My primary focus is technical and professional writing. However, I also teach general writing courses that are less technical in nature. Having spent over 20 years in industry as a professional writer, I tend to think about how I can help students become stronger writers in the workplace. I also believe that, in becoming stronger writers, students should enjoy the process. So I try to structure my classes in a way that allows students to improve their writing skills while writing about topics that interest them.
Having spent a long career as a technical writing practitioner, I believe in learning by doing. My approach is to combine lectures on concepts with practical assignments that involve individuals and groups analyzing examples and working on related exercises and projects. My job as teacher is to link students’ exercises to academic concepts and professional experiences. I am also interested in helping aspiring professional writers understand, plan for, and work toward a career in writing, including building résumés and portfolios that will make prospective employers take a second look. But even if students do not want to become professional writers, they inevitably will have to combine writing with their profession. With this in mind, I try to ensure that students not only become stronger writers but also understand what it will mean to become subject matter experts on writing projects in their future jobs.
As for my own writing, I am particularly interested in how users of computer applications and consumer products work with supporting documentation. I am also interested in how technical writers can improve documentation practices and delivery methods to provide users with information quickly, efficiently, and accurately. My published work has been predominantly practitioner-based and designed to teach authors of online documentation the tools and techniques of their trade.
My other writing interests include screenwriting, which was my motivation to earn my MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage and to create a screenwriting course at WPI. I have written several screenplays and begun countless others. I can only hope someday to see one of them play out on screen.