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ATTW 2018 Amplification Awards

On behalf of the ATTW Executive Committee, I’m excited to announce a new award that will be given for the first time at ATTW 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. If you are graduate student or non tenure-track faculty member who has been accepted to present at ATTW 2018, please read below to see if you are eligible for this award. Applications are due by January 30, 2018.



ATTW Amplification Awards

As part of ATTW’s commitment to social justice practices and increasing organizational participation and supporting research from underrepresented scholars and teachers of technical communication, ATTW is offering three awards to recognize and amplify the important contributions of underrepresented students and/or non-tenure track faculty presenting at ATTW 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas. The award includes a conference registration waiver and financial assistance ($500) with the costs of traveling to ATTW 2018. Award recipients will be honored at the ATTW awards reception.

Eligible candidates for this award include students and non-tenure-track faculty whose race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and/or nationality are underrepresented in the field of technical communication. Applications include an extended abstract (not more than 750 words) that summarizes the applicant’s ATTW presentation and its contribution(s) to the field of technical communication. The Awards Selection Committee will prioritize abstracts that are clearly defined and offer significant pedagogical, theoretical, and/or methodological contributions to the field of technical communication.

Applications should be submitted to by 11:59 PM PST, January 30, 2018.  


ATTW 2017 Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities

ATTW is pleased to offer these great opportunities for advertising your technical and professional writing program, or for gaining visibility at the conference through sponsorship.


Advertising at the conference allows you to highlight programs, share accomplishments, or promote textbooks designed by  your program.

Full page advertisements are $100. You can secure your place in the program by purchasing an ad on our sponsorship opportunities page. The deadline for purchasing advertising is February 14, 2017.


Another way to increase your visibility at the conference is to become a conference sponsor. There are levels of sponsorship to fit every department, organization, and publisher budget.

Sponsorship benefits include:

  • Visibility in the program
  • Recognition at conference events
  • Program advertisements
  • Exhibition tables at the publishers’ event
  • Other opportunities to make your branding visible to all conference attendees

To choose your level of support, visit our sponsorship opportunities page. The deadline is February 14, 2017.

You can email any questions to


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 ( and Richard Johnson-Sheehan ( 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

Welcome New ATTW Book Series Editor, Tharon Howard

tharon-howard_064aAfter four years of excellent work as the inaugural editor of the ATTW book series in technical and professional communication, Dr. Jo Mackiewicz has stepped down as series editor.  We are grateful for her work and the four publications added to the series under Jo’s tenure. As we begin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ATTW and imagine what the future of the organization might be, we are pleased to announce Dr. Tharon Howard from Clemson University as our new editor for the ATTW book series.

With expertise in usability, user experience, academic publishing, and multi-media publishing and teaching Dr. Howard brings his interests in interdisciplinary publishing and multi-modal pedagogy to ATTW. He currently serves as the production editor for Clemson’s Center for Electronic and Digital Publishing where, alongside traditional academic publishing, Dr. Howard teaches graduate students to develop and maintain digital and web publications. His commitment to academic publishing and multi-modal innovations in scholarly publication make him the perfect fit to take the editorial helm at ATTW. We are looking forward to working with him as the book series progresses.


Dr. Tharon W. Howard teaches in the Master of Arts in Professional Communication program and the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design doctoral program at Clemson University. He is a recipient of the STC’s J.R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of usability and user experience research. As Director of the Clemson University Usability Testing Facility, he has conducted sponsored research aimed at improving and creating new software interfaces, online document designs, and information architectures for clients including Pearson Higher Education, IBM, NCR Corp., and AT&T. For his work promoting the importance of usability in both industry and technical communication, Dr. Howard was awarded the Usability Professionals Association’s “Extraordinary Service Award.” Howard serves as the Production Editor for Clemson’s Center for Electronic and Digital Publishing where—in addition to producing scholarly journals, books, fliers, and brochures—he teaches MAPC and RCID graduate students to create and maintain digital publications and websites.  He also designed and directed Clemson’s Multimedia Authoring Teaching and Research Facility where faculty and graduate students in architecture, arts, and humanities learn to develop fully interactive, stand-alone multimodal productions and experiment with emerging instructional technologies, augmented reality devices, and interface designs.  Howard is the author of Design to Thrive: Creating Online Communities and Social Networks That Last; A Rhetoric of Electronic Communities, co-author of Visual Communication: A Writer’s Guide, co-editor of Electronic Networks:  Crossing Boundaries and Creating Communities, and has articles in journals including Technical Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Computers and Composition.


Social Media Wrap-up of #attwcon in Houston

Social Media Wrap-up of #attwcon in Houston

It’s hard to believe that ATTW’s annual convention in Houston was a whole month ago—time has flown by, our semesters are coming to an end (or we’re hitting mid-quarter for those of you on the quarter system), and many of us are switching gears from thinking about our spring classes and instead thinking about summer projects, vacations, and possibly even prepping for fall courses (though maybe we’ll hold off on that for a little bit for a breather).

We thought it would be useful to give a brief recap of social media use at this year’s convention. For a few years now, conference attendees have used the #attwcon hashtag to share experiences about the conferences, network, share insights from presentations, and more. This year attendees posted 805 tweets and retweets using the conference hashtag on the day of the conference (an archive of tweets is available here).

This network visualization shows that over 197 different twitter accounts have used the hashtag or were mentioned by someone using the hashtag this year. (This data includes tweets from a few weeks before the conference and since then as well.) You can click on a node to get data about that twitter user—for instance, @beyonce was mentioned once during the conference (but sadly, she didn’t tweet about the conference).

