Closing Plenary Session: Tech Comm’s Influence and Impact

The Closing Plenary Session brings together three technical communication luminaries who will discuss the state of our profession, the impact we have made, and how we can more effectively influence others. This interlocking plenary will be a unique event that has been curated especially for STC’s Summit by three distinguished Fellows of the Society: Saul Carliner, Ginny Redish, and Karen Schriver.

8 May 2019
8:00 – 11:00 AM
Centennial Ballroom
Hyatt Regency Denver

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Saul Carliner, PhD, is a Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal. His research interests include the design of materials for communication and learning, the management of groups that produce these materials, and professions of communication and training. Also an industry consultant, he is Research Director for Lakewood Media and has worked with clients like Boston Scientific, Bronx Zoo, PwC, ST Microelectronics, and the Turkish Management Centre. Among his 200 publications are the best-selling Training Design Basics and award-winning Informal Learning Experiences. He is a Fellow, past board member, and past certification chair of the Institute for Performance and Learning (the Canadian society for training and development) and a Fellow and past international president of the Society for Technical Communication.

Who Are We? A Report on the 2018 Census of Technical Communicators

The 2018 Census of Technical Communicators sponsored by STC identifies who we are:

  • Our educational and professional backgrounds
  • Our current jobs: job titles, characteristics of the organizations in which we work, reporting relationships, types of projects on which we work, and tools and processes used in our work
  • Professional development
  • Satisfaction in our careers in technical communication and current positions
  • Career plans for the next five years
  • Opinions and concerns and future of technical communication

In this session, Saul (who conducted the research) will share the results of this survey and will use them to facilitate a conversation on the current state of our field-and how we will use this information to assess our own careers and situations.

Ginny Redish shares her passion for clear communication and usability through her consulting work, highly interactive workshops, and speaking engagements. She has been called the “mother of usability” and a “pioneer in plain language.” Her newest, award-winning book, Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content that Works, gives you lots of guidance and examples to share with your clients and colleagues. Ginny is an STC Fellow, winner of the Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research, co-founder of the STC User and User Experience SIG, on the editorial board of the STC journal, and a frequent speaker at the STC Summit.

Where we’ve been; where we’re going

Journey back in time to see a quick and very visual history of STC and our profession. Revel in the changes that both ideas and technology have wrought. See how our demographics changed, our skills broadened, our domains expanded. And also see what has been constant-the underlying focus on helping people do their tasks, meet their goals, solve their problems.

And then consider with Ginny how this history-plus the “where we are now” you heard from Saul Carliner-helps us think about the future. Where is your career going? Where is the profession going? What’s next for us to get excited about?

Karen Schriver’s enthusiasm for making content clear, compelling, and usable developed through her years of experience in writing and designing communications for clients around the world. But like many communication design professionals, she found that personal experience—while essential—was not enough. For the past several decades, Karen has combed the empirical research literature with an eye toward creating more effective people-centered communications. Karen’s book, Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, has been called a landmark. She is an STC fellow. She has won fourteen international and national awards for her research. She is a former professor of rhetoric and information design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Karen is now writing a new book about ways to reach busy readers through evidence-based information design and plain language. When she is not running to catch a plane, she can be found frolicking along the Allegheny River with her giant white dog Juno.

Improving your professional value: Using evidence to influence decision making

Technical communicators are an entrepreneurial lot. Many of us are redefining ourselves by expanding both what we do and how we do it. We are also looking for empirical support about why we do what we do and how we can do it better. Come listen to Karen Schriver offer ways to develop your personal expertise and increase your credibility by drawing on research. See how becoming a critical consumer of research can help you more effectively argue from evidence to influence decision making on the job.

Karen will share stories from her extensive consulting experience to shed light on the value of being able to argue from evidence rather than opinion.