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tpc •

times • Ferris State University • Fall 2010 •

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T a s h a :

The face of the new Torch

w h e n

Entering the Blogosphere

p r i n FacebookeMe! d ,

Academic Service Learning: Does Technical Writing Fit In? written by

Emily Leask A recent and important aspect of gaining an education at Ferris State University is the structuring of courses through Academic Service Learning (ASL). As explained on the Ferris website, ASL is a teaching and learning method that replaces traditional classroom techniques “with community service that is relevant to the subject material and meaningful to the community.” One of the visions of Ferris’ founder, Woodbridge N. Ferris, was for students to be involved in civic engagement. The Academic Service Learning Initiative at Ferris does just that by reconstructing courses to include projects that get students involved in the community and provide students with the skills to continue civic engagement after graduation. So where does technical writing fit into this new Ferris initiative?

t h e

Cont’d on page 3

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Reviving New Media: The Torch Creates a Stronger Online Presence written by

Antonio Coleman Providing campus-wide news since 1931, the Ferris State Torch has gained a larger audience with the

Fleming. “The web can be viewed from anywhere and can be updated at anytime.” Fleming said the Torch is currently attempting to create more online

“Online content supplements the

content. He said the unlimited space

newspaper by allowing us to provide

provided through the web allows for

timely information we cannot

convenient decision-making when

provide through our print version,”

choosing which content goes online.

said Thayer.

Pre-pharmacy major Jessica Hoang

launch of its newly redesigned

Thayer also said being able to relay

said she prefers to read the Torch’s


information through various media

online content. Hoang said the

has allowed readers to experience

timeliness of the web content allows

news more creatively.

her to receive faster information.

via the web hosting browser

“The Torch website benefits the

“I prefer the Torch online because I

DreamHost. Providing its online

newspaper greatly,” said Thayer.

have better access to it,” said Hoang.

readers with user feedback options

“We can provide more photos,

“I think most people find it easier to

and a weekly poll, the newly

videos and other forms of media that

read the Torch online.”

designed website gives users a

are not possible in print.”

First created in 1999, the Torch website was re-released Dec. 2009

much more interactive online experience.

Thayer said the Internet’s ability to

Multimedia Editor Michael Fleming

provide news quickly will be essential

said he agrees with the benefits the

to the evolution of web-based media.

Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Thayer has

online content provides users.

been working for the Torch since

Fleming said he sees the future of

2009 and said the website has

journalism as being expressed more

gained a lot of popularity since first


premiering in 1999. Thayer said the

“Online journalism will be the future,” Thayer concluded. View the new Torch website at

Torch’s online version has allowed

“I think online content can give more

for much faster, breaking news.

visually than a print newspaper,” said

“Relaying information through various media has allowed readers to experience news more creatively.”


TPC Times :: Fall 2010

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Academic Service Learning Cont’d from page 1

Communication Seminar (ENGL

Some projects the current class is

Professor Erin Weber explained,


working on include the College of

“At a glance, our classes are not highly ASL structured, but many components of that pedagogy are found in our courses.”

“Technical writing classes are perfect places to incorporate service learning,” said Professor Dr.

Arts & Science’s newsletter and posters for the Higher Learning Commission Awareness campaign.

Sandy Balkema, who teaches

Balkema believes that ASL is

The Technical and Professional

many of the previously mentioned

important because “Client-based

Communication program offers

courses. “We've always called it

projects give students real-world

several ASL-oriented courses,

‘client-based projects’ or

experience and a chance to

including Advanced Technical

‘professional field-based projects.’”

apply what they're learning to

Writing (ENGL 311), Proposal Writing (ENGL 323), Professional Technical Communication (ENGL 411) and the Technical

In her 411 classes, she works with students to brainstorm and write proposals for real projects on campus or in the community.

realistic tasks. In the process, if we can provide a useful service to local groups (campus and offcampus), that's tremendous.”

