Boston Broadside
January/February 2001
Vol. 58, No.3


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President's Message

Director-Sponsor's Column

Technical Writring at SolidWorks is a Collaborative Effort

Competitions 2000 Awards Banquet: the STACIEs

The Edward J. Carbrey, Jr., Scholarship 2001 Application Instructions

September Program Report

September Membership Report

October Membership Report

Communicator's Toolchest Book Review: A Review of the XSL Companion

Boston Broadside Sponsors

Society for Technical Communication, Inc

STC-Boston chapter home page

Broadside Back Issues

Director-Sponsor's Column


The Fall Board Meeting

The STC Board of Directors met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, September 14-17 and covered a great deal of ground, including:

  • Forming a policy about chapter formation outside the United States and relationships with existing techcomm organizations in other countries
  • Branding and corporate identity
  • Web site hosting for chapters
  • Approving Merit Grants. Congratulations to the chapters with so many innovative and important programs in the works, particularly our Central New York Chapter!

These major issues were addressed along with the "regular" STC business of, among other subjects, chapter affairs and program areas, including research, SIGs, professional development, competitions, conferences, communications, and external affairs. Because this article has to be relatively brief, these subjects cannot be described in detail. Several of them could easily be main topics of articles. It took the board 2.5 long days to deal with them. So, please contact me if you have any questions.

Committee and Program Updates

The board authorized the STC office to conduct a membership drive using the services of a professional marketing company. STC will become an affiliate member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The annual fee for this is $5,000. W3C determines standards for Web-based communication, among other wide-ranging concerns of specific interest to STC.

The board acknowledged three new chapters approved by the Executive Council over the summer:

  • The San Luis Obispo Chapter in Region 8.
  • The Texas A&M Student Chapter in Region 5.
  • The Netherlands Chapter in Region 4.

The Instructional Design & Learning Special Interest Group (SIG) was approved with an initial budget of $1,900. Denver, Colorado, will be the location of the 52nd STC Annual Conference in 2006. Minneapolis, Minnesota, will be the location of the 53rd STC Annual Conference in 2007. Freya Winsberg of the Phoenix Chapter was appointed program manager for the 50th STC Annual Conference (Seattle, 2003).

The Conference registration fee for members for the 48th STC Annual Conference in Chicago in 2001 will be $420. The discounted rate for speakers will remain $350. Edward Carbrey, Boston Chapter, was appointed manager of the Jay R. Gould Award Committee. Dale Erickson, Lone Star Chapter, was appointed manager of the New Media Delivery Systems Committee in the Communications area.

Jon Baker, Boston Chapter, was named manager of the New Media Publications Committee in the Communications area. This gives Region 1 representation.

Jack Molisani, Los Angeles Chapter, was named manager of the Chapter and Regional Conferences Committee in the Chapter Affairs area (2nd Vice President).

Amy Burdan, Hoosier (Indiana) Chapter, was named manager of the Scientific Communication SIG. Roy Hartshorn, Toronto Chapter, was named manager of the Canadian Curricula in Professional Development Committee in the Professional Development area.

Merit Grants and Loans to Chapters

A merit grant of $3,000 USD was awarded to the Central New York Chapter to implement a comprehensive revitalization/growth plan.

A merit grant of $3,000 USD was awarded to the Mid-South Chapter to build its scholarship fund.

A merit grant of $3,000 USD was awarded to the Atlanta Chapter to build its scholarship fund.

A merit grant of $1,200 USD was awarded to the Hoosier Chapter to develop the Insight Award to recognize Indiana corporations and organizations that innovatively use the skills and capabilities of their technical communicators.

A multichapter loan of $6,000 USD was given to the Mid-Valley and Willamette Valley Chapters to host the Region 7 conference in Portland, Oregon, in October 2001.

A merit grant of $3,000 USD was awarded to the Alberta Chapter to construct a portable display to be used at the all-Canada Smart 2000 Conference and Exposition in November 2000, and at regional professional, educational, and community events.

A merit grant of $2,070 USD was awarded to the Alaska Chapter to construct a portable display for use at regional professional, educational, and community events across Alaska.

A chapter loan of $3,000 USD was given to the Los Angeles Chapter to seed a multichapter, self-sustaining technical publications, online communication, and art competition in Southern California.

A merit grant of $1,500 USD was awarded to the East Bay Chapter to further develop its Technical Literacy Program.


STC follows a system of zero-based budgeting. It cannot operate or begin the fiscal year at a deficit. The board approved a budget for FY 2001 of income = $4,725,250; expenses = $4,711,849; and a net surplus of $13,401.

Policy Regarding Chapters and Membership Outside of the United States

The following policy statement was adopted by the board:

  • At the Society level, STC does not actively initiate the formation of chapters. STC provides information from the Society office to any individual who inquires about formation of a chapter. The Director-Sponsor of record is copied as a point of contact for the requestor.
  • STC is a member of INTECOM, an international consortium of technical communication societies. As a courtesy to that membership, in response to a chapter formation inquiry from outside the United States, STC will, in the Society office's response, advise the requestor of existing organizations in the requestor's country. The contact person of record of the member INTECOM organization and the STC INTECOM representative will be copied, as applicable.
  • Chapters shall be admitted when 15 members of a given geographic area petition for chapter status in accordance with STC bylaws.
  • Once a chapter is formed, STC will provide an equal level of support with the following exception: In terms of professional/government relations, STC shall focus on the United States as the Society is incorporated in the United States.
  • In terms of membership, if there are extraneous costs associated solely with the residence of a member outside the United States, these costs may, as deemed necessary by the board of directors, be passed on to the affected member.

Branding and Corporate Identity

The board approved a new logo and stationery program for the Society. Chapter presidents should receive specific and detailed corporate identity information, i.e., how to use the new logo and various design elements in chapter stationery and hard and electronic copy materials, before the end of the year.

As most of you know, Past President Mary Wise announced the new STC mission statement, Designing the Future of Technical Communication, at Leadership Day at the Orlando conference. Another external brand tool is the organization's "story," a brief explanation of what the organization stands for, who its members are, and how it views its future. The STC board approved the STC story -- our consistent "face" we present to the rest of the world. While it is not meant to replace the more extensive literature we provide to prospective members and others, the story is the "elevator message" we can use to briefly explain who and what we are.

STC Story

Through information sharing and industry leadership, STC helps professionals design effective communication for a technical world. Because technology touches everyone, STC promotes public welfare by encouraging the development of better-educated professionals whose jobs are to make complicated information usable by many.

The organization's growth has mirrored our growing dependence on technology. Initially, STC was primarily made up of engineers who, among other activities, wrote instructions and descriptions of how electrical and mechanical products worked. A profound change took place as the pervasiveness of technology and the need to understand it became an integral part of our everyday lives. With the emergence of the Internet and online communication, our members now focus on supporting all aspects of the rapidly evolving world of technology.

The organization began because those working in the field recognized themselves as professionals with unique training and career issues. Today, STC is nearly 50 years old, with 150 chapters and 25,000 members worldwide. It is the largest organization for technical communicators. STC offers industry leadership and the education, networking, and information required in a world where change is "the way it is."

Web site Hosting for Chapters

For the past several years, the board has been dealing with a number of difficult issues related to decentralized versus centralized hosting of chapter Web sites. Recent problems and service difficulties as's bandwidth needs have exceeded what our current ISP can provide makes this issue urgent as well as extremely important.

Over the next few months, committees in the Communications area, managed by Lory Hawkes, AP for Communications, will be developing and implementing a transition plan that will enable chapters to select their own ISPs and maintain their own Web sites in a decentralized system. Such a system means that, within some general guidelines (we do have to present a fairly consistent "face" to the world; see Branding above), chapters will have greater creative latitude and capabilities to develop and change their Web sites.

The issues mentioned in this article are far-reaching and important, but the discussions here are necessarily brief. Please contact me with your questions at [email protected] You can also find me at the InterChange Conference, October 17th and 18th, sponsored by the U of Massachusetts Boston, and the Boston and Northern New England Chapters of STC.

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January 8, 2001