CAC Program Reports
The Strategic Plan for the Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication at Clemson University
Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from the strategic plan for the Pearce Center. The plan was written by Kathleen Yancey, director of the Pearce Center, in collaboration with her colleagues at Clemson.
--Dickie Selfe, Research Editor
In keeping with its mission, the Pearce Center has supported communication across the curriculum in K-12 settings, and it has worked with members of its Corporate Advisory Board to develop the kinds of communication skills and competencies we would like to see in Clemson graduates. With the change in leadership of the Pearce Center has come an opportunity to re-visit our mission, to clarify our goals, and to create some processes that will ensure that the good work already in place--as signaled by the TIME magazine designation of Clemson as Best Public University of 2001--not only continues, but thrives--and in both traditional and new directions. Toward those ends, the Director of the Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication, in concert with the Pearce Center Research Team, has developed the following strategic plan for the coming academic year.
1. Diversify Work with Faculty
The Pearce Center has a strong tradition of working with faculty across the curriculum; we will both continue this work and extend it along the following lines:
- We will continue the workshops for all faculty that are a trademark of the Pearce Center. We hosted "Reflection and Active Learning" in August, and we plan to host a workshop on speech communication in the spring. Likewise, we will continue to host the CAC Alumni Workshops.
- We will continue to work as consultants with individual faculty. Several of these consultations, including work with faculty in nursing and in biology, have already occurred.
- We will initiate a series of workshops "targeted" to specific groups of faculty. Specifically, this year Professors Yancey and Heifferon will collaborate with Professor David Allison of Architecture to offer a workshop for faculty in art-related fields.
- Visiting Scholars Cindy and Dickie Selfe will develop a workshop for "new" faculty (i.e., those who have been on campus for five years or fewer). In addition, Dickie and Cindy have conducted workshops on asynchronous and synchronous conferencing, on the use of primary resource materials on the WWW, peer editing, as well as publishing and electronic communication activities across the curriculum.
- The Center will also initiate a series of theme-related workshops of two types. The first type, designed by Visiting Scholar Cindy Selfe, with MAPC graduate students Nicole Brown and Keena Hamilton, will be thematized. This year, two thematized workshops will be held in connection with Martin Luther King Day, addressing the Digital Divide, issues of access, and issues of images and cultural constructs. A second type, developed by Campbell Chair Art Young, will be a continuing topical workshop. The focus this year will be on poetry across the curriculum, will link to President Barker's Colloquium theme, and will include faculty from several disciplines.
2. Structure Research Team Work around Projects
Each member of the Research Team will design a Pearce Project that relates both to their teaching and to their research interests, that fits with the mission of the Pearce, and that will lead to publication.
- Professor Barbara Heifferon will continue her work with an expanded version of the Health Communication Certificate and on-going health eduation projects.
- Professor Kelby Halone will compile the data from the focus group interviews that he conducted last year, for President Barker [president of the university], and will investigate how focus groups can be used as a key pedagogical technique.
- Professor Bernadette Longo will work with Professor Mary Haque to design an electronic learning space for the members of three separate groups of students--two groups of Clemson students and one from Edwards Middle School--to work together, in this specific instance on a sustainable landscape project.
- Professor Summer Smith is developing a guest speaker program that will bring technical professionals into technical writing classes to talk about their first-hand experiences with writing in the workplace. The program should also lead to development of a commissioned assignment program, which would match technical writing classes with local companies and agencies that would "commission" the students to write needed documents.
3. Connect with Other University Initiatives
The Pearce Center has a history of working with other groups on campus; this tradition will be continued, specifically in four areas:
- The Pearce Center, the Dropout Prevention Center, and the "Ethics across the Curriculum" faculty in Philosophy are beginning plans for a summer institute for high school teachers that would link service learning, ethics across the curriculum, and reflection.
- The Pearce Center is working informally with the new Campbell Scholars program, specifically on the ways that reflection can be used to enhance the experiences of the students.
- The Pearce Center is collaborating with the Psychology Department to develop a website where undergraduate psychology students can share their research.
- The Pearce Center will begin limited participation in the development of the Clemson Electronic Portfolio, the CLE-enriched electronic portfolio that is being developed by the Clemson Portfolio Research Team, led by Carla Rathbone and Professor Yancey, with the assistance of an Innovation Fund Grant.
4. Where and When Appropriate, Support MAPC Graduate Student Research [Masters in Professsional Communication]
At the conclusion of the 1999-2000 academic year, the Pearce Center for the first time awarded small grants to graduate students whose research furthered the mission of the Pearce Center. These students are completing their research now: it includes projects ranging from web-site development to writing in the disciplines to the effects of different media in violence-prevention programs. In the spring, these students will report on their research to the Corporate Advisory Board. We plan to continue this effort this year.
5. Sponsor Allied Activities
The Pearce Center will continue to support related activities, including
- Staffing of the Speech Studio
- Contributions of Funding and Talent/Time to the Symposium on the Technology and the Future of Publishing
- Contributions of Funding and Talent/Time to the (proposed) Clemson Site of the National Writing Project
Editor's Note: As you can see the variety of effort is substantial, and it draws on the interests and strengths of current faculty. I'm impressed by both the scope and flexibility of the CAC work being conducted at Clemson, and I'm sure that it will lead to many more publications (some of which I hope will go to Academic.Writing) and awards in the future. But the faculty seem most intent on one objective: creating a learning community that values student communication in an expanded range of genre.
Publication Information: Selfe, Dickie. (2000). The Strategic Plan for the Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication at Clemson University. Academic.Writing. https://wac.colostate.edu/aw/research/program_reports/clemson2000.htm
Publication Date: November 8, 2000
Copyright © 2000 Dickie Selfe and Kathleen Yancey. Used with Permission.