What Can Your Blog Do For You? written by

Jake White Blogs became popular in the

communicate with others through a

invaluable statistics about a

network of personal web-based



late nineties. The word “Blog”

In the last decade, the blogosphere

started as internet slang for the

has evolved into a limitless platform

term “web-log.”

of free expression and an ever- and similar websites allowed users to

expanding archive of popular interest.

work experience to potential employers, or even end up making a living for themselves, online. Today’s employers are blearyeyed from reading applications,

Today, anyone with access to the

and a well-managed blog can

Internet can blog about any topic

demonstrate work ethic and

imaginable. In the “blogosphere,” a

consistency. While it can make a

fledgling journalist may find an

great addition to a portfolio,

audience for a unique subject that

anyone can create a blog.

he or she wants to cover. A conscientious organization might use a blog to convey breaking information to employees, customers, or clients. Corporations can draw significant marketing data from blogging statistics about consumers. Politicians can observe trending topics and gather


TPC graduates can showcase their

Fortunately most bloggers are not writers by trade, so TPC grads have the advantage of their chosen craft. Those working in the communications field have an opportunity to use their skills and stand out as professionals – an opportunity that TPC grads should consider taking advantage of.

TPC Times :: Fall 2010

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Where In the World Are Our Interns? gathered by

time, they expand upon their

Kelsey Cleveland

chosen program focus in a real work setting.

Internships create the perfect

Show” in New York City, Road and Track magazine in Newport Beach, CA; GM; Chrysler; Michigan

opportunity to explore and apply the

These internships are completed

Christian Campus Ministries; the

technical writing skill set developed in

any time during their college career

Ferris Office of International

the classroom.

but are most often fulfilled during

Education; and a holy host of

their senior or junior years.


As part of the graduation requirement, all TPC students engage in a four- to

In past semesters, students have

eight- credit hour internship. During this

interned in some interesting places



Check out some of our most recent grads’ internship adventures.


Degree: Technical and Professional Communication

Degree: Journalism and Technical Communication

Degree: Journalism and Technical Communication

Internship location: Citadel Broadcasting Group, Lansing

Internship location: Women’s LifeStyle Magazine &

Internship location: Daily Herald, Chicago

Internship title: Radio Broadcast Intern

Internship title: Editor and Writer

Internship title: Reporter


A quote from her final report: “Internships create different experiences for every student who

Currently: Graduate school ~ Brighton, England

Sales Assistant ~ Citadel Broadcasting

A quote from his final report: “There wasn’t anything about this [internship] I really didn’t like. It was fun and challenging – it helped that from the start, everyone at liked me and I was able to make a good name for myself. Though I am not a fan of working the 5am shows, they in themselves are enjoyable. My [internship] prepared me for the future I hope to have in the industry; this three-month period gave me what I needed to move forward and to learn what I need to do to get to the position of ‘on-air.’ ”


that include “The David Letterman

indulges in them. For internship, it was pure virtual work; I brainstormed ideas for my supervisor, wrote what he picked from my ideas and submitted them in return for his critiquing, but helpful, words. Working for Women’s LifeStyle Magazine was also done virtually, but I was able to visit the office twice a month to participate in the final edits of the local and syndicated editions of the magazine. Having mostly virtual internships was both beneficial and difficult. I was able to work on my own time and work at my own pace - I was a freelancer.”

A quote from his final report: “My summer internship at the Daily Herald was an eye-opening experience, and I mean that in both a positive and negative way. I went into these past few months with the idea that this would help me gain a better perspective on what I ultimately want to do with my life. There were some very fulfilling moments during this time: I wrote about a woman who felt she had been wrongly fired for her newly discovered cancer; I wrote about a mayor misusing public resources; and I covered my first murder trial.”

