Making the Unfamiliar Familiar: Metaphors as a Strategy for Clarifying Technical and Scientific Concepts

For the engineers that I have taught, one of the most challenging communication tasks is explaining scientific concepts to less technical audiences, such as the general public. Yet explaining their work to the public – and other audiences with varying levels of technical know how – is a key part of many engineering positions, and doing this well is … [Read more...]

In Memoriam Rudolph J. Joenk, Jr., PhD (1932-2018)

Rudy Joenk, longtime member of the IEEE Professional Communication Society, passed away in Boulder, CO on 5 November 2018. Born in St. Louis, MO, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1953. After 21 months of active duty service in the US Army Ordnance Corps, he attended the University of … [Read more...]

Understanding Emotional Competencies in Engineering

Figure 1: Goleman's Emotional Competencies  Most would agree that emotional intelligence (EI) is essential to effectively managing and participating in teams, which is a key aspect of engineering work. Yet it’s not often taught in an engineering curriculum or discussed in the workplace. In her IEEE ProComm 2015 conference paper [1] and video … [Read more...]

Engineering Design as Translation

Consider engineering as an act of translation, generating and applying different representations (words, models, equations, diagrams, etc.) to the practices of design and problem solving. The engineer perpetually moves between the world of theory and reality, and each step in between requires translation. As they design, they must also negotiate … [Read more...]

3Q18 Issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication

The September 2018 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communicationhas recently been published online. If you are a paper subscriber, you will receive the issue, printed together with the December issue, in early December. Volume 61, Number 3, September 2018 Research Article—Framing Controversy on Social Media: #NoDAPL and the Debate … [Read more...]

Review of Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice

The first review of the IEEE Professional Communication Society - Wiley book Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice has arrived, and the reception is very positive. In her review for the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, Marybeth Lima … [Read more...]

Thinking of your Presentation as a Performance

By Lydia Wilkinson Oral presentations can strike fear into the hearts of many an engineer. This discomfort is something all actors have had to deal with at some point, and that the discipline has developed strategies to address. Performers think of their body and voices as instruments that are used and manipulated to send particular messages to … [Read more...]

Updated Due Date: Special Issue on User-Generated Content and Its Effects on the Profession (December 2019)

Proposals for the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication Special Issue on User-Generated Content and Its Effects on the Profession (December 2019) are now due June 15th, 2018. Please see the original CFP for more information. … [Read more...]

Do “I-statements” Help or Hinder Communication in Professional Contexts?

In her internationally best-selling book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, advises women to “speak your truth” but to do so in an appropriate, yet non-threatening way—to be “not brutally honest but delicately honest.” As one way maintain this delicate honesty, Sandberg provides some … [Read more...]

How we understand, teach, and learn about engineering ethics

Ethics has long been acknowledged as central to engineering education; yet current approaches to teaching engineering ethics fail to understand the the psychological and philosophical literature about how ethics are learned. The three dominant modes may be identified as: The ethical theories approach: Akin to approaches to calculus; provide … [Read more...]