School of Literature and Language Endowed Chair seeks to enhance program

January 12, 2017


John Stack
Staff Reporter | jes062@latech.edu



With the global community now being available to everyone as his or her own personal business community, properly knowing how to communicate has become of paramount importance.



“The technical writing and communication program is in the process of evaluating our courses, adding new ones, and innovating the program in general,” said Dr. Susan Roach, director of the School of Literature and Language. “We have brought in Dr. Kirk St. Amant to the Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair in Technical Communication in the School of Literature and Language to serve as coordinator of technical communication.”



She said she is excited to have someone of his caliber here on Tech’s faculty.



St. Amant is the coauthor of two books recently published: “Teaching and Training for Global Engineering: Perspectives on Culture and Professional Communication Practices,” a guide for engineering educators, and “Rethinking Post- Communist Rhetoric: Perspectives on Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication in Post-Soviet Spaces.”



He recently moved to Tech from East Carolina University in North Carolina, and he is the past president of the Council for Programs in Technical Writing and Scientific Communication, an organization dedicated to the development and administration of programs in technical writing and communication. He is also a previous member of the Administrative Committee of the IIEE Professional Communication Society, a professional organization focusing on effective communication in engineering.



St. Amant will revise technical writing courses for both the graduate and undergraduate programs and explore connections to integrate more outreach and service into the classes. He will also be working to develop a center for health and medical communication learning projects at Tech.



“The biggest thing is to provide students with the skills and abilities that meet the needs of today’s society,” St. Amant said. “It is aligning the curriculum courses with marketplace expectations, needs and demands.”



He said the trick for the students is twofold: first, they need to learn very quickly how to take incredibly complicated concepts and condense them into meaningful communication results that can be shared with different kinds of audiences from all over the world. Second, is employability.



“What is gainful employment for students?” St. Amant said. “Employment that allows them a degree of creativity that they can use to sustain a career that they want to have for their rest of their lives, but also flexible. They can develop a skill set that can be used, and or moved, to any organization.”



The ability to communicate about certain topics and concepts is universal, but they must be understood.



He said it is a question of knowing how to communicate ideas not just in writing, but in online media, in video, in spoken presentation, of having a skill set that one can fall back upon in just about any given circumstance―having skill sets that can be applied across a range of industries.


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