Katherine Baeckeroot, STC-MGL immediate past-president, was nominated and awarded a Distinguished Community Service Award for 2023.
Katherine has been an incredibly involved member of Michigan STC Chapters since June 2017, and she even attended 2014 summit as a student at Michigan Tech. Katherine expertly navigated a significant portion of the migration from two Michigan-based chapters into one during 2020. At the time, Katherine was the president of the STC Southeastern Michigan chapter (which merged with the STC West Michigan Shores chapter). After 2020, she took on the role of immediate past president but because of the large amount of work required to successfully transition and rebuild a chapter, she was heavily involved in leadership, even agreeing to a second presidential turn in 2021. We cannot overlook the dedication and expertise she brought to the chapter, especially during the upswing in virtual programming. Katherine has provided extensive support beyond what is typically necessary of past leadership.
Katherine established several innovative programs for the chapter. Namely, she created our succession plan, overall operating management plans, and established our programing structures, many of which she initiated with other chapters (such as Toronto, Chicago, and Ohio’s). She began the virtual book club program in 2018, a program our chapter hosts biannually to this day. As a chapter, we’ve read over 7 technical communication books and hosted discussions with members across the state over the material. Some of the textbooks have now been included in the college curriculum. She also co-created Tech Comm Trivia night questions in 2021 and designed the interactive playing board, which is publicly available for other communities to use. Additionally, she created the marketing materials for our chapter and approximately 50 blog posts promoting our chapter activities.
Katherine’s citation reads:
For your exceptional leadership as STC Michigan Great Lakes chapter president, innovative programming and inexhaustible enthusiasm for providing additional value to the membership, and for your wisdom, experience, and sound advice.
We’re so thankful for your contributions, Katherine, and congratulations!
Dr. Andy Fiss, STC-MGL member and Associate Professor of Technical & Professional Communication at Michigan Tech, was awarded a 2023 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award for Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication. Andy and his book, Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom, were honored at the CCCC Awards Presentation on Friday, February 17, during the 2023 CCCC Annual Convention.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Andy to ask him a few questions about his work. When I asked him how he found himself conducting research at the intersection of communication, anxiety, and mathematical instruction, he answered that he was a mathematics major as an undergrad. He reflected on the weird reactions and phrases like “I hate math” he received when he told people his major and recollected that other majors didn’t get the same type of response. As a result, he started thinking about the history of the pedagogy of mathematical instruction and became curious where where communication and anxiety arose in that early work. Notably, related studies are limited to high school mathematics instruction. His book expands on the general dread many people express toward math by analyzing several historical documents including songs and plays written about math education.
The selection committee awarded his book the title of Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication because it is “Compelling, well-researched, and a very interesting read. Though Fiss’s book focuses on the historical instruction of math, his ideas about classroom performance can be translated to other fields,” so I asked what can writers/communicators take away from your book, in or out of the classroom? He replied that this book is a collection of stories of past practices and can shed light on general approaches to helping make things unfamiliar more familiar, much like the work of technical communicators.
The selection committee also said “… It offers some insight into how we may accidentally create anxiety when producing technical communication.” In response to my question about how this happens, he explained that, for example, the pedagogical practice of “chalk talk” suddenly required that students not only demonstrate proficiency in mathematics but also oratory instantly. The connections between increasing demands for skills outside the purview of a subject may certainly ring true to the technical writer experience today.
Join the STC-MGL and the Ohio STC chapter for Leading Successful Succession, featuring Jennifer Goode, Ph.D.
Is a coworker changing jobs? Is a team member taking leave? Did you get a promotion? Is the boss retiring? Team member change is inevitable in the workplace, and you shouldn’t be ill-prepared. Proactively thinking about regular activities, standard approaches, and common resources can reduce ambiguity and provide clear direction when team member change actually happens. Come learn how to apply your technical communication skills to draft a succession plan for your own role in a hands-on workshop. Then, learn strategies to foster successful succession in your organization, no matter what your position or role.
Jennifer Goode is a senior STC member and instructor of technical communication at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where she is the director of the online master’s program in technical communication management. With over 20 years of professional experience in government, non-profits, and for-profits, she also consults in the areas of instructional design and strategic human capital performance, measurement, and improvement.
Learn about our incoming council, chapter events, and goals for the year.
Join us on Thursday, September 30 for a virtual open house. The virtual open house is a great opportunity to learn about our incoming council, get an overview of our upcoming program plans, share ideas for the direction of our STC-MGL chapter, and ask questions. Anyone is welcome to join.
We look forward to this year ahead, and we hope you will join us!
The Society for Technical Communication, Michigan Great Lakes chapter (STC-MGL) recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kylie Jacobsen. Kylie is an active member of the STC-MGL chapter, and she created the winning design for the logo contest we held back in the fall.
Continue reading to learn more about Kylie, her design process, and our new logo!