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Connections. MATC 1999-2009. Program Highlights. Dr. June Hankins wrote the proposal for the MATC in fall 1998-spring 1999. The MATC was approved by the Texas State Board of Regents in summer 1999.

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  1. Connections MATC 1999-2009

  2. Program Highlights

  3. Dr. June Hankins wrote the proposal for the MATC in fall 1998-spring 1999.

  4. The MATC was approved by the Texas State Board of Regents in summer 1999.

  5. Dr. Libby Allison came on board as the program director in fall 1999. There were “no courses, no faculty, and no students” when she first stepped into the position.

  6. The first MATC classes were held in portable buildings at the Multi Institute Teaching Center (MITC), a collective facility for different campuses, near Westwood High School.

  7. The first class Dr. Allison taught was Foundations in Technical Communication in fall 1999. Dr. Williams was a student in her class.

  8. The inaugural class, consisting of Miriam Williams and JoAnn Jarl, graduated from the program in 2001.

  9. Dr. Katherine Ledbetter and Dr. Rebecca Jackson were among the first MATC faculty.

  10. Dr. Miriam Williams joined the MATC faculty as a lecturer in fall 2004, while she completed her dissertation, and in fall 2005 she began as an Assistant Professor. She has recently earned tenure and a promotion to Associate Professor.

  11. In fall 2006, Dr. Pinfan Zhu and Dr. Deborah Balzhiser joined the MATC faculty as Assistant Professors.

  12. The MATC began to offer online hybrid courses when the MITC moved to the Round Rock Higher Education Center (RRHEC) in fall 2006.

  13. Dr. Williams taught the first online MATC course, Writing Public Policy, in fall 2005. Now more than half of the courses are offered as online hybrid classes.

  14. In fall 2006, Texas State transitioned from Blackboard to TRACS, and the MATC began to use this web-based collaborative environment for its hybrid online classes.

  15. In fall 2008, the MATC revised its degree plan. The revised degree plan requires students to submit a portfolio developed from coursework as their final exam. Additionally, the cognate/minor is now an optional supplement (rather than a requirement) to the degree.

  16. Total number of MATC graduates: 58 as of spring 2009, 60 anticipated by fall 2009.

  17. More MATC students are coming from outside the region, particularly as distance learning courses have become more integral to the program.

  18. MATC students have learned software programs such as Framemaker, RoboHelp, Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver), and Microsoft Office.

  19. Of the MATC program, Dr. Allison says, “We’ve morphed as the times have changed.” In part, technology has shaped the program, and in part the program has developed through the faculty’s diverse expertise and research interests. The two most important things in university teaching, says Dr. Allison, are to remain “current and relevant.”

  20. While scholars continue to debate and negotiate a definition of technical communication, Dr. Allison warns against defining the field too narrowly: “Once you start defining it, once you start building the boundaries, it becomes a box.”

  21. The University Council has formally endorsed the Department’s proposal to offer the MA in Technical Communication as a hybrid degree (in-person/online). Congratulations to Dr. Libby Allison and the MATC faculty for this next step in the evolution of the program.

  22. Alumni Profiles

  23. Lauren Allen Graduated: 2005 Current Position: Project Manager, National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center How has the MATC degree benefited you? “The MATC courses are the knowledge base that has allowed me to groom my experience in emergency management, a discipline once foreign to me, into a fast advancing and rewarding career.”

  24. Melissa Boettcher Graduated: 2008 Current Position: Executive Assistant, End Op, LP How has the MATC degree benefited you? “It really helped me better formulate my thoughts into writing. I find I use my degree every time I draft a contract.”

  25. Bryce Dishongh Graduated: 2007 Current Position: Technical Writer, Prologic Technology Systems, Inc. How has the MATC degree benefited you? “The program taught me how to think analytically as a communicator. …looking at various types of discourse through theoretical perspectives showed me how those discourses work socially, ethically, and culturally, and why they are or are not effective.”

  26. Jo Jarl Graduated: 2001 Current Position: Technical Writer, IBM How has the MATC degree benefited you? “I am using my MATC degree to learn about new technology and about the way Information Technology enterprise solutions help companies set up and maintain their databases, storage facilities, and product dashboards.”

  27. Jennifer C. Ramirez Johnson Graduated: 2007 Current Position: Supervisor, Information Development/Product Manager, Special Projects, Di Nippon Printing, Photo Imaging America Division How has the MATC degree benefited you? “The many years I spent managing both the MATC website and Blackboard (Gato), has helped immensely. I have created a systematic go-to site for some of our more complex projects so that installers, trainers and sales people can all have their questions answered quickly and correctly.”

  28. Carol Landry Graduated: 2004 Current Position: Manager, Information Technology Services at the Texas Department of Insurance How has the MATC degree benefited you? “My MATC degree helped me feel more prepared to write and edit the many reports and technical documents that are completed in my area of the information technology division.”

