Elevated to ATTW Fellow, March 2001
(written by Elizabeth Tebeaux)
We are here tonight to elevate Sam Dragga to Fellow in the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing. I have known Sam for 18 years. During that time, I have found him to be an exemplary colleague, committed teacher, and pragmatic researcher into the most effective ways in which technical communication operates in the work environment.
One can look at Sam's teaching record and see the impressive range of courses, more than 30, that Sam has taught during his career. His research has complemented his teaching, as all research should do. What he writes is embedded in what he teaches. His textbooks and papers are based on practice and pedagogical research to support his teaching.
Sam has been a leader in our discipline in a number of areas. He was one of the first people in technical communication to realize that technical communication could not be separated from technology. He was also one of the first to know that technical communication needed to move into ethics and that technical communication would need to address global communication to prepare writers for life in a business arena where business has no geographical boundaries. His and Gwen Gong's book, Editing: The Design of Rhetoric, which won the NCTE best book award in technical and scientific communication, was the first book to show the rhetorical basis for editing. In support of a belief that technical communication must include global communication, he has toured China, Russia and the Czech Republic. Sam has also written extensively about ethical issues in technical communication and has argued for inclusion of ethics in the preparation of technical communicators. Sam currently serves as series editor for Allyn & Bacon's Technical Communication Series, which now includes 14 books on specific areas of technical writing.
From a professional standpoint, Sam has contributed effectively and extensively to the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing and to technical communication at the national level. He served as developer and co-editor of the ATTW Web site. He co-edited the ATTW Bulletin. He has served as member-at-large, Vice President, and President of ATTW. He has served on the NCTE Committee on Scientific and Technical Communication. When he was president of ATTW, Sam served a critical role in helping launch our annual ATTW meeting.
As a faculty member, he has helped develop the master's and doctoral programs in technical communication at Texas Tech. He is currently Associate Chair of the English Department after serving in various roles throughout the department for the past decade.
Sam is one of the most thoughtful people I've had the pleasure of knowing. My life has been enriched by his friendship, his patience, his thoughtful analysis, his commitment to developing technical communication research and teaching to ensure its respected place as an academic discipline. The world needs more people like Sam Dragga. One of these days, I'll decide that I've "had enough." (All of us will!). But I know that when that day comes, my memories of working with Sam will be among the best moments of my career.