Several recent developments in the history of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) and Technical Communication Quarterly (TCQ) led to two special issues on the state of technical communication in its academic context. These issues focus on the work of the ATTW as it helps to guide the evolution of the field, including a description of its members, reflections on the journal and its history, assessment of student learning, research in the field, and the academic job market. The articles are written by members of the Executive Committee and their collaborators and others who are leaders in a particular subject area. The ATTW Executive Committee has taken the opportunity that change offers for some self-study and reflection on the field and the role of academics in it. This reflection will help leaders of the association and academics in general to develop a vision and plan for the future.
The two issues together provide historical background on the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) as well as data on current academic members of the field and their jobs, their teaching and research, and their programs. The focused goal of the issues is to help ATTW plan for the future by identifying needs, interests, and responsibilities of members, and the broader goal is to define the values and current practices as well as the visions and needs of technical communication in its academic context.