2006: Teresa Hunt and Gerald Savage

Citation for
Theresa Hunt
Elevated to ATTW Fellow, March 2006
(written by Elizabeth Tebeaux)

The Fellows Selection Committee of ATTW wishes to elevate Teresa Hunt to Fellow, Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.  She has shown a sustained commitment in her teaching, research, and service to technical communication and to ATTW. 

Teresa received a  Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Tech in 1994.  She has taught a wide range of rhetoric, composition, and technical communication courses.  She has served as department head at Northern Michigan, Director of Composition, Director of Graduate Studies.  She developed curriculum for the 300, 400 and 500 level Technical Writing courses and arranged interviews/internships for Technical Communications students. Teresa has taught a wide range of courses in composition and technical communication.  She received the Northern Michigan University Distinguished Faculty Award in  2004.  She is currently serving as Interim Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.  In this position, she administers and coordinates Northern Michigan University’s Academic Quality Improvement-related activities, documents, and annual updates. 

She has been a member if ATTW since 1991 and served as a member of the Executive Committee as a member-at-large from 2001-2004.  She has been the fundraiser for ATTW since 2001 and has raised nearly $50,000 to support the annual ATTW meeting.  To be blunt, without this fundraising support, the annual ATTW meeting would not be possible.  She served as Chair, Committee on Technical and Scientific Communication 1999-2004 and continues as a committee member. 

From a research perspective, Teresa has focused on the history of technical communication: She co-edited with Michael Moran Three Keys to the Past: The History of Technical Communication.  Her book, Writing in a Milieu of Utility:  The Move to Technical Communication in American Engineering Programs, 1850-1950,  was reissued in 2000 as part of the ATTW Contemporary Studies in Technical Communication series.  Teresa received the 1999 Nell Ann Pickett Award for Outstanding Article in Technical Communication Quarterly – “Technical Communication from 1850-1960:  Where Have We Been as a Discipline?”

Teresa has also targeted professional issues in her research.  Her recently co-edited work with Gerry Savage,  Issues of Power, Statu,s and Legitimacy in Technical Communication, Volumes I and II , deals with the professional challenges faced by technical communication faculty.  She currently serves as co-historian of ATTW with Elizabeth Tebeaux.  The two are writing the history of ATTW. 

Other works by Professor Hunt  include a chapter on  “Preparing Students for Service Learning Contexts with Case Studies, Scenarios, and Workplace Writer Studies”  with Gerald Savage, included in  Resources in Technical Communication:  Outcomes and Approaches,” Cynthia Selfe, Editor and Scenarios for Technical Communication:  Critical Thinking and Writing  with Wendy Krieg Stone of Interim Technologies Inc.


Citation for Gerald Savage

Citation for Gerald (Jerry) Savage ATTW Fellow, March 22, 2006, Chicago

By Carolyn Rude

The Fellows Selection Committee of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing elevates Gerald J. Savage to the rank of Fellow.

Jerry Savage is a full professor at Illinois State University, where he directs the internship program for the Department of English as well as the technical communication program. He received the 1997 Distinguished College Teacher Award from Illinois State. He got to Illinois by way of Michigan, Alaska, and Kansas. Perhaps the reach of his geographical experience partly explains the reach of his significance to technical communication.

Through his research and his service, Jerry has contributed to an expanding sense of what this field is and does. He has helped to answer questions of identity through the collection, Writing a Professional Life, co-edited with Dale Sullivan. Many professors around the country have introduced students to the field with the stories written in this book.

Jerry has been interested not just in describing the various professional lives that might be included within the umbrella of technical communication. He has also been interested in expanding the field and its status. Two of the most important books from the past five years or so are the two volumes co-edited by Jerry Savage and Teresa Kynell-Hunt, Power and Legitimacy in Technical Communication. In his introduction to volume 1, Jerry names the exigence that is the reason for these volumes: “the technical communication field lacks the status, legitimacy, and power of mature professions.” Further, “we are not much recognized outside of the field as a specialized field of practice.” The volumes explore issues of identity, knowledge domains, and responsibilities.

In answering these ongoing questions, Jerry takes us beyond specific practices and knowledge to social commitment and ethical principles as these define the field. Even as he acknowledges the value of demanding measures of competence to practice under the title “technical communicator,” he wonders whether doing so is democratic or exclusionary. He is keenly aware of the tensions between self-interest and the good of society.

Jerry’s motivation for these inquiries, like Teresa’s, is “trust in and respect for the discipline.” That trust and respect lead Jerry to generous service to the field through professional associations. He often works with some invisibility, but with the care and commitment as though someone were watching and measuring every move. I worked with him as he co-chaired, with Lee Brasseur, the 2002 ATTW conference, also here in Chicago. 2002 was the first year for a full-day ATTW conference, and with the ambition of this expansion came new responsibilities for the chairs. It seemed that everything that might go wrong almost did. We were still defining our relationship with NCTE, and doing so with some delicacy. The meeting rooms initially assigned for ATTW would not meet our needs. The first estimate from catering was a mistake, and for a while it looked as though we might not be able to pay our bills. But Jerry and Lee solved all of these problems with such grace and generosity. Rather than challenge the room assignments, for example, Jerry offered an alternative. Always he wrote correspondents with respect, even when he might have been made to feel defensive. I was so glad that he was, in these instances, the voice of ATTW, in these interactions building the profession by offering respect and in so doing gaining respect. He was funny in his emails to the listserv encouraging people to attend the conference and was the voice of ATTW to its members. My favorite moment in email, a private one to the conference planners, was when the budget worked out after all, and he declared, almost boyishly, that he would that night, in celebration, treat his wife, Sue, and his mother-in-law to ice cream. The conference worked almost flawlessly. I doubt that anyone other than a few of us exchanging frantic emails had any idea of the hours, the stresses, the wisdom, and the commitment that Jerry gave to make that conference grow and work.

If he did not get enough of conference planning that year, he came back to coordinate the 2005 ATTW conference, and co-chaired the 2005 CPTSC conference. These are just some instances among many in which Jerry Savage has served ATTW and the profession and helped both achieve the next level of professionalism.

Jerry, by elevating you to the rank of fellow, we acknowledge, with admiration and gratitude, the ways in which you have guided technical communication to new levels of professionalism and disciplinarity. You have asked the right questions at the right time and have engaged students, academics, and practitioners in reflection on these issues through your publication. You have given the most generous kind of service, the quiet kind where you stay mostly in the background while you create wonderful opportunities for many people. Your life reflects the values that you write about: professionalism, respect, service. Thank you. And congratulations.