December 1999

Cedarville College

CIDMIconNewsletter David Shaw

Cedarville College ought to have an alumni club at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; IBM has been a big supporter of their internship programs and has recruited many of Cedarville’s Technical and Professional Communication graduates. You’ll find Cedarville’s Technical and Professional Communication alumni scattered throughout the East and Midwest. Cedarville, itself, is in Cedarville, Ohio, midway between Columbus and Cincinnati.

Since its inception, the program has matriculated more than 200 students. There are currently 32 declared majors with about 15 graduating each year. Cedarville offers a BA in Technical and Professional Communication-there are no opportunities to minor in Technical and Professional Communication. Technical and Professional Communication majors, however, are encouraged to choose from the following minors: multimedia, graphic design, or creative writing.

While the numbers continue to grow, Technical Communication degree programs are still somewhat rare-even at major universities. However, with a small student population of about 2700 students, Cedarville established its program back in 1985.

All graduates take a common core of 15 courses including elements of writing, editing, design, and style for print, online, and instructional delivery. Because the program is based in the Language and Literature Department, students also complete additional requirements in composition and literature.

To better enable students to continue their formal education while home for the summer or away on a summer internship, the department offered its first distance learning course in Technical and Professional Communication last summer. Program Director Sandi Harner hopes to deliver a Technical Editing course for distance learning next summer. Because Cedarville has no intention of becoming an online university, these courses are reserved for regularly enrolled students.

The program has not gone without recognition. In 1992, and again in 1999, STC awarded Cedarville the Student Chapter Achievement Award. Harner attributes much of the program’s success to its commitment to practice:

Although theory-based, leading-edge technologies and proven industry methodologies make up the core of the program, since its inception, the program has always been about doing as well as learning. For this reason, the course projects focus on application in real-life situations. We look for hands-on projects, many of which are client-based. This gives graduates experience that extends beyond the classroom.

The commitment to practice is evidenced by Cedarville’s internship programs. To gain full industry experience, students are strongly encouraged to participate in the paid internship program during the summer between their junior and senior years. IBM, again, takes on many interns, as do MYCOM Enterprises (where Harner did her own STC-sponsored faculty internship) and CARS Information Systems.

The Technical and Professional Communication Program also participates in the College’s CareerLink Day each fall. This year about 10 of the 35 companies recruiting from Business and Communication programs were also seeking Technical Communication graduates-clearly, any new graduate who wants a job in the industry will find one here. Participants in this year’s CareerLink Day included MYCOM Enterprises, 3COM, Technically Write, and several publishers. Most brought job offers ranging from $35-40,000. CIDMIconNewsletter