +1-503-281-6111. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the Oregon Convention Center, near the Lloyd Center/NE 11th TriMet stop.

This post last updated Tuesday, March 14.

Weather-related cancellations

If you won’t be able to attend ATTW 2017 or the Women in TC luncheon because of travel problems related to Winter Storm Stella, we’re very sorry! Contact us at attworg@gmail.com and we’ll refund your registration fees. We’ll process the refunds after the conference.

Social media

Our social media ambassadors get started the week of the conference—more soon! Plan to tweet using the #attwcon hashtag. If you like, join our list of @ATTWorg tweeters.

Research Methods Workshops

Workshops will take place Tuesday, March 14 from 12:30-4:30p. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to get checked in so that workshops can start on time.

We have Ross Island and Morrison rooms located on the first level from 12:30-4:30. Each room will have a projector and screen, but facilitators and participants should bring laptops.

The break will include regular and decaf coffee/tea, soft drinks, bottled water, and cookies.

Conference Check-in

The main room for ATTW on Wednesday will be Multnomah, which is on the first level of the  Doubletree. Check-in and registration will be available outside of this room beginning at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, March 15.

If you preregistered for the conference:

Look for someone with a cellphone or tablet to get you checked in quickly through Eventbrite. Pick up your nametag and program, and have a great conference!

If you registered, but need to pay onsite:

Look for Bradley Dilger or Stuart Blythe. They’ll help you finish your registration.

If you missed the online registration window:

Look for Bradley Dilger. He will be handling onsite registrations. Here are the costs for onsite registrations:

Full-time faculty or professionals $150.00
Contingent faculty $100.00
Students $75.00

Poster Presentation Information

Posters should be 30″ x 40″ or smaller to fit on the foam boards that will be provided.  We will provide foam boards, binder clips, and push pins to mount the posters.

Then the foam boards will be displayed on easels.

Presenter Information

Rooms will have a projector and Internet access. Presenters should bring laptops and connecting dongles for audio visual.

Each session is an hour and fifteen minutes. In general, with a panel of four, each presenter has fifteen minutes, leaving fifteen minutes for questions. The issue of when to take questions is up to the chair and the panel, but taking questions at the end, by which time everyone has had time to present, is a good idea.

We’ve updated (Sun Mar 12) the ATTW 2017 program preview which includes detailed session descriptions with a few late-breaking changes. Have a look — and plan your conference!

Women in TC Luncheon

The luncheon is scheduled for Multnomah on the first level of the Doubletree. Tickets to the luncheon are sold out. Organizers will check people in at the door using the Eventbrite registration information.

Accessibility

Please refer to the CCCC accessibility guide (link is PDF).

If you have have accessibility concerns for which you need assistance, please contact Michelle Eble at EBLEM@ecu.edu.

Portland Information

The local arrangements committee for CCCC has created a Portland 2017 web site with information about restaurants, ground transportation, and more.

ATTW Announces 2017 Graduate Research Award Winners

ATTW is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 ATTW Graduate Research Awards. In our commitment to advancing graduate students in the field, the award’s purpose is to support and advance the research of graduate students in the latter stages of their PhD programs.

Congratulations to the following recipients for their contributions to research in technical and professional communication:

  • Jeffrey Gerding, Purdue University, “Advocating for Users, Engaging Citizens: Analyzing User Experience Research and the Rhetoric of Civic Engagement in Public Sector Digital Service Design”
  • Eric Stephens,  Clemson University, “Correctional Inclinations: Using Big Data to Trace Correctional Officer Handbooks”
  • Rachel Tofteland-Trampe, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, “Developing Digital Literacies: Engaging Technical Communication at an Urban Community Technology Center”

The award selection committee was really impressed with the quality and potential contributions of these research projects. Award recipients will be featured and present their research in a panel at the annual ATTW conference, which will be held on March 15, 2017, in Portland, OR.

The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) is an active professional organization of about 500 teachers, researchers, and practitioners of technical communication. Formed in 1973 to encourage dialogue among teachers of technical communication and to develop technical communication as an academic discipline, the organization boasts an international and interdisciplinary membership. ATTW produces Technical Communication Quarterly, a leading academic journal, and it collaborates with Taylor & Francis/Routledge to publish the ATTW Book Series in Technical and Professional Communication.

