Service is a crucial part of being a professional. If we want to benefit from all of the work being done by colleagues in our field — people who improve our lives in so many ways — we must also contribute ourselves, wherever we can be useful.
Here are a few of my currrent roles of service to my department, university, and profession:
Chair, ISU Library Advisory Committee. When I was an assistant professor at the University of Washington-Seattle, I served on, then chaired that university’s Library Committee. When I came to ISU in 2003, I joined this university’s corresponding committee, which has representatives from each ISU college who consult monthly with the dean and associate deans about library policy decisions. For the past few years I’ve served as the chair of this committee, met frequently with the dean and associate deans, and served on the search committee for our current Library Dean.
Director, ISU Studio for New Media. When I was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, I created a small multimedia lab to enable my colleagues to create and edit interactive multimedia. Then, as a young assistant professor at UW-Seattle, I created a similar multimedia studio to foster student and colleague proficiency with emerging media there. When I came to Iowa State, I founded the Studio for New Media here, and have directed the lab since then. In the past eighteen years, the Studio has grown to support dozens of student and faculty members, and has a vibrant and energetic website (unfortunately only accessible from the ISU campus).
Founding Member, Open and Affordable Educational Resources Committee. The Open and Affordable Education Committee supports open-access course materials (OER) — free alternatives to traditional textbooks. The committee offers resources to help faculty and staff create free materials to support courses, and has saved ISU students over $6 million so far. I’m happy to have been part of this committee since its beginning at ISU.
Director, ISU English Undergraduate Studies. Because of my interest in data-driven assessment, from 2018 to 2022 I served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the ISU English Department. That means I chaired a committee which supervises undergraduate teaching in the department, assessing programmatic strategies, goals, learning objectives, and how well the programs were serving students. This role also made me a part of the English Department’s “administrative committee,” or leadership team.
Founding Director, EServer.org. In 1990 I founded an open-access e-publishing initiative in the arts and humanities. Over the next 28 years it grew, at its largest hosting over 35,000 works and supporting the work of 227 editors, five scholarly journals, and dozens of collections in a range of fields. At its peak it served over 500,000 hits per day to about two million readers per month. The site was retired in 2017.
Member, Editorial Boards, TCQ and CDQ. I currently serve on the editorial boards of two leading scholarly journals in the field of technical communication, Technical Communication Quarterly and Communication Design Quarterly. These are excellent sources for new knowledge in the fields surrounding technical communication, and I’m very proud to assist with these scholarly sources.
Faculty Advisor, Iowa State University Society for Technical Communication. Since 2011, I’ve been the faculty advisor for the ISU student club, the Society for Technical Comunication. We have meetings every few weeks. The club has social get-togethers and presentations by people in the field who can offer advice to students interested in the field. This year, I’m co-advising the club with Charlie Kostelnick. (Instagram link)