If you click on the “mentions” link at the bottom of the visualization, you can see that we’re a pretty chatty bunch, not just sending out tweets in isolation, but replying to each other, mentioning each other in tweets, and retweeting each other quite frequently. The retweets link on the bottom of the page shows an even denser network: we like to share what each other has written.

For the second year, we asked a few graduate students to serve as Social Media Curators at the conference. They kept track of tweets and other social media and used our Storify account to create stories about panels and other events at the conference. Special thanks to Jack Labriola, Elizabeth Mackey, Allegra Smith, and Tiffany Wilgar for creating the following stories of #attwcon events:

The convention in Houston was a huge success, thanks in large part to conference program co-chairs Natalia Matveeva and Godwin Agboka, ATTW’s many volunteers and sponsors,  great presentations by ATTW members, and a wonderful, collegial membership that tweets about the conference. Looking forward to next year in Portland!

Michael J. Faris
ATTW Social Media Coordinator

Social Media at #attwcon

Picture of Michael Faris
Michael J. Faris

With ATTW’s 2016 conference about a week away, I’d like to update you on ATTW’s social media efforts, highlight some of the social media activities ATTW is sponsoring, and encourage you to be involved in social media activities during the conference.

As social media coordinator for the last few years, I’ve worked with our web editor and executive committee to try to keep members informed about announcements (like CFPs and conference-related blog posts) via our Facebook page and Twitter account, and to answer questions through these sites. Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @attworg.

Over the last year, we’ve worked to increase our web presence. Our Facebook page has 656 likes (up nearly 200 likes from a year ago) and we have 826 followers on Twitter, up over 200 from a year ago.

But these are just numbers. The real power of social media is engagement—not just content pushed from ATTW to membership, but members engaging with each other. We encourage you to tweet before, during, and after the conference about presentations and your experiences and in response to each other using the hashtag #attwcon. Last year, attendees (and those not attending as well) used the hashtag to tweet or retweet 996 times the day of the conference—double the amount of engagement from the previous year. There are many benefits to tweeting at a conference: networking with other members, sharing experiences and thoughts for those who can’t attend, back channeling and asking questions during a session, creating an archive of experiences, and more. We also encourage you to post pictures from the conference on your social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, etc.) using the conference hashtag.

I use Martin Hawksey’s TAGS to archive tweets using the #ATTWcon hashtag. A publicly available archive of the hashtag is available here. You can also view of visualization of conversations using the hashtag, which also updates regularly.

Last year, ATTW invited a few members to serve as Social Media Curators. They created Storify projects that archive and share conversations and events at the conference (you should check them out!). This year, we’ve asked Allegra Smith (ASU, @argella), Jack Labriola (TTU, @jt_laby), Tiffany Wilgar (USF, @EmpressAtreyu), and Elizabeth Mackey (Minnesota, @elzmackey) to curate social media posts at the conference and create Storify projects — so follow them on Twitter and look for their Storify projects after the conference. We have also added twitter handles to the ATTW conference nametags as a way to help you connect with each other via social media.

We’re excited for the conference in Houston and continued engagement among members!

Michael J. Faris
ATTW Social Media Coordinator

From the Conference Co-Chairs

Natalya Matveeva
Natalia Matveeva
Godwin Agboka
Godwin Agboka

Dear Colleagues,

The past year has been a busy year for social justice, because of the racial, class, gender, and economic challenges that engaged social justice advocates.  As a result, the theme for this year’s conference, “Citizenship and Advocacy in Technical Communication,” could not be more appropriate. We are excited about this year’s conference because of the obvious connections the theme makes with the communities within which we discuss and practice professional and technical communication. Against this backdrop, we are looking forward to productive discussions, forging new relationships, and building on the exciting work on social justice and community engagement in ways that cast our field as responsive to the emerging human challenges in many contexts. If you haven’t yet completed your registration, please register now. Pre-conference registration closes March 25th.

In the fall of 2016, we received many excellent, and, in many cases, very similar subject matter-related conference proposals, so making a decision about which proposal to include in the conference program was particularly challenging.  In making a decision about which proposals to accept, we relied on a number of factors: reviewer ratings, category of proposals, the novelty of proposal ideas, and number of slots for each proposal category, as allowed by the availability of rooms/sessions.

Thanks to your great submissions, we have compiled a conference program that includes talks on how we can all enrich our classrooms through service learning and/or community-based projects, how we can help protect the rights of citizens through effective writing, and how we can expand our research agendas by exploring the impacts of new technologies on citizenship and advocacy. All these topics aim to search for better ways to promote active citizenship beyond the traditional classroom to respond to various social, economic, and environmental issues.

As the most diverse city in the United States, Houston not only provides the perfect platform for this year’s conference, but downtown Houston  offers so much culture and history, good food, and wonderful scenery.

We look forward to welcoming you all to ATTW 2016 in Houston!

Godwin Agboka and Natalia Matveeva

ATTW Conference Co-chairs


Featured Member Jo Mackiewicz

Jo Mackiewicz is an Associate Professor in technical and professional communication at Auburn University. She has been a member of ATTW since 2004 and is the editor of the ATTW/Routledge Book Series in Technical and Professional Communication.

Alma mater

Georgetown University, PhD in Applied Linguistics

Fields of interest

Politeness and credibility in evaluative texts such as editor-writer interactions, tutor-student conferences, online product reviews; document design Continue reading “Featured Member Jo Mackiewicz”