CFP: TCQ special issue

CFP: Special Issue on Medical Humanities and/or the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine

liz-angeliNearly twenty years ago, the landmark special issue on “Medical Rhetoric” was published in Technical Communication Quarterly. Since then, research in this area has flourished, with scholars publishing numerous books, articles, and special issues on the topic. The editors of that special issue, Barbara Heifferon and Stuart Brown, noted how the humanities—specifically rhetoric and technical communication—could “suggest alternative discursive practices” in healthcare workplaces (p. 247). Their goal rick-johnson-sheehanwas to reunite the disciplines of rhetoric and medicine, a split that can be dated back to Platonic times (Bell et al., 2000).

Following the lead of that TCQ special issue, editors of special issues in other journals have worked to position medical rhetoric within the broader field of the medical humanities and in relation to other healthcare fields. In 2005, the Journal of Business and Technical Communication published a special issue on “The Discourses of Medicine.” In the editor’s introduction, Ellen Barton noted the interdisciplinary breadth of the field. The discourses of medicine, she pointed out, had become a space where the humanities, the social sciences, and medicine merged. Other special issues narrowed the scope of the field by focusing on topics such as online health communication (Koerber & Stills, 2008), the relationship between writing and medicine (Haas, 2009), the importance of publics in healthcare issues (Keränen, 2014), and the centrality of communication design to health-related fields (Meloncon & Frost, 2015). These collections further refined and clarified the research scope of the field.

Recently, though, some researchers in this field have been leaving behind the title of “medical rhetoric” in order to draw a distinction between themselves and the medical humanities. They have adopted the title “Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (RHM),” which is simultaneously more specific and more expansive than medical rhetoric. In advocating for the term “RHM,” Blake, Segal, and Keränan ask scholars to engage “in programs of research that complement, but are different from, programs of research in bioethics, medical humanities, health communication, or the allied health professions” (2013, p. 2). The medical humanities, as Keränan argues, are concerned with “humane—and distinctly human—dimensions of health and medicine” (2014). To query these dimensions, medical humanities scholars traditionally use theoretical frameworks and methods from the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Alternatively, as Blake, Segal, and Keränan argue, RHM scholars should “query medicine’s epistemology, culture, principles, practices, and discourses” with the goal of improving areas of medical practice (2013, p. 2).

In this special issue, we are looking for articles that explore the intersections and tensions between RHM and the medical humanities. At this nascent stage in the field’s development, we wonder whether separating RHM from the medical humanities might curtail opportunities for research, curriculum development, and engagement. Separating too early could have unintended ideological and practical repercussions; it could restrict research funding opportunities, and it might limit our access to political capital. Ideologically, this split risks reinforcing an outmoded but still existent two-culture division between STEM and the liberal arts, undermining the re-unification of medicine and rhetoric that Heifferon and Brown (2000) thought medical rhetoric could achieve. For practical reasons, we are concerned that such a split could also potentially cut RHM researchers off from the financial and political resources that are currently flowing into the medical humanities, which is one of the fastest growing areas in academia today, with universities like Yale, Ohio State, and Baylor adding medical humanities programs to their curriculums.

As we approach the 20-year mark from that original special issue in TCQ, we would like to turn our attention back to defining the fields of medical rhetoric, RHM, and the medical humanities. Similar to Heifferon and Brown’s (2000) goal to restore the natural connections between rhetoric and medicine, we aim to learn how two related areas—RHM and the medical humanities—can mutually inform each other. This CFP invites submissions that put these areas into conversation and engage questions like the following:

  • Building on Blake, Segal, and Keränan’s (2013) observation that RHM complements but is different from the medical humanities, how can RHM complement the medical humanities? How can the medical humanities complement RHM?
  • How can theoretical frameworks and methods used in RHM and the medical humanities intersect in ways that allow the fields to work together?
  • How can RHM scholars participate in and contribute to the medical humanities? Likewise, how can scholars in the medical humanities participate in RHM?
  • In what ways can research in the medical humanities be applied to healthcare workplaces, similar to RHM?
  • In what ways can RHM and medical humanities scholars make a meaningful impact on the medical field, broadly defined?
  • With the advent of telemedicine, the medical workplace has become distributed across time and location. How has this shift impacted RHM and the medical humanities? How can these areas contribute to understanding telemedicine?
  • How has RHM scholarship impacted technical communication? In what ways can the medical humanities impact technical communication? What RHM and medical humanities theoretical frameworks, methods, or findings can be imported into technical communication?

