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Technical Communication Journal Features Student Research

SOCORRO, N.M. March 16, 2010 – The New Mexico Tech CLASS Department (formerly known as Humanities) has released the latest edition of the Xchanges journal, featuring eight articles by student scholars.

Dr. Julianne Newmark, Assistant Professor of English, said the online journal aims to give technical communication students the opportunity to professionalize themselves as researchers – and be published in a refereed, indexed journal. She wants Xchanges to showcase exceptional thesis-style papers that exemplify the rigors of research in communication studies.

 Dr. Julie Newmark, professor of English, has successfully moved her journal, Xchanges, to New Mexico Tech and published the latest issue.

The latest edition – Vol. 6, Issue I – features eight articles, including four by Tech students. Four articles are categorized as “Critical Approaches in Composition and Rhetoric;” the other four are under the heading “Technical Communication: Practice and Analysis.”

Xchanges is published twice a year – once featuring undergraduate students and once featuring graduate research. Prior to moving the journal to Tech, Newmark used the capacious theme of “American Identity” for the undergraduate issue and an international theme for the graduate issue. She has modified the theme to better reflect Tech’s mission as a research-centric university and to reflect the manners in which technology and communication impact the 21st century world. Xchanges has been reinvented with a focus on curriculum emphasized at Tech – technical communication/writing, composition and rhetoric, discourse studies, writing across curriculum and new media communication.

While the journal's transformation is a noticeable one, Newmark said Xchanges maintains its original dedication to publishing the work of promising younger scholars. In keeping with Tech’s focus on technology and science, Xchanges serves as an innovative forum for new scholarship on the intersections of community and technology made possible by audience-specific and purposeful communication.

The most recent “call for papers” sought papers that present original and innovative research of interest to those studying rhetoric, composition and writing across curriculum.

 

In the “Critical Approaches” section, the authors include students from Wilkes University, University of Hartford, University of Colorado and Marywood University. In Section II, all four authors are current or former New Mexico Tech students. They are Greg Koch, Nida Stewart, Linda Lambert and Anthony Perreault.

Koch’s research is “The Benefits of Using Web Content Management Systems.” Perreault studied “Analysis of Web Content Delivered to a Mobile Computing Environment.” Lambert authored “Socialization of the New Hire in the Workplace.” Stewart researched “Typeface and Document Persona in Magazines.”

Newmark started Xchanges as a graduate student at Wayne State University in Detroit in 2001. She also organized the Y/X Conference for interdisciplinary American studies. From 2001 to 2005, she oversaw the publication of nine editions and organized five conferences. When she left Wayne State to take a professorship at New Mexico Tech, the conference and the journal floundered. Her colleagues in Detroit gave their blessing for Newmark to move Xchanges to Tech. After a hiatus of nearly five years, Xchanges 6.1 marks the resurrection of the on-line journal.

The transition was difficult in several aspects, Newmark said. She hired two Technical Communication majors to do the website redesign and maintenance; first, intern Patrick Smith worked on the transition in 2008, then intern Nida Stewart in 2009. The technical details of transferring data took many hours of labor, as did building the new website. Resurrecting the journal was an equally arduous task. Newmark also had to rebuild and standardize assessment forms for the faculty review board to judge submissions. After issuing a call for papers in 2008, Newmark was disappointed with the initial response.

“I had to get a bit more pro-active,” she said. Her renewed effort resulted in a sufficient response from around the country and some high quality research projects that fit the theme.

“These student authors are entering professional discourse,” Newmark said. “Xchanges gives them a chance to publish the sort of research-based projects that will prepare them for the rigor of research and reporting standards in the workplace.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech