CFP for ATTW 2015: Exploring the Value of Technical Communication
March 18, 2015
Proposal submission deadline: Oct. 27, 2014
The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) invites proposals for papers, posters, and workshops to be given at its annual conference. The 18th annual ATTW conference will be held in Tampa, FL, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The full-day event includes concurrent sessions, poster presentations, workshops, book exhibits, and opportunities for exchanging ideas and networking in an academic environment.
Value is most often defined as the worth or quality measured by a standard. But, value also carries other more nuanced meanings such as worth based on quality, esteem, or importance. Moreover, value phrases permeate our everyday lexicon from “value-added” to “value orientation” to “value proposition.”
Historically, the field has always struggled with trying to explain the value of technical communication within workplace settings, thus the consistent conversations in the pages of our journals and at our conferences about the field’s legitimacy, status, and identity. In the late 1990’s, there were a wave of articles specifically associated with value (e.g., Eilola-Johnson, 1996; Henry, 1998; Mead, 1998; Redish, 1995; Sullivan and Spilka, 1992) but since then, the field has not taken up the term and its associations directly. In light of transformations in the global economy, the changing face of the academy, and innovations in our field, the timing seems right to revisit questions of “value.”
As austere conditions continue in higher education, programs and faculty are increasingly being asked to define and explain their value. For example, resources are often allocated on the number of students in our programs, while students themselves ask for explanations of the value of their degrees. In the workplace, technical communication has diffused into a myriad of specialties raising questions about the value of a common identity and questions of what value technical communicators bring are still persistently asked. In classrooms, workplaces, and the halls of legislature, we are being asked over and again to articulate the value of technical communication.
Papers, panels and posters are invited exploring the broad question:
What is the value of technical communication both inside higher education and outside of it? Or alternately, what does value mean to and in technical communication?
This inclusive call welcomes papers on a broad range of issues related to the value of technical and professional communication. For example:
- What are the major values of the field at large? What value do technical communicators bring to academic, professional, and social contexts?
- How can we better describe the value of the work we do both within our institutions and outside of them?
- Are their things that we value as academics that are not valued in the workplace and vice versa?
- Which concepts, practices, and objects has the field of technical communication over-valued? And which ones do we seem to under-value?
- How can we reconcile different value systems in organizational or university settings?
- How do the academy and the industry areas of the field parallel and differ in their perspectives on and understandings of ideas value within technical communication?
- What theoretical perspectives or approaches can we use to better understand and address factors affecting practices related value in the field today?
- What role can research play in establishing value in the field – and with parties outside of the field? How can be define and describe the value of our research, including rhetorical, textual, empirical and theoretical?
- What critiques could be advanced against the use of value?
- What challenges - technological, pragmatic, ethical – do technical communicators face in describing our value?
- How might explorations of value transform our programs and teaching practices?
- What skills, technologies, approaches should we value in our programs?
Questions and explorations of value intersect with those of identity, definition, location, and the future of the field. So submissions on all topics are welcome. New teachers of technical communication, as well as graduate students, are especially encouraged to submit a proposal and attend the conference.
Proposals that explore these and related issues are welcome, although we may accept as well proposals that address issues within the broader categories of technical communication. All proposal submissions must specify one of the following formats:
- Regular Session Individual proposal: Individuals may submit proposals for 15-minute talks on panels created by the conference organizers. These proposals should be no more than 300 words.
- Regular Session Panel proposals: Groups may submit proposals for 75-minute panel presentations. These proposals should be no more than 200 words per presentation plus a 150-word contextualization/justification of the panel (800 words max). Panel proposals can take the form of typical papers, roundtables, ignite talks, or some other innovative form.
- Poster Presentation: Posters will be on display throughout the day with special times dedicated for conversations about this work. Proposals for poster presentations should be no more than 300 words.
- Workshop Sessions: The conference will include two 90-minute workshops concurrent with the regular sessions. Workshops that would help newcomers enter the field are especially welcome. Workshop proposals should be no more than 1500 words.
Deadline for Submission
Proposals should be submitted no later than October 27, 2014. The submission system will open soon at http://attw.org/conference. All proposals will be peer reviewed.
All teachers and researchers interested in technical communication are welcome.
Contact for questions or additional information
For questions or additional information concerning this CFP and/or the conference, please contact conference co-chairs, Lisa Meloncon of the University of Cincinnati <firstname.lastname@example.org> and T. Kenny Fountain of Case Western Reserve University <email@example.com>.