University of Wisconsin - Stout

Below you will find the response to the Planning and Review Committee’s recommendations completed by the program director, department chair, and the dean’s office.

Recommendations for the Program Director

  1. Work with other department members; continue to review the curriculum in an effort to avoid unnecessary overlap.

Response:  Work on these issues has already begun. At the end of its fourth year, the technical communication program’s industry advisory board presented members of the core program faculty recommendations for a large-scale revamping of the curriculum, not only to update it but to set it apart from competing programs in the region and worldwide. To bring the board’s recommendations to reality, the program launched the new curriculum development process on September 24, 2004, with a day-long program faculty retreat involving faculty and staff members from the departments of Art & Design; English & Philosophy; and Speech Communication, Foreign Languages, Theater, and Music. The day began with a keynote presentation by Dr. James Romano, a program advisory board member, and was followed by brainstorming of new courses.

Following the retreat, a three-person steering committee was formed to fashion a new program mission statement and objectives/outcomes and sift through the retreat’s brainstorming to devise a new and updated course curriculum that would fit the University’s 124-credit maximum. The steering committee’s recommendations will be reviewed by the advisory board at its May 20, 2005, meeting and by the program committee and English & Philosophy Department in September 2005. Thereafter, the new and updated courses will be planned and presented to the appropriate approval committees, with the aim of implementing the new curriculum with the freshman class of 2006. The steering committee’s proposed curriculum addresses the concerns voiced in the student surveys and alluded to in the PRC’s report.

2.         In cooperation with the department chair and the college dean, continue to work to develop and implement a solid program marketing plan.


Response from the Program Director

  1. The chief thrust of the program’s recruiting efforts over the next few years will be the Stout Writing Relays, a competition that brings high school students to the Stout campus, where they then learn from the program’s faculty and current students about the technical communication field and program. The English & Philosophy Department put all plans in place for an April 2005 competition but found high school teachers had objections to the timing or had not received notification of the event. To remedy these problems before the 2006 event, the College of Arts & Sciences is preparing to send a three-person panel to the October 14, 2005, Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English & Language Arts convention, where they will staff an information booth and have a place on the convention program to talk about Stout, the technical communication program, and the Stout Writing Relays.

Recommendations for the English and Philosophy Department Chair

  1. Be supportive of the program director and his efforts to purchase adequate software needed to better serve the students.
  2. Be supportive of the program director and his efforts to seek department faculty support and participation.
  3. Be supportive of the need to develop and implement a solid marketing plan designed to increase student enrollment and retention.
  4. supportive of the program’s need to recruit and retain faculty qualified to teach in the program.

Response from the Department Chair

  1. The department’s funds for supplies and software are modest but where we can buy software that the program needs, we do.   We are also supportive of attempts by the program director and other instructors in the program to improve software through grants, lab mod, and end-of-the-year purchases with money from the dean.  Two years ago we ranked program-related software needs at the top of our end-of-the-year wish list.  This year we supported a large and successful lab mod request.
  2. There have been some problems selling everyone in the department on the importance of the program and their participation in it.  We have worked on this in a number of ways, assigning program-related tasks to department members, setting up several departmental forums at which the program and its relationship to the department have been discussed at length, and bringing in other program directors to talk about their relationships with their parent departments.  This year we instituted a policy whereby job candidates have been required to spend some time talking to the program director and learning about what will be required of them, even when they aren’t primarily being hired to teach program-related courses.  We have also set up a committee which has been charged with coming up with a graphic representation of the department, covering all of its job positions, the people currently holding those positions, and the various tasks that need to be done for both the department and the program.  We’re hoping that this graphic representation will help clarify our needs.
  3. Department members have lent their support to recruiting through participation in the Stout Writing Relays event.  Although this event has not yet been successful, we will be sending faculty to a conference in Madison next semester to better advertise it.
  4. The department has been highly supportive of the program in this regard, having hired three new program-related faculty members in the last two years, with a fourth new hire already completed for next year and candidates for a fifth program-related hire interviewing this week and next.

Recommendations for the Dean

  1. Be supportive of the program director and the chair in their efforts to identify and fund the purchase of software for the program.

  2. Be supportive of the need to develop and implement a solid marketing plan designed to increase student enrollment and retention.
  3. Be supportive of the program’s need to recruit and retain faculty qualified to teach in the program.

Response from the Department Chair and the Dean

  1. After meeting with the program director and department chair to discuss this issue it was decided to allocate $5,000 annually to the program for purchase of software.  Although there may be times when this sum is not sufficient, it was felt that on average it would meet current needs for software updates.  It was also discussed that the program would work with the Art and Design Department to coordinate the purchase of mutually used software.
  2. This was discussed with the program director and department chair.  The Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts convention is critical to the recruitment efforts with K-12 teachers.  Therefore, the College of Arts and Sciences has agreed to fund a three person panel from the Technical Communication Program to attend this convention.  We also plan to continue discussions regarding a more “targeted marketing” strategy and the funds that would be needed to do so.
  3. The College of Arts and Sciences is well aware of the need to recruit and retain qualified faculty in all areas of the college.  Salary savings (from retirement replacements) over the past several years have accumulated to the point at which the college can now begin to address salary inequities.  CAS will allocate over $120,000 in base funding to adjust 74 faculty and staff who have been shown to be underpaid according to CUPA analysis.  This increase in existing salaries will allow us to offer more competitive salaries to future candidates in all disciplines but especially in Technical Communication.  We have just recently hired a highly qualified person in Technical Communication as a result of being able to offer a more competitive package.