Call for Proposals
2008 Annual Conference of the Council for Programs in Technical and
Scientific Communication

Conference Location: Minneapolis, MN
Conference Dates: October 2-4, 2008

Conference Theme: Programs in Context: Past, Present, and Future

Thirty-five years ago, a group of educators came together in
Minneapolis, MN to examine how the context in which technical and
scientific communication programs existed affected the nature of those
programs. That group called itself the Council for Programs in
Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC), and since its
founding, a central objective of CPTSC has been to examine the
contexts in which programs in technical and scientific communication
are developed and delivered.

Over time, a variety of forces have changed the contexts in which
professional practices, research foci, and educational approaches in
technical and scientific communication occur. The nature of technical
and scientific communication has, in turn, evolved in response to
changing technical, organizational, social, and cultural contexts.
Academic programs in technical and scientific communication have
similarly changed and adapted to address such factors. For these
reasons, the 35th anniversary of CPTSC’s founding marks an important
time for members to consider how constant contextual changes have
affected, are affecting, and are likely in the future to affect our
programs. The 35th annual conference, in turn, brings CPTSC back to
Minneapolis, MN, the site, or geographic context, of CPTSC’s first
annual meeting in order to examine this theme.

As program administrators, we need to understand not only simple
causes and effects but also the complex contexts out of which changes
affecting programs arise. The 2008 Annual Conference of the CPTSC
wishes to address these ideas by inviting proposals for presentations
that examine how contextual factors from local to global, may
influence and be influenced by technical communication programs,
directly or indirectly. Such contextual factors might include academic
resources, geography, demographics, natural environment and climate,
economic climate and budgets, social and cultural situations,
politics, and of course, developments in technology and science. We
welcome a variety of perspectives and approaches—historical,
pragmatic, empirical, or theoretical.

As we consider the past, present, and future contexts of our programs,
we would also like to celebrate the life of Victoria Mikelonis, who
invited us to Minneapolis for our 35th anniversary, and who passed
away on August 14, 2007. She was present at the founding of CPTSC and
was vital in many ways to the continuing development of our field.

Possible Topic Areas
Suggested topic areas for CPTSC conference proposals include but are
not limited to examinations of the following (some of these topics
could be addressed from historical perspectives or from perspectives
that look to the future):

• How might technical communication programs reach beyond the
contingencies of their localities to have a more far-reaching impact?

• How do service-area populations shape program design and delivery?

• What role should service learning play in the current and future
development of programs?

• What strategies have programs developed for sustaining and extending
their mission in times of budget troubles and economic downturns?

• In what ways are programs affected by and responding to emerging
socio-cultural changes such as changing literacies, socio-cultural
diversity awareness, linguistic diversity, changes in practices and
attitudes toward health care, or social networking practices and

• How should programs address local-to-global changes in climate and
other aspects of the natural environment?

• In what ways do programs respond to the political contexts in which
technical communication is implicated (e.g., electoral processes,
international diplomacy, immigration politics, national security, and
education reform politics)?

• How might the context affecting technical and scientific community
change in the future, what forces might cause such changes, and what
can technical communication programs do to address such forces

• How have the changing contexts affecting graduate education led to
new and different generations of educators who have different
objectives for programs?

• How are online media changing the contexts in which technical
communication programs provide education to a changing student base?

The CPTSC conference emphasizes discussion. The audience includes
people from new, as well as established, programs and anyone with
programmatic interests in technical and scientific communication. We
welcome participants – administrators, faculty, and graduate students
– from secondary, community college, or university levels, as well as
representatives of industry.

Two kinds of presentation options are available at the CPTSC Annual Conference:

Position Paper
Position paper presentations must adhere to the following guidelines:

• Participants present five-minute position papers on programmatic
issues (rather than reports of specialized research or presentations
of particular teaching strategies) in order to generate discussion.

• Format does not allow for slide show presentations.

• Proceedings, published after the conference, often include expanded
versions of position papers.

• Proceedings will only include those papers presented at the meeting.

Poster Presentation
Poster presentations must adhere to the following guidelines:

• Participants make five-minute poster presentations on programmatic issues.

Samples proposals/abstracts for last year’s CPTSC conference can be
found online at should
individuals wish to review them in preparation for crafting their own
proposals for the 2008 CPTSC Conference.

Proposals for both Position Papers and Poster Presentations must
explicitly note how the presenters will address both programmatic
issues and the conference theme in the related paper or poster

Proposals are due by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time on June 6, 2008.
Proposals should be submitted as .rtf files attached to email messages
that are sent to

For program questions, please contact the Program Chairs at

One Response to “Call for Proposals: CPTSC 2008”

[...] been extended from Friday June 6th at 5pm to Monday June 16th at 5pm. The full call can be seen in my previous post or on the website. The conference theme is “Programs in Context: Past, Present, and [...]

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