History of the IEEE Professional Communication Society
The IEEE Professional Communication Society (PCS) society was founded on March 19, 1957 by a group of members from the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) who felt the need to improve engineers’ technical communication skills as engineering communication was becoming increasingly complex. The group was originally called the IRE Professional Group on Engineering Writing & Speech (PGEWS). In 1963, when the IRE and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) merged to form the IEEE, and the group became part of IEEE. The society’s name was officially changed to the IEEE Professional Communication Society in 1978. The society celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017, and its longstanding commitment to improving technical communication continues.
For more than 60 years, our society has been at the forefront of providing unique opportunities for engineering professionals, technical communicators, and educators. From the beginning, PCS emphasized the increasing importance of written, oral, and visual communication. Our longstanding attention to multimodality and emerging technology has allowed us to play a leadership role in raising the standards of technical communication.
Throughout our history, we have grown as technology has advanced and supported our members through our annual conferences and the Transactions on Professional Communication, one of the leading peer-reviewed journal in technical communication. The society held its first annual conference, then called the First National Symposium on Engineering Writing & Speech, in New York City on October 21-22, 1957. PCS also published the first issue of Transactions in the same year. The conference, now called ProComm, has been held in over 20 U.S. states and four other countries. ProComm presents a valuable opportunity for educators and professionals to connect with each other and learn about the latest technical communication research, pedagogical techniques, and workplace practice.
As the world grows increasingly complex and new technologies emerge at a rapid pace, clear and effective technical communication is imperative to the success of both individuals and institutions. Working with our community’s expertise in technical communication, we are committed to making positive contributions to a wide range of global issues, such as sustainability, policy development, and civic engagement.
E. Malone, “Eleanor McElwee and the Formation of IEEE PCS”, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 104-133, 2015.
“Oral-History:Ron Blicq – Engineering and Technology History Wiki”, Ethw.org, 2018. [Online]. Available: http://ethw.org/Oral-History:Ron_Blicq [Accessed: 13- Mar- 2018].
The following people started the society.
Eleanor McElwee (1924-2008), RCA
Herbert B. Michaelson (1916-2009), IBM
Edward E. Grazda (1915-1995), Electric Design
Chester W. Sall (1913-1980), RCA
Joseph D. Chapline (1920-2011), Philco
Charles A. Meyer (1914-2001), RCA
Patrick J. Lahey (1929–), Electric Design
Harold S. Renne (1914-1978), Bell Telephone
William A. Stocklin (1910-2001), Radio & Television News
The following people have greatly contributed to the society, and have awards named after them. Please refer to the awards page for their contributions.
Alfred N. Goldsmith
Emily K. Schlesinger
Rudolph J. Joenk, Jr.
Ronald S. Blicq
James M. Lufkin
|2002-2003||Beth Weise Moeller|
|1994-1995||Deborah Flaherty Kizer|
|1986-1987||Lois K. Moore|
|1973-1974||Thomas E Nunan|
|1972||John C. Phillps|
|1970-1971||Lou M. Cole|
|1967-1969||James M. Lufkin|
|1966||Ed E. Grazda|
|1965||C. A. Meyer|
|1964||Walter B. Dennen, Jr.|
|1963||Frederick Van Veen|
|1962||Chester W. Sall|
|1960-1961||John M. Kinn, Jr.|
|1958||Joseph D. Chapline|
|1957||C. A. Meyer (Acting Chairman)|
|1957||Daniel J. McNamara|
The history of IEEE PCS was researched and written by Nimisha Madhusoodanan and Ann Rucker.
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