PCS Newsletters Archive–Everything Old is New Again!

The header from the first IEEE Group on Engineering Writing and Speech

Bell-bottom jeans, disco music, and a Dodge Dart--if you take a look at consumer culture, you would suspect that we are in the midst of a 70's revival.  In the case of PCS, you need look no further than the PCS Newsletters Archive, now available on the PCS website. These newsletters first began appearing in August 1970 and covered a variety of … [Read more...]

What Works in the Workplace? Communication Competence and Technical Skills

Interpersonal Competencies and Technical Skills--Double Whammy!

There has been a lot of conversation and consternation around one important issue:  how can we best prepare college students for the world of work?  Responses to a survey conducted by Bentley University through their PreparedU Project suggest that a combination of both interpersonal competencies and technical skills represents the best way to … [Read more...]

The “A” Word Redux

In the fall of 2012, I posted on a topic that strikes fear in the hearts of engineering educators--ABET, Inc.  At that time, one year ago, my campus was preparing for the site visit of ABET evaluators, a three day examination of our labs, faculty, students, facilities, and student work products.  The result of the visit would determine, to a … [Read more...]

IPCC 2013 in Vancouver

DSC_0043

IPCC 2013 kicked off Sunday evening on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia Vancouver.  Registration opened at 3:00 PM, and we had the chance to greet old friends and meet new ones. The conference swings into gear today at 8:00 AM with the keynote address by Dr. Bernard Amadei, professor of civil engineering at the … [Read more...]

It’s Almost Here–IPCC 2013 in Vancouver

Beautiful scenery and memorable speakers--who could ask for more?

One week from today, we will kick off IPCC 2013 on the campus of the University of British Columbia Vancouver!  With a beautiful setting, a fantastic program of presenters, and an all star lineup of keynoters, IPCC 2013 promises to inform and delight. We look forward to seeing you and/or meeting you in Vancouver. Check out the conference website … [Read more...]

Will Communicate For Food

In a recent article in the New York Times, Alina Tugend posed the eternal question that often crops up at this time of year--what are the skills college graduates should possess to make them employable?  You may be surprised that the answer is not more technical skills.  Quoting from a special report by the Chronicle of Higher Education and … [Read more...]

The Power of Presentations

Giving a good presentation is key to success as a technical professional.

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the IEEE Professional Communication Society are partnering this year to bring communication content to members of both societies.  In case you missed it, the webinar entitled "The Power of Presentations" was presented on Wednesday, April 3.  It attracted a broad and diverse audience, with members of … [Read more...]

The Golden Rule of Clarity

All writing should be as clear as an open window on a sunny day.

I often hear engineers complain about the lack of clarity in the writing they read. Sometimes this complaint is phrased in terms like "this report doesn't flow," or "I can't understand what the point of this memo is."  Teaching engineering students to write clearly is my job, of course, and teaching clarity is one of my three favorite lessons to … [Read more...]

I’m Back!

tunnel

My academic term--the winter quarter that began before Christmas and runs 10 weeks--is coming to an end. As my vision clears, I realize that I haven't been a responsible blogger for some time.  Students in my Technical Communication class have received most of my attention, and I am confident that they are better engineering writers than they were … [Read more...]

Next stop: Doha, Qatar!

Doha at night is a great time to view its many skyscrapers and lights.

In my role as president of PCS, I was invited to participate in the first World Congress on Engineering Education, sponsored by Texas A&M University at Qatar and the Maersk Oil Company.  The event brought together engineering educators, industry representatives, and members of government for three days of workshops, sessions, and vibrant … [Read more...]