  29. Laura Lavergne Graduated: 2003 Current Position: Communications Director, Office of Admissions at the University of Texas at Austin How has the MATC degree benefited you? “One of the best things about going through the MATC program is that it gave me the opportunity to focus on what matters in communication.”

  30. Susan Leininger Graduated: 2005 Current Position: Owner, Leininger LLC How has the MATC degree benefited you? “The MATC offered credibility as I re-entered the workforce after being on the “mommy-track” for 15+ years. Having the degree on my resume helped bridge the time-gap on my resume.”

  31. Lonie McMichael Graduated: 2005 Current Position: Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Part-time Instructor, and Assistant Editor to TCQ, Texas Tech University How has the MATC degree benefited you? “Master’s was required before PhD, prepared for scholarly career.”

  32. Cheri Mullins Graduated: 2006 Current Position: Consultant, Mullins Consulting; Writing Center Consultant, UT Dallas How has the MATC degree benefited you? “My MATC [degree] was an important credential for me in negotiations with and management of overseas operations. It was also essential for my admission into the PhD program at Texas Tech.”

  33. Jennifer Thomas Graduated: 2007 Current Position: Freelance Copyeditor How has the MATC degree benefited you? “Through MATC, I improved my writing and communication skills, especially in the technical and teaching fields. …As a copyeditor, I not only correct grammatical errors—I also make suggestions to improve the reader’s experience with the material.”

  34. Alyson Wagner Graduated: 2008 Current Position: Legal Administrative Assistant, Nickens Keeton Lawless Farrell & Flack LLP How has the MATC degree benefited you? “Earning this degree gave me a great sense of achievement, inciting me to expand the vision of my current job to the role of technical communicator and to further develop my interests in writing, editing and graphic design.”

  35. Brooke Wehrmann Graduated: 2007 Current Position: Technical Writer, National Instruments How has the MATC degree benefited you? “I have been able to present on and apply concepts I learned in Document Design courses. Also, the real-world group projects we did in the MATC program prepared me for similar projects at work.”

  36. Bradford Wible Graduated: 2008 Current Position: Technical Writer, X Technologies, Inc. How has the MATC degree benefited you? “I probably would not have been awarded this job without an advanced degree, since I did not have any previous technical writing experience.”

  37. Miriam Williams Graduated: 2001 Current Position: Associate Professor of English, MATC at Texas State University How has the MATC degree benefited you? “During my time in the MATC program, I realized that I wanted to conduct research related to government discourse and intercultural communication. The MATC program was the impetus for continued studies in the field.”

  38. Sarah Wilson Graduated: 2003 Current Position: Project Editor, Voyager Learning Company How has the MATC degree benefited you? “My MATC degree has provided me with a skill set that is different from the majority of my coworkers, who are former elementary and secondary teachers. I have been exposed to research methods, academic concepts, and publishing tools that help me fill a niche in my department.”

  39. Alumni/Student News

  40. MATC student Vita Haake’s book review of XML in Technical Communication by Charles Cowan was published in the August 2009 issue of the STC journal Technical Communication. Vita wrote the review as an assignment as part of a graduate course she took last fall.

  41. MATC student Janice Ringersma presented at the 2009 Computers and Writing conference at the University of California-Davis on using technology for service learning projects in rural communities.

  42. MATC student Emmelyn Wang was elected to serve a second season as the Director of Education, Seminars, and acting Program Manager for the Austin chapter of the STC. She also received the Graduate Scholars Scholarship. 

  43. 2008 MATC graduate Michael Trice, who was recently named 2009 Outstanding Graduate Student in English, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship.  He will work on a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies at the University of Leeds’ Centre for Digital Citizenship in England. Trice’s research looks at how groups use specialized wikis—collaborative websites whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to them—to store community histories and practices.

  44. MATC student Rebecca Abbott received the Celebrity Classic Scholarship.

  45. MATC student Sean Doran, a technical writer for Biomat’s Austin Testing Laboratory, has been invited by Grifols—Biomat’s parent company and the third largest supplier of plasma products in the world—to train employees about technical writing for Grifols’ new International Training Academy in Arizona.

  46. MATC student Jennifer Osburn has been hired as a technical writer for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

  47. MATC student Amanda Grover’s presentation, “The Perils of Teaching Technical Writing for the Hypothetical Workplace: How Avoiding Pseudotransactionality Can Lead to Megacognitive Curriculum,” was accepted by the Arkansas Philological Conference at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in October 2008.

  48. Faculty News

  49. Miriam Williams has accepted an invitation to join the editorial review board of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication (JBTC). The JBTC is a top journal in the field of Technical Communication.

  50. Dr. Pinfan Zhu’s article, “Semantic Problems that Affect International Business,” was published in the June issue of Journal for Global Business Education. Also, Dr. Zhu has been invited to serve as a referee for Technical Communication. His article, “An Application of Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction to the Teaching of Web Localization,” will appear in an upcoming issue of Technical Writing and Communication.

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