Published on March 4, 2013

Conference Location: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Conference Dates: October 10-12, 2013

Conference Theme: Reflections and Projections: Examining the Status and the Future of Programs in the Field


2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) as an organization.  In those four decades, we’ve regularly come together to examine ideas, trends, technologies, and practices that have caused change in the field, in the development and administration of programs, and in society.  In this way, reflection on the field and on programs—where we have been and where we are now—has been central  to where we wish to go in the future with program development.  Through reflecting upon such factors as a group, and sharing experiences as members of a common field, program administrators in technical and scientific communication are better able to address changes in society and in the field from a programmatic perspective.

As program administrators, we need to understand how the forces and factors that have shaped our programs over time, as well as those currently affecting programs, influence their development for the future.

The 2013 Annual Meeting of the CPTSC wishes to address these ideas by inviting proposals for presentations that examine how reflections on past and current trends, practices, and developments in the field might be used as a guide to facilitate program development for the future. Such factors may be local or global in nature, may influence and be influenced by trends in industry or society, and may result from or drive scholarly research in the discipline. We welcome a variety of perspectives and approaches—historical, pragmatic, empirical, or theoretical – that examine how past and future developments in the field might provide a foundation for examining the future of the field and the programs within it.

Possible Topic Areas

Suggested topic areas for CPTSC conference proposals include, but are not limited to, examinations of the following themes or addressing the following questions:

  • Curriculum Development:
    • What should a core curriculum in technical and scientific communication be? What common outcomes, goals, and topics do programs share?
    • What courses should be revised, expanded, or added to core curricula in technical and scientific communication to better reflect current or future contexts (e.g., social, economic, etc.)?
    • What role should experiential learning (such as service learning, internships, and client-based projects) have in the curriculum?
  • Program Identity:
    • How do we identify or brand our programs so they are recognizable to students, faculty, and administrators at our institutions?  To colleagues or students at other institutions (e.g., marketing graduate programs to students at other institutions; attracting students from high schools, community colleges)?
    • How do we identify or brand our programs so they are recognizable to individuals outside of academia (e.g., prospective employers, parents, legislators, etc.)?   To current and potential industry partners or stakeholders?
    • What strategies can we use to effectively promote our programs both within our own institutions, with other institutions (e.g., high schools, other community colleges, colleges, or universities), and with our local, state, and regional communities?
  • Assessment Practices:
    • What approaches and practices are we using to assess programs in the field?  Are these practices successful, or should they be modified.  (If so, how?)
    • What approaches and practices to assessment could we borrow from other fields (e.g., rhetoric and composition, communication studies, etc.) to help with the assessment of our programs?
  • Industry Relationships:
    • Should programs seek to foster relationships with or to form partnerships with local industry?  If so, what strategies can we use to increase connections with industry in the field?
    • How do (or might) such relationships affect the nature of programs in the field?
  • Online Approaches:
    • How do we position/locate and integrate online classes within a program?
    • What practices can we use to develop and deliver online classes within a program?
    • What potential might exist for sharing, or partnering, in online courses or programs?
  • Service Learning:
    • What role can service-learning play to enhance the experiences of students in our programs?
    • What strategies can we use to integrate a service-learning approach into our individual courses and our overall curricula or programs?
  • Theoretical Foundations:
    • What theories or body of theory should serve as a foundation for research and development on programmatic issues in the field?
    • What steps can we take to effectively integrate and balance the teaching of theory with the teaching of applications in our courses and in our programs?
  • Publishing Practices:
    • What do new and emerging venues for publishing scholarship mean for faculty members teaching in our programs?
    • What steps can we take to develop publishing options (e.g., journals, open access book projects, wiki-based forums) for our programs, and what do such options mean for students and faculty in our programs?
  • Administrative Practices:
    • What can we learn from or adopt (or adapt) from administrative practices in parallel fields (e.g., from writing program administrators)?
    • What mechanisms can we develop for sharing best practices on program administration with other members of the field?
    • What is the current status of perennial administrative problems such as revising and updating/revising/starting programs, advising, funding and maintaining lab space, hiring adjuncts to staff service courses, relationships with other areas in our departments or on campus?
  • Social Forces:
    • What social forces – including economic forces – are affecting or are poised to affect programs in our field?
    • What do these factors mean for the future of programs in our field?
    • What strategies can we use or develop to best address such forces in effective and in meaningful ways?
  • Global Contexts:
    • How do our programs prepare students to work in the modern, global context?
    • What approaches can we take to add international dimensions to our courses and to our programs?
    • How do we find global partners to work with our students?

The CPTSC conference emphasizes discussion and a focus on programmatic issues. The audience includes people from new and 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.

Presentation Formats

Proposals may be submitted for the following kinds of presentations:

  • Individual Presentations: 5-7 minute presentation given by an individual speaker
  • Panel Presentation: A session in which 3-6 individuals spend 20-30 minutes examining a central topic or theme
  • Poster Session: Posters will be on display throughout the conference, and poster creators will present and discuss their posters at a dedicated session during the conference

Submission Guidelines

Interested individuals should submit a 250-400 word proposal that provides the following information:

  • The title of the proposed presentation
  • The kind of presentation (i.e., individual presentation, panel presentation, or poster presentation)
  • The submitter’s name, affiliation, and contact email
  • The topic of the proposed presentation
  • The connection between the proposed presentation to the conference theme
  • A summary of the approach or research method used to examine the proposed presentation topic
  • A summary of what attendees can “take away” from the presentation to apply to or use within the context of their own organizations or programs

All proposals should be submitted as .rtf files attached to an email message sent to:

The subject line of the related email should read “CPTSC 2013 Conference Proposal.”  All proposals will be peer reviewed.

Note: While individuals may submit more than one proposal for consideration, each accepted presenter may give only one presentation at the conference.

Submission Deadlines

Early Submission Deadline – Proposals received on or before 17 May 2013 will be considered “early submissions” and will receive expedited review and consideration for the conference.  (Individuals who submit a proposal for the early submission deadline may also submit a revised proposal for the regular review deadline.)

Regular Submission Deadline – Proposals received on or before 8 July 2013 will be considered a“regular submission” and will undergo a slightly longer review process.


Individuals who have questions or who wish to discuss proposal ideas are encouraged to contact the 2013 Conference Program Committee at

Download .doc file of CFP here