Submit your illustrations for the cover of the Technical Communication journal

Beginning with the February 2016 issue of Technical Communication, the cover of the journal will be a juried space for graphic artists. Each issue will offer the opportunity for a theme-related submission of diagrams, drawings, collages, infographics, cartoons, comic strips, or brief graphic narratives. The theme for the cover of the February 2016 issue is “The Future of Technical Communication.”

For this inaugural effort, please submit your work as a high-resolution (300 dpi) jpg file by 1 October 2015, to tceditor@stc.org with a brief explanation (100-200 words) of how your work addresses the theme. Submissions will be anonymously reviewed, and a jury of peers will select each issue’s cover. Honorable mentions will be published inside the journal.

More information

Recap of this year’s Summit in Columbus

The 62nd annual Technical Communication Summit took place in Columbus, Ohio from June 21 – 24.

This year’s Summit was another great experience with educational sessions and networking.

A new event this year was Speed Networking. This event gave registrants the opportunity to meet several attendees in a short amount of time. Participants rotated throughout several tables in the one-hour session and gave an overview to introduce themselves. This event gave each participant a chance to meet others who you may not have had the opportunity to meet at the Summit. For those who were interested in making a further connection there were other networking events to follow-up.

stc-sm-summit-1-smallest
Left to right: Kelly, Angel, Sharon, Maryann, Lisa, and Christine. Other members Pat and Emily attended (not pictured).

In addition to the wealth of educational sessions another great feature of the Summit is the Expo Hall. This is a chance to get product demos and ask questions with experts from several software vendors who can provide specific solutions for your company.

The Southeastern Michigan chapter had a great time at the Summit.

Scholarship Opportunities

Are you a technical communication student or do you know one? If so, the following information may be of interest:
The Technical Editing Special Interest Group of the Society for Technical Communication is now accepting applications for a $1400 undergraduate scholarship and a $1400 graduate scholarship for students pursuing studies in technical communication. For more information, go to http://www.stc-techedit.org/Scholarship.

Scholarships Available

STC’s Technical Editing SIG is now accepting scholarship applications. Deadline: July 1, 2014.  Winners will be announced in August 2014. For details, go to: http://www.stc-techedit.org/Scholarship.  This is a wonderful opportunity for students enrolled in either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in technical communication (or related field) who hope to pursue a career as a Technical Editor.  As with any scholarship application process, the key is to make sure you follow through on all the requirements and that you do so with professionalism. As a member of the Technical Editing SIG, I once served on the committee that reviewed the scholarship applications, and I can assure you a lot of work and time goes into reviewing the materials of all those who apply.  Good luck to any and all who participate!

Letter from the Membership Manager

Announcing a New Batch of Local Casual Networking Events

Your local Southeastern Michigan chapter of STC is unveiling some new dates for upcoming casual networking events around the metropolitan Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. Some are lunches and some are happy hour events this time. Please RSVP in advance if you’ll be attending so we make sure to have enough seating available and so we can notify you if something changes. At these events, attendees are responsible for purchasing their own food/beverages, but the camaraderie and conversation are free!

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Networking happy hour, 4–6 p.m., at Mr. Joe’s, 26077 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield. RSVP by noon on Monday, February24 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Friday, March 7, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30–1:00, at Palm Palace, Carpenter Rd., Ann Arbor area. RSVP by noon on Thursday, 3/6 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014: Networking happy hour, 4–6 p.m., at Doc’s Sports Retreat on Victor Parkway in Livonia (off I-275 and 7 Mile). RSVP by noon on Tuesday 3/18 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014: Networking lunch, 11:30 -1:00, at Niki’s, 735 Beaubien (Greektown) in Downtown Detroit. RSVP by Wednesday, April 16 to membership@stc-sm.org.
  • TBD: Another networking event for Detroit’s northern suburbs…stay tuned for date and place.

Free STC Webinar: Using STC Resources to Find Employment

  • Presenter: Dr. Jackie Damrau
  • When: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
  • Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m., EST

To register, send an email to cindy@paofamily.com

Description

STC members will learn how to use STC website resources to help them in finding their ideal job. We start off by covering the Ten Tips to Your Ideal Dream Job with the associated STC website resources used to supplement each tip. We then conclude by quickly walking through Four Career Search Tips for What Not To Do, and the 80/20 Rule During Interviews.

About Dr. Damrau

Dr. Jackie Damrau is a Sr. Business Systems Analyst at CBRE. In her current role, Jackie models business processes and other department workgroup processes using BPMN modeling notation for determining workflow automation of existing paper-based processes or improving existing business processes. Jackie has more than 25 years of technical communication experience. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), member of the STC North Texas Lone Star chapter and the Instructional Design and Learning SIG, and the Book Review Editor for Technical Communication. Jackie’s past international positions have been as a SIG manager for the Instructional Design and Learning SIG; assistant SIG manager for the Management SIG; elected member of the Nominations Committee; and general manager of the STC International Summit Awards (2010-2012). Jackie enjoys reading literature, sociology, linguistics, and philosophy. Find her on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/jackiedamrau) or on Twitter (@damrauja).

—Mary Jo David, STC-SM Membership Manager

Final post from the Summit!

