Professional and Technical Writing program gets new name, may become a BA

29 January 2019

Edna Newey

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    The Professional and Technical Writing program is changing its name to the Technical Communication and Information Design (TCID) program next fall as it becomes a program independent of the English department.

    Interim dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Robert “Rex” Welshon said in a statement circulated for English faculty and staff that the TCID program currently offers no degrees but has a degree proposal before the college for a Bachelor of Arts (BA). The English Department will continue to offer professional writing courses.

    The change comes and is partially due to recent changes in other disciplines.

    “We have worked with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to develop our new degree plan, as well as VAPA, Communications and the Department of English. The cross-disciplinary aspect of the proposed BA in TCID is one of its strengths, “ said acting English Department Chair Lesley Ginsberg.

    The TCID program will continue to operate independently of the English department regardless of whether or not a BA is approved for the program, but will continue to oversee the TCID emphasis.

    “Industry demands that technical writers have strong technical literacy and adaptability, and the new degree plan will ensure that graduates are prepared,” said Baye Herald, director of the Professional and Technical Writing Program.

    “If and when all of the above [process for offering a BA degree] is approved, the English department will no longer offer an emphasis in Technical Writing,” said Welshon.

    Until that time, little else is expected to change for students and their experience. The most distinct change will be in some technical writing classes where the ENGL prefix will switch to TCID.

    Such skills are valuable in the workforce ranging from journalistic to mechanical skills. Projected demand in writing based jobs means that UCCS is staying ahead of the curve to ensure relevancy of skills for students entering the job market. The new TCID program will also open pathways for cross-disciplinary academic interests.

    Herald and others of the PTW program are currently in negotiation with the College of Engineering to create a BI in User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX). Should this go through, Herald expects the degree to be a popular one.

    “There are many job opportunities for UI/UX designers, but very few undergraduate programs offering this kind of preparation,” she said.

    Change and reinvigoration of student experience has been a continuing theme from the beginning of the school year. While it can be anxiety inducing to think of how much change is in progress, it is programs like the proposed TCID that remind students how change can be an otherwise missed opportunity for expansion for both students and the university.