TPC Times :: Fall 2010

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Status Updates: a Facebook Shout Out gathered by

Katie Rowley Mimi Miles traveled to Kenya in August as part of a tenmember mission team seeking to bring water and food to the nomadic Pokot tribe. Mike Potter works as the website coordinator for the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment. In addition to assisting with the day-to-day structural updates of and, he also gathers/edits content and manages the team's social media marketing efforts. Shanna Reynolds is a content developer and being mentored in project management at Media1 in Grand Haven, MI. In her free time she makes art out of duck tape, is learning the ins and outs of digital photography, and spends time with her husband and 3 dogs. If you would like to see a duct tape project, you can see one here: Nicole Raymond is working as an editorial intern with SMITH Magazine. Check out the six-word memoirs at & add your own! Sidebar, reapplying to Emerson College in Boston - Second time around might be the charm! Ted Johns moved to Virginia Beach, VA after graduating from the TPC Program in 2000 (thank you, Sandy!). He began his career in Information Technology as a Front End Web Technology Specialist. From then until now, he has worked for a variety of online companies including Reynolds Web Solutions, and He has now continued his career with Operation Blessing International in Chesapeake, VA as a Web Specialist. He can't say enough about his time at Ferris with the TPC program. If not for the staff and program, he’s not sure where he’d be today.


Steve Orlowski now works in Troy, MI, writing training material for Ford dealerships. It's a lot of fun getting paid to write about cars everyday...he says he never thought he'd enjoy it this much. Mary (Huhtala) Hartman now works in catering management and lives along the Colorado front range with her husband, Matt. Penny Bouman is enjoying retirement, making pottery, and camping with her husband in their new-to-them motor home since she closed her consulting business. Jenna Petroskey is a senior course developer for Siemens PLM Software which provides product lifecycle management and engineering software to companies in every kind of industry. Jenna has spent the last fourteen years customizing online and instructor-led training for automotive and aerospace/defense customers. She (rather gleefully!) noted that her long daily commute means that she spends more than 10% of every workday in her car! Dan Hamilton is currently in Brighton, England, studying at the University of Sussex for an MA in Social and Political Thought. When not in the library or lectures, he is soaking up English culture and roaming around Europe as much as a grad student's financial situation will allow for. Kristen (Schmidt) Hines was married on August 13, 2010, to Charles Hines, and they celebrated with a Cirque du Soleil wedding (Ed: check out their incredible wedding photos J. Harrison Carpenter gave a presentation at Quinnipiac University's 3rd International Critical Thinking/Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in early November (John teaches tech writing at U of Colorado/Boulder.) Sarah Erlewine currently lives in Ann Arbor where she is employed at the University of Michigan producing ESL tests. She intends to pursue her Master of Public Health degree in Health Communications. In her spare time, she is busy planning her upcoming wedding.

Join the Ferris TPC Facebook group to reconnect.

TPC Times :: Fall 2010

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A Note from Sandy Balkema TPC alums, friends, and family:

Class Shot!

English 411, Fall of 2010 was: Dr. Sandy Balkema, Antonio Coleman, Jake White, Natasha Berryman; (bottom row) Kelsey Cleveland, Emily Leask, Katie Rowley

Another year, and another chance to catch up with old friends, celebrate our successes, and look to the future. I love this opportunity to show off the skills of our current students – and to give them a chance to learn about your contributions to our program and your successes in the “real world.”

and we’re encouraged by the evaluations we received from our students, our grads, and our alumni board members. We’re also encouraged by the signs of renewal in the job market for professional writers. We feel more confident about sending our grads into careers as writers and journalists.

A few words about our program progress: first, the TPC Program is alive and well! The TPC Program has about the same number of students that we’ve had historically: about 25-30 students in the six TPC “options” (the TPC BS, the Journalism BS, the two minors, and the two certificate programs). Second, we’re in the process of finishing our latest Program Review self-study process,

We love hearing from all of you and encourage you to send emails and to find us on Facebook (search for our individual pages and our TPC Program page). Stay in touch! Once a member of the TPC family, ALWAYS a member! (You know, you can choose your friends, but not your family!) Erin Weber, Steve Fox and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season! - Sandy

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The newsletter was marketed to alumni and students who were interested in or were already studying Technical and Professional Communication...