As the hectic schedule of another summer starts to wind down, many of us have begun turning our attention from time spent with family and friends during all-too-short vacations and time off from work, to refocus on our technical communication careers and clients. And as I start to think about all my wonderful experiences and memories of the past few months, and the challenges to be addressed during the rest of the year, I can’t help but remember all of the outstanding learning opportunities that this year’s STC Summit provided to me. So I thought I’d pen a few lines and summarize for you most, but not all, of what I experienced in Atlanta (like Las Vegas, what happens in Atlanta…).

In my earlier blog, which I posted midway through the Summit, I spoke primarily about the ideas, comments, and especially the people I was exposed to at Leadership Day (the one-day session that is held before the conference and is intended to provide community leaders with much of the information and training that they will need). It was, as I indicated previously, a fabulous and very valuable experience. It allowed me to hear and discuss firsthand with other community leaders the excitement, frustration, anxiety, and personal satisfaction that we all feel and need to share. Topics ranged from reports from STC International officers and leaders, to discussions on effective community financial management, providing high-value programs and events, mentoring our community members, officers and friends, and increasing the value of STC membership. And my meetings with leaders and members from other geographical communities and special interest groups provided an outstanding opportunity to share ideas about what does (and doesn’t) work, references for available resources, and opportunities to “cry in our beer” together (figuratively speaking, of course). The networking and educational opportunities are high on my list of value-added activities at an event like the Summit, and I intend to use these fresh resources and experiences to find solutions to the challenges we face as a community.

Equally important, though, were the many sessions and vendor demonstrations and seminars that were held Monday through Wednesday after Leadership Day, and I found many topics that I wanted to learn more about. By my count, I participated in 11 different conference sessions ranging from using content management systems, interviewing subject matter experts, using graphs and visuals to convey messages, implementing functional design, and applying the 10 golden rules of global content. I also stopped by the booths of multiple vendors and service suppliers, who offered a wealth of information regarding their products, how best to apply them, and the competitive advantages that they offered. By the way, one of the vendors, Doc-to-Help, provided flash drives loaded with all of the proceedings and papers from the Summit. If you’re interested in reviewing any or all of the materials from Summit, please let me know and I’ll make it available to you.

Finally, I found that another important feature of the Summit was the opportunity to see our STC leaders in action. Their presence at the Leadership Day activities and the annual business meeting held during the Summit, and their remarks and observations in casual conversations and during the closing ceremonies, all helped make STC International’s presence and involvement in our profession a little more palpable. Even though I didn’t agree with everything I saw or heard, their stake and commitment to furthering the best interests of our noble profession are undeniable, and they deserve our continued support.

So will I go to the Summit again next year? I will if I’m able, although I don’t think going each and every year is a “must.” It really depends on what will be offered in future Summit conferences, and what resources or information I’m looking for at the time. But if you have never attended a Summit before, or even if it’s been a while since your last one, I’d start saving up your pennies for 2014. And you might want to take along your golf clubs or tennis racket, and stay a few extra days – next year is in Phoenix, and you know what they say about all work and no play!

Tom Glennan, STC-SM president

Note: The 2013 STC Summit took place May 5-8 in Atlanta GA. The 2014 STC Summit is scheduled for May 18-21 in Phoenix AZ. Visit summit.stc.org for more details.

Hello from the Summit!

Hello from soggy Atlanta, Georgia! Daily highs in the mid-40s to low 50s, rain, wind, and morning fog – it must be STC Summit time in Georgia. In spite of the weather, this year’s Summit program has really been outstanding, and the learning and networking opportunities so far have really made this trip worthwhile. So I thought I’d drop a quick note about my thoughts and experiences before starting my Tuesday afternoon sessions.

Sunday I attended my first Leadership Day, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience. As the STC-SM chapter’s incoming president, I’ve been anxious to learn everything I can about the duties and responsibilities of my new office, and compare notes and experiences with the leadership from other communities who attended the event. While it’s apparent to me after hearing some of the speakers and discussion leaders on Sunday (and yesterday afternoon at the business meeting) that the Society and many other communities are facing many of the same challenges and difficulties that we are at STC-SM, it’s also very clear that the leaders I’ve met are up to the task. I was really encouraged by the sense of togetherness that I felt when speaking with others, and the resources that are available to us. Maryann Bowen and I have already talked several times with each other and with other chapter leaders and members. (For example, I had lunch with the Southeast Ohio chapter yesterday, of which I am also a member.) We’ve been putting together our lists of things to tackle and the options available to us as we work to build upon and expand the recent successes of our chapter, while also preparing for the future with new ideas and approaches. We’ll be sharing these ideas with you and with the Leadership Council over the coming weeks and months.

Of course, I’ve also been focused on using my participation at the Summit as an excellent opportunity to learn and apply many ideas for adding new or improved skills and abilities to my technical communicator toolbox, as well as my personal branding and career development. The Summit has been very beneficial and informative, beginning with an excellent case study yesterday on single-source collaboration for developing a training program materials, and subsequent sessions on using content management systems and sharpening my subject matter expert interviewing skills, as well as some sessions with vendors to better understand how to apply their products, And a free newly published book on how to use Adobe® FrameMaker® 11 was the icing on the cake (so far).

Well, I need to catch the progression session on writing and editing, but I’ll send an additional blog posting at the Summit’s conclusion. In the meantime, send me an email (tglennan@twsinfo.com, and no, I don’t do Facebook® or Twitter®) if you have any comments or questions, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Tom Glennan
Incoming STC-SM president