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The Professional and Technical Communication (PTC) program provides a formal, practical course of study that prepares students to understand and communicate the relationship between individuals and their technologically oriented society.
To prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors required to succeed in a technical communication work environment, as evidenced by a 95-percent placement rate of PTC graduates.
To prepare students to accept the challenge of successfully completing professional and technical communication tasks in any field of work or study, and for any audience, as PTC graduates are hired in a broad range of positions.
To provide instruction in current-generation technologies that apply principles of effective design, including a variety of print and digital media in which students demonstrate mastery of at least one medium.
To enable student to function ethically and professionally on multidisciplinary teams through completion of community-based service learning projects, internships, peer reviews, and a capstone course in which they complete a project for an actual client.
Program faculty model the professional behaviors they expect of their students, including engagement with leading-edge technologies, involvement in academic, professional, and industrial organizations, application of communication theory to social and industrial needs, and awareness and appreciation of multiculturalism.
The department’s new-media studio features state-of-the-art interactive nonlinear digital video editing, media compression, web authoring, and interactive DVD authoring systems. Our graphic production studio is designed for digital imaging, new media development, and desktop publishing on PC or Macintosh platforms using current-generation software. Additionally, we provide a usability testing laboratory with state-of-the art software and hardware testing facilities.
Career Path Options
Professional and Technical Communication (PTC) program graduates and interns are writers, editors, and purveyors of complex information in such fields as engineering, medicine, the environment, and a wide range of sciences. Some are document designers who incorporate graphics, photography, artwork, and scanned data into documents. Some are marketing and public information staff who prepare and produce flyers, correspondence, videos, displays, and electronic presentations. Others are teachers or trainers, software documenters, grant-proposal writers, usability testing specialists, Web-page producers, or producers of CDs and DVDs.
With each graduating class, the demands of new technologies and new business enterprises add challenging and rewarding career options to a rapidly growing list.
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:
- Collaborate effectively with subject-matter experts and coworkers.
- Provide clear writing for a specific audience directed by clearly defined purposes.
- Analyze the needs of users (through applying audience analysis techniques for the design and writing of documents).
- Assess and learn new technology and reach new audiences with new technology.
- Critique one’s own work and the work of other professional communicators.
- Employ word-processing, document-design, graphics, drawing, desktop publishing, and presentation software.
- Establish an effective tone and style in technical and professional documentation.
- Achieve a set of expectations and values by observing ethical and legal considerations when communicating.
- Develop production-quality documents, online information, and websites.
- Conduct informational and problem-solving interviews.
- Write and design memos, letters, email, websites, and other practical communication.
- Address communication conflicts in small groups arising from participant diversity.
- Comprehensively edit a document (using levels of edit concepts, usability testing, field-testing, etc.)
- Conduct contextual inquiry (on-site interviews and observations for users and task analysis).
- Use online environments for the learning of content information in both educational and professional contexts.
[Note: The above program outcomes are adapted from recently published research by the Society for Technical Communication. These research results are based on reported competencies from the ten largest technical communication undergraduate programs in the United States and from 67 technical communication managers. Source: K.T. Rainey, R.K. Turner, and D. Dayton, “Core Competencies for Technical Communicators,” Technical Communication (August 2005), Vol. 52, No. 3, pages 323-352]
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The Professional & Technical Commnication degree offers students five educational concentrations. These concentrations allow students to focus on their specific interests and career goals.
ProgramsBachelor of ScienceGraduate CertificateNon-Degree