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From the Editor's Desk
2004, Q3 (July 10, 2007)
by Michael Harvey, Managing Editor, Carolina Communiqué

What value do you put on membership in STC?

I asked that in the Q4 issue, and value returns as the theme of this one. According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, value means “an amount, as of goods, services, or money, considered to be a fair and suitable equivalent for something else; a fair price or return.” Value implies exchange — I give something, I get something in return, and what I get back should be worth as much or, preferably, more than I give. We pay dues to STC every year. What’s our return on that investment?

Anjela Dukes reports in her President’s Message that the value provided by STC Carolina does not come without cost. Budget cuts are on the horizon, but we hope not at the expense of benefits What benefits are those? Many technical communicators I’ve spoken to find the opportunity to network and to increase their visibility to be the primary benefits of membership. Well, what better way to network than by attending Tri-Doc 2005? What better way to increase your visibility than by participating in this local conference, either as a volunteer or a speaker (or both)? Anjela tells you how.

Region 2 Director-Sponsor Vici Koster-Lenhardt describes how chapters all over our region are holding local conferences and strategic planning meetings to provide value. Society president Andrea Ames writes about how STC international intends to provide value in the future. Chris Benz, who preceded Vici as Director-Sponsor, points out that the value you get from STC membership depends on your level of involvement.

What better way to network than to increase [your] visibility.....?
Our chapter’s value was recognized at STC’s 51st Annual Conference in Baltimore. We inadvertently omitted an article from the last issue that celebrated the awards we received there. Here it is, one quarter later, but better late than never.

Two past presidents of our chapter and a distinguished chapter service winner collaborate on an article that examines the vocabulary of the evolving discipline of technical communication. It’s often valuable, when caught up in the day-to-day grind, to step back and look at the bigger picture, as Bill Albing, Michelle Corbin, and Ann-Marie Grissino point out.

There’s value in continuous improvement. Principles of continuous improvement are applied to just about any process you can think of, including technical documentation. To implement a continuous improvement process, you have to measure your progress. This is where metrics come in, as Jules Cohen explains in his article.

Though we received positive feedback from the 2003-2004 STC Newsletter Competition judges, we did not get an award. You may be surprised to find out why. I tell you more in an article entitled “Rules are Rules.”

Deborah Long, a past president of the Houston Chapter, points out in an article reprinted from Tieline that former presidents have a lot of wisdom to offer current administrations. Their experiences, observations, and advice can provide incalculable value. Read her article to find out more.

One way that Society recognizes the value of its individual members is by conferring the honor of Associate Fellow. Larry Kunz solicits nominations in an article that originally appeared in Tieline.

In my Q4 editor’s note, I said “I, personally, have found the most value not from what I got from the chapter, but from what I gave. Volunteering my time, I gained valuable experience. Volunteering my knowledge, I gained insight. Volunteering my talents, I gained skill.” This continues to be true, but I do need to get something back from Society to continue to invest in it. Society showed it understood this message as it undertook the Transformation initiative. See http://www.stc.org/transformation/ for more information.

The STC web site lists these goals:
  • Enhance the professionalism of the members and the status of the profession
  • Provide information through publications, reports, and conferences
  • Report on new communication technologies, methods, and applications
  • Provide recognition and awards
  • Provide services to members at all levels of the Society
  • Promote the education of members and support research activities in the field
  • Give service to industry and academe

Is STC fulfilling these goals for you? If not, ask yourself why. Are you giving enough to get back what you deserve? Are you getting enough to continue to give? Value requires active engagement in the process of exchange. How engaged are you?

Are you getting value from this newsletter? If not, tell me how we can give you more. The newsletter is only as valuable as the quality and quantity of the articles we publish. You can contribute to that — by writing me or by submitting an article. Please write me at mtharvey at yahoo dot com, and share your ideas. End of article.

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