Society Highlights

August 1 Deadline to Submit Candidate Nomination Forms and Conference Proposals; Volunteer to Support Members through Lean Times

By Amy M. Anson

Nominating Committee Seeks Candidates for Society-Level Positions in 2004

If you are interested in helping STC to remain a vital organization, then start considering yourself a candidate for a Society-level position in 2004. Are you good at listening to and implementing ideas? Do you think that you can help direct and administer Society-level activities? Could you help coordinate programs that are beneficial to the technical communication profession? Would you like to represent membership on ceremonial occasions? If these responsibilities sound appealing to you, then consider stepping forward for a Society-level position. The members of the 2003-2004 nominating committee are Michelle Ratcliffe (manager), Suncoast chapter; M. Katherine Brown, Snake River chapter; Nan J. Fritz, Boston chapter; and two newly elected members: Rita B. Johnson, Middle Tennessee chapter, and Christopher Juillet, Southeastern Michigan chapter.

Open Positions and Qualifications

These positions will be filled by election in the STC year ahead:

All candidates must be senior members. Second vice president candidates must have extensive leadership experience, preferable in Society-level positions. Candidates for secretary should have strong communication skills and leadership experience at the chapter or regional level. Director-sponsor candidates should have a history of successful STC leadership, preferably at the chapter or regional level.

Nominating committee candidates should have excellent judgment about people and a wide acquaintance with members at all levels of the Society.

The nominating committee welcomes your suggestions about potential candidates for the positions that are listed in this article. Browse to the STC Web site and download the Candidate Nomination Form from

Return the completed form by August 1, 2003.

Supporting Our Members through Lean Times

Volunteer opportunities always abound at the chapter level, and members should keep in mind the potential these opportunities possess: helping members to acquire new skills or sharpen current ones.

The Twin Cities chapter has developed several ideas that other chapters can use to encourage more volunteer participation in chapter activities.

Promote Special Interest Groups. SIGs promote members' professional development and provide opportunities for more specific networking than the regular chapter meetings. In recent years, a record number of independent contractors have attended meetings held by the Twin Cities chapter's Consulting and Independent Contracting (CIC) SIG and have also participated in the SIG's Internet-based discussion group. Recent online discussion topics have included the pros and cons of incorporation, pricing, and various marketing methods.

Post Opportunities and Resources

The Twin Cities chapter encourages both local and national employers to post openings on the chapter Web site at The chapter removes old listings from the site after three weeks. Resources for writers are also posted, such as a list of contract houses and contract names in the Twin Cities area. The chapter is also preparing to post a bimonthly employment-related column on the jobs page of its Web site. This column will address a variety of topics, feature guest writers, and explore various employment-related themes, such as networking and self-employment.

Highlight Employment Issues at Conferences

Over the past few years, the Twin Cities chapter has sponsored a one-day conference called FutureTense. Sessions at this year's FutureTense included presentations and workshops for both employed and unemployed writers.

Network with Other Organizations

A few times each year, the Twin Cities chapter teams with other professional organizations, such as the International Society for Performance Improvement, the American Medical Writers Association, and the American Society for Training and Development, to present a program called the Saturday Brunch. This program brings more than 150 technical writing, instructional design, and graphics professionals together for a three- to four-hour presentation and workshop.

Reach Out to New Members

The Twin Cities chapter membership committee chairperson has put together a Buddy Program, which encourages long-time members to buddy up with newer members. This helps build a good network of contacts within the chapter.

Promote Competitions

Another networking opportunity that lets writers show off their abilities is the annual technical communication competitions. The Twin Cities chapter's competition manager or judge leader uses the competition to encourage continued participation in the chapter.

Those who participatewhether as manager, judge, or entrantadd valued experiences to their resumes. Management skills and strategic planning skills are just some of the skills that members either newly develop or sharpen through this involvement.

(Editor's Note: This text was summarized from the article "Supporting Our Members through Lean Times," written by Deanne K. Levander, Employment Committee Manager, Twin Cities Chapter. It appeared in the April 2003 "Tieline.")

Jay R. Gould Award Winners

The Jay R. Gould award for excellence in teaching technical communication honors the distinguished teaching career of the late Professor Gould. His academic mentorship guided many students into the technical communication profession. The award honors excellence in teaching that becomes true academic mentorshipthe personal and professional concern that the best teachers extend to their students beyond the classroom.

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must have been a member of the STC for ten years and must have been involved in postsecondary education for at least 15 years.

Congratulations to this year's winners:

R. John Brockman, University of Delaware, Newark, DE; Fellow, Philadelphia Metro Chapter

Carolyn S. Plumb, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Senior Member, University of Washington Chapter

Daniel Riordan, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI; Senior Member, Twin Cities Chapter

STC's 51st Annual Conference Call for Proposals

The deadline for the Society office to receive proposals is August 1, 2003. A PDF version is available on the STC Web site at The conference will be held May 9-12, 2004, in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference theme is "Navigating the Future of Technical Communication." Please contact Buffy M. Bennett at [email protected] for more information.

Membership at a Glance

As of April 30, 2003:

Total members: 18,270

Members residing in the US: 15,622

Members residing in Canada: 1,643

Members residing elsewhere: 1,005

Total chapters: 153 (includes 35 student chapters.)

Amy Anson, a former Boston Broadside managing editor, is a senior editor at Forrester Research in Cambridge, MA.