This issue is scheduled for January 2018. Please email 500-word proposals to Elizabeth Angeli (elizabeth.angeli@marquette.edu) and Richard Johnson-Sheehan (rjohnso@purdue.edu) by the deadline of January 17, 2017.  For accepted proposals, complete manuscripts will be due by July 17, 2017. In the meantime, we welcome questions via email from potential contributors.

PDF Medical Humanities/Rhetoric of Health and Medicine CFP

ATTW.org accounts required for proposals

We’re now accepting ATTW 2017 proposals! This year, we’re requiring that everyone proposing a speaking role create a free ATTW.org account so we can more easily track submissions, reviews, and members.

Since we had some security problems in the past, we’ve deleted all existing ATTW.org accounts and started afresh. So, everyone will need to take a few minutes to make an ATTW.org account.

Please make an account as soon as you can. That will give us time to review and approve accounts well in advance of the October 15 deadline. (We have to review them since spammers still attempt to create bogus accounts every day.) Help us make review easy by filling out the form completely.

If you are planning a panel or co-authored presentation, make sure your collaborators create ATTW.org accounts as well, then provide you the email addresses tied to their accounts. We’ve created a page listing all the registered accounts, so you’ll be able to look them up easily, in case you forget.

Accounts are free and can be created by members or non-members. We plan to keep this system in place for ATTW 2018 and 2019, so this should be a time saver on the long run.

Let us know if you have questions. We’ll be welcoming your submissions soon!

Create your ATTW.org account now

ATTW 2016 Registration is Now Open

Registration for the ATTW 2016 conference in Houston is now open! We are trying EventBrite this year as we look for ways to simplify the registration process for both members and ATTW volunteers:

  • You can register, pay for your conference registration, and register for the Women in Technical Communication luncheon through our registration portal on EventBrite.
  • Registration costs will be the same as in 2015.
  • Pay with a credit card or mail us a check — though we much prefer the former.
  • Pay in advance or at the door — though again, the former is preferred.
  • Online registration will close March 25.

Questions about registration? Trouble? Please email us at attworg@gmail.com.

ATTW membership—required for conference presenters—is still renewed through Taylor and Francis. Find instructions on how to renew on the ATTW website. If you have questions about your membership status, contact Michelle McMullin at attworg@gmail.com.

We’re error-checking the 2016 conference program now. Watch for upcoming posts from conference chairs Natalya Matveeva and Godwin Agboka about the sessions you can expect this year.

More information about the conference can be found at attw.org. See you in Houston!

ATTW web security

In November 2014, not long after I interviewed with ATTW leadership for the web editor position, the ATTW server was compromised. Attackers used a well-known exploit to deface the server’s page. They added a bunch of bogus posts to the forums, too (though most weren’t publicly visible). Recently, an ATTW member suggested this security breach was caused by ATTW’s use of social media. This is simply false. I know of no security research which suggests social media is a vector for server exploits. So social media coordinator Michael Faris will continue to work closely to get important information about ATTW’s work to all of our members via email, social media, and the web.

Fortunately, since the ATTW server doesn’t handle credit card transactions and/or store sensitive data, the November breach caused no long-term damage we know of. Still, it is embarrassing. As a result, I’ve made security a key priority since I began work as ATTW web editor in February 2015. Here are some of the things we’re doing to keep our server secure and our members’ data safe.

  • Keeping web software up to date. This was the root of our November problem. We’ve set up notifications so I get multiple messages any time serious security vulnerabilities are published. If you see tweets from me like the one above, odds are we’ve learned of a security problem that needs immediate attention.
  • Keeping sensitive data off the server. Data that isn’t on a server can’t be compromised. ATTW has always used external services to handle credit cards and financial data, and that will continue.
  • Disabling software we don’t need. The modular nature of software like Drupal allows for functionality to be added as needed, which is great. But when that functionality is no longer used … why keep it around? That applies to external services, too: e.g. we have not been using ATTW’s LinkedIn account very much, so we deactivated it.
  • Using two-factor authentication for key accounts. Like you, ATTW uses accounts on Gmail and other services. Whenever possible, these accounts use two factor authentication, meaning logins require a verification code in addition to a password.
  • Using strong passwords which are differentiated across services. I was surprised to see the same passwords were used for a lot of ATTW.org services in the past, meaning a compromise could quickly escalate. No longer. We now use unique passwords which are long and made from diverse character sets.

We’ve planned other measures, such as use of a secure web server. And as we move forward and consider migrating ATTW web services to another platform, security will figure prominently not only in selection but configuration. Assistant web editor Michelle McMullin and I welcome your comments or suggestions about this important work.