Professional Writing Lecture Series

Each spring the PWR program brings a guest speaker to campus to discuss recent issues and research in the fields of professional writing and rhetoric. The talks often dovetail with student coursework and are scheduled in relation to the courses offered that semester.

Spring 2011

    Susan Peich

    IBM Software Group

    will speak on

    "Writing for the Software Industry"



    Tuesday March 1, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    Innovation Hall, Room 317

    Susan Peich has spent seven years as a writer, editor, and information architect for Rational User Technologies in IBM Software Group. Her current projects include editing documentation for application lifecycle management tools and coordinating multimedia content as it is used to supplement documentation and contextual help. She has also worked on corporate initiatives to improve both technical editing and multimedia strategies for software delivery. The best parts of her job are the global considerations that must be given to interfaces and non-text content. It's also an exciting time for technical writing as social media enforces easier access to collaborative help and community-based support. Prior to joining IBM, Susan spent eight years as a technical support specialist, where her key responsibility was writing custom tools documentation for organizational processes. In 2004, Susan received her Masters in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also taught technical communications courses for undergraduate engineering students at NC State University.



Spring 2010

    David M. Rieder

    Assistant Professor of English, Program Faculty for PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, North Carolina State University

    will speak on

    "New Forms of Writing for New Media: Expanding Our Study of Writing."



    Thursday April 29, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
    Innovation Hall, Room 317

    David M. Rieder is Assistant Professor of English and program faculty in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media PhD at NC State University. His research interests include new media theory, and the theory and practice of digital rhetoric and writing. Recent work is published in Kairos, Computers and Composition Online, and Enculturation (forthcoming). He is currently drafting a book titled Suasive Iterations: Computational Approaches to Visual Rhetoric and Writing in New Media. The book is designed to engage an underrepresented area in computers and writing scholarship, the realm of software and code. Each chapter features an original software project written by the author in ActionScript 3 for Adobe CS4 Flash Pro. The projects are meant to help illustrate some of the ways in which writing and rhetoric can be theorized and practiced in programmable new media such as the ActionScript 3 programming environment.

    Recent online work:

    Typographia: A Hybrid, Alphabetic Exploration of Raleigh, NC published in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 14(2).

    Snowballs and Other Numerate Acts of Textuality: Exploring the "Alphanumeric" Dimensions of (Visual) Rhetoric and Writing with ActionScript 3 published in Computers and Composition Online (Spring 2010).



Spring 2009

    Bill Hart-Davidson

    Associate Professor in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department at Michigan State University and Co-director of the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center.

    will speak on

    "Chains & Ecologies: Complementary Methods for Constructing Views of Literate Activity"

    Wednesday April 15, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
    Innovation Hall, Room 319

    Bill Hart-Davidson (Ph.D. 1999, Purdue) is an Associate Professor in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department at Michigan State University. He is Co-director of the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center, and Assistant Director of the Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing Masters Program.

    Bill's research interests lie at the intersection of Technical Communication and Human-Computer Interaction in such areas as visualizing knowledge work processes, information and user experience design. Bill teaches courses in technical communication, proposal writing, content management, and interaction design in the Professional Writing undergraduate major at MSU. He also teaches research methods and theory courses in the Rhetoric & Writing graduate program.

    Bill's writing has appeared in journals such as Technical Communication, Intercom, Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition, Kairos, and the Journal of Software Documentation and in various edited collections. Through his work at WIDE, he also produces writing software that incorporates and extends the range of significance of research in the field of technical and professional writing. Recently he led the development of a suite of web-based writing tools collectively known as the Social Writing Application Platform (SWAP). SWAP is meant to be a foundation for any number of specific writing applications—large or small—that produce intelligible reports of writing activity while providing the basic types of writing functionality that people need.



Spring 2008

    Beverly Sauer

    Professor of Management Communication in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University

    will speak on

    "Representing Identity in Narratives of Risk"

    Thursday April 17, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m., Johnson Center Room D

    Beverly Sauer is Professor of Management Communication in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She has written extensively on the social and institutional dimensions of risk communication in US, British, and South African coal mine safety training programs. Her book, The Rhetoric of Risk: Technical Documentation in Hazardous Environments (Routledge, 2003) was awarded the prize for Best Book in Scientific and Technical Communication from the National Council of Teachers of English. Sauer has consulted with the NASA-CAIB investigation and in 2006 served as a member of West Virginia Governor Manchin's Special Commission on the Sago Mine Disaster. She currently serves as a panel member of the National Transportation Board of the National Academy of Science.


Spring 2007

    Carolyn R. Miller

    SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication, North Carolina State University

    will speak on

    "Technical and Professional Writing in the Digital Age: Problems and Definitions"

    Thursday April 12, 6:00 - 7:10 pm, Innovation Hall 334

    Dr. Miller's research interests are in digital rhetoric, rhetorical theory, the rhetoric of science and technology, and technical and professional writing. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Argumentation, College English, the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetorica, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly, as well as in edited volumes published by university and commercial presses. She is a past president of the Rhetoric Society of America and was named a Fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing in 1995.


PWR Contacts

  • Coordinator, MA concentration in PWR: Douglas Eyman, deyman@gmu.edu