2000: Sherry Burgus Little and Katherine Staples

Citation for
Sherry Burgus Little
Elevated to ATTW Fellow, April 2000
(written by Jack Selzer)

Sherry Burgus Little served ATTW with grace, reliability, and accomplishment in her roles as Vice President and President from 1993 to 1998. Under her leadership, ATTW grew in its reach and prestige; she arranged for ATTW books to be published with Ablex, maintained and improved relationships with a host of related organizations, helped the organization to reach new constituencies, and managed the organization's continuing administration with attention and accomplishment. A longterm member of the ATTW board who has contributed to the Bibliography Committee and served as a regional and MLA liaison, she continues to encourage collegial exchange and professional achievement as a member of ATTW today.

But her service to the profession also extends far beyond ATTW. She has been a vital force in STC and CPTSC for many years and in many capacities. Her generosity and commitment to CCCC were expressed in 1992-93, when she served as Local Arrangements Chair for the annual conference. She has worked for NCTE, for the Association of Professional Writing Consultants, and for a number of organizations in her region and community. For three decades she has conducted seminars and workshops for one or another aspect of technical communication, advised publishers on curricular materials designed for high schools and colleges, and been an unwavering advocate for and advisor to women in the workplace.

She is professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University, where she has taught since 1983. A graduate of Arizona State University (where she received her doctorate in 1971), she developed and taught new courses in technical writing, advanced technical writing, and technical editing at SDSU; developed and directed an interdisciplinary technical and scientific writing certificate program; initiated a successful internship program; and created a student chapter of STC for that campus. She also teaches modern British literature and has worked with her colleagues on numerous committees and commissions. And she has also been a member of the faculty at Pepperdine University, Chico State University, Chapman College, and Fresno State University-and began her career as a high school teacher during the age of Sputnik.

Her scholarship has influenced our thinking in a great many ways. Her essays on the conduct and professional place of technical communication and on the education of technical communicators have appeared in WPA, the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Computers and Composition, IEEE Transactions in Professional Communication, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and a host of other journals and books. She regularly contributes to the Proceedings of CPTSC, and has coedited special issues of TCQ. She has served on editorial boards and reviewed articles for any number of journals. A coauthor of Technical Communication (Irwin), she will soon publish Rhetoric and Ethics in Technical Communication for Roxbury Press.

For these many accomplishments, and for many others that most of us will never know about, and in recognition of her humanity and professional generosity, we are pleased to elevate Sherry Burgus Little to the rank of ATTW Fellow.


Citation for
Katherine Staples
Elevated to ATTW Fellow, April 2000
(written by Elizabeth Tebeaux)

Today we name Katherine Staples Fellow in the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing. This award will be the latest recognition for Katherine, who is also a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication.

Katherine exemplifies those qualities that are most important for the technical communication professional. She is first and foremost a quality teacher, a fact evident from a series of awards bestowed on her by the Society for Technical Communication, the Piper Foundation, the University of Texas, and Austin Community College.

Katherine has received the Jay Gould Award for Scholarship and Teaching, awarded by STC, The National Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institution for Staff Development, and the Phi Theta Kappa Student Honor Society Teaching Excellence Award. Her most notable teaching award came from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, which recognizes ten Texas college professors each year. As a Piper Professor, Katherine exemplifies the commitment to teaching reserved for the best college teachers in Texas. This is the most prestigious teaching award given in the State of Texas.

Katherine also has a lengthy and valuable list of service accomplishments to STC, NCTE, TETYC, and CCCC. In addition, she has established her record of teaching and service while serving as department head of technical communication at Austin Community College since 1984. In that capacity, she has developed the curriculum and degree programs for technical communication. Katherine established both her commitment to teaching and service while she was still a graduate student at University of Texas. Thus, her record of accomplishments is long-standing and exemplifies her commitment to both higher education and technical communication in Texas.

Her record of presentations, given throughout the United States, shows the breadth of her knowledge and vision for technical communication. Her publications show her capability in dealing with technical communication issues as well as literary figures. She is well known for her editorial work, particularly the collection she co-edited with Cezar Ornatowski, Foundations for Teaching Technical Communication: Theory, Practice, and Program Design. Most recently she has joined Nell Ann Pickett and Ann Laster for the 8th edition of Technical English, which will be published by Longman in 2000. This text remains the preeminent technical communication book for the two-year college. Her publications cover topics in technical communication, literary translations, and studies of a wide range of authors. Yet, her publications and presentations are not empty rhetoric. For 20 years she has served as consultant to approximately three dozen organizations in Texas. She understands the communication problems in organizations as diverse as banking, state government, public education, computers, and public health. To her teaching and research, she brings practical experience and vision of how technical communication works, how it should be taught, and how it should evolve.

Katherine's professionalism–her service to the two-year college, her excellence in teaching, her commitment to the development of technical communication, her tireless willingness to further the impact of technical communication–clearly demarcates her as a leader in technical communication. She is a worthy role model for junior faculty now joining our ranks. For those who want to know what a technical communication faculty member should be, we can say, without hesitation–see what Katherine Staples has done.