CPTSC 2021: Envisioning Tech Comm Programs in a New Era

Call for Proposals

Entering into the next decade, programs in technical and scientific communication (TSC) face new challenges with changes in higher education. Such challenges include retaining students and instructors, teaching in shorter terms (4, 5, and 8 weeks), managing larger sections, staffing multiple service courses, converting traditionally face-to-face courses to online courses, finding open education resources, accommodating instructional methods for changing student populations, and many more (Busteed, 2019, Mitz, 2019, McPherson, 2017, Nadworny, 2019).

With these changes and challenges in mind, we invite proposals for the 2021 CPTSC conference in Denton, Texas. Presentations, panels, or workshops in the following areas are encouraged:

  • Online education. Has higher ed’s push toward online education impacted our field and its curricula? What are the costs and benefits of fully online degrees? How have online opportunities facilitated certificate programs that serve new, specialized audiences? With higher ed’s renewed focus on MOOCs or other large-enrollment options, what are the implications for TSC programs?
  • Large course sections. How do TSC program administrators articulate the need for smaller class sizes (see the ADE Guidelines for Class Size and Workload for College and University Teachers of English) to higher ed administrators who are charged with increasing student enrollment? Do “mega” sections of technical writing exist, and, if so, how do these course structures maintain the integrity of the subject?
  • Contingent faculty. What roles do contingent faculty play in TSC programs? Should these faculty have different skillsets than the skillsets associated with traditional, tenure-system faculty? How can professional development opportunities help new faculty leverage their industry knowledge for classroom teaching purposes? How can academic programs incentivize working professionals to transition into faculty positions? How can contingent faculty take leadership roles in the areas of recruitment, marketing and promotion, student mentoring, and career counseling?
  • Workplace preparedness. How closely should program curricula align with the demands from industry? Which technology skills, professional competencies, and personal characteristics should TSC programs continue to emphasize? How can academic programs feasibly adapt curricula to reflect the fluid, future-oriented trajectory of professional and technical communication, particularly within in-demand areas such as translation, plain language, topic-based authoring, content strategy, instructional video production, and artificial intelligence?
  • Open education resources (OER). How extensively do TSC programs adopt OER materials? What are the challenges and benefits of using OER in introductory and advanced courses? Does the adoption of OER change TSC curricula? What are the best practices for developing OER? What issues should faculty consider before developing OER?
  • Advisory boards. What role should advisory boards play in program development and assessment? Who should serve on an advisory board and how should these members influence curricula? What types of support should the board offer TSC program?

In addition, we encourage presentations, panels, or workshops in the areas of recruitment, retention, marketing and promotion, staffing, diverse student populations, course redesigns, legal and ethical issues, and alumni engagement. In particular, we seek new, diverse voices and perspectives and invite new conference attendees to submit proposals on their experiences with TSC program development and administration.

Submission Guidelines

Proposals are invited for the following kinds of presentations:

  • Individual Presentations: A 500-word summary of the proposed 5–7-minute presentation given by an individual speaker.
  • Panel Presentations: A session in which 3-6 individuals spend 20–30 minutes collectively examining a central topic or theme. The panel organizer will submit a 150–200-word overview framing the focus of the panel in the context of the theme. The panel organizer will also include 300–350-word summaries of what each presenter will cover during the panel presentation.
  • Workshops: 75-minute interactive activities that focus on a professional development need related to technical communication programs and curriculum. The 800-word proposal should frame the workshop within the theme, identify the potential audience, and summarize the activities the workshops will cover. A total of 4 workshops will be offered during the conference.

Individuals may present in only one presentation or panel.

Final Deadline: Final Deadline TBA

For questions, contact Program Co-Chairs: Vincent Robles ( and Ryan Boettger (

Ready to submit?

Submit your proposals for review here.