In the Write Direction

In the Write Direction

Universities today have to please two consumers—students and the employers that one day will hire them.

The technical communication program at UW-Stout partners with business executives to give students real projects on which to practice their skills. The collaborations also keep the program current with industry needs and expectations. Jim Romano, chief executive officer of Prisma International, is one such business executive who lends his advice and expertise to the program. His company helps businesses communicate globally across languages, cultures and markets. To be prepared for today’s worldwide economy, Romano encourages students to gain international experience and perspectives while they are still in school.

Listening to industry advice pays off. Since 1999, UW-Stout’s technical writing classes have partnered students with university students in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Italy to produce English, German, Dutch, Danish, French, or Italian versions of a set of technical documents. That led to a Transatlantic Translation Project Web site. Throughout the process, students learn to think about culture, time and deadlines in a different way.

Developing relationships with industry not only has helped shape a current curriculum; it also has helped the program develop into one that both students and businesses respect and value. By 2003, the program had grown to be one of the largest in the nation.

The program is also forward thinking. It boasts a Technical Communication Research Center, which provides the latest technology to students. The center is designed to accommodate situations in which students work in groups, learn new software, learn to present materials in a wide range of media, and learn to manage communication projects. Like all of UW-Stout’s academic programs, the technical communication program stays strong because it heeds the advice of its experienced, well-connected advisory board.

For more information on the technical communication program

Outlook Winter 2006 v3