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English Professor Julia Williams Honored for Service to IEEE Professional Communications Society

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Julia Williams teaching.

Julia Williams

Julia Williams, professor of English and executive director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment has received the Emily K. Schlesinger Award for outstanding service to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Professional Communication Society (PCS). The technical society is dedicated to effective communication in engineering.

The award was presented this week during PCS's international professional communication conference in Limerick, Ireland.

Williams is PCS's past-president, was the group's conference chair in 2011, conference proceedings chair, outreach chair, and began serving on the administrative council in 2001. She led the creation of a strategic plan and vision to realign the professional communication society's mission to meet the needs of working engineers, engineering educators, and professional communicators. She also designed and implemented new approaches to conference management, resource management, and outreach, forming partnerships with other IEEE societies that have increased PCS's visibility within IEEE.

As a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty, Williams has worked with engineers and students for more than 20 years, helping them improve their written and oral communication skills. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the impact of pen-based technologies on learning and teaching. Her articles on assessment practices, electronic portfolios, and accreditation procedures have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transaction on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly. She is also co-author of the upcoming IEEE Guide to Writing in Technical and Engineering Fields.

Williams received the Rose-Hulman Board of Trustees' Outstanding Scholar Award for creating and implementing the RosE Portfolio System, an online portfolio assessment tool that is still in use today as the RosEvaluation Tool. She also helped organize the annual Making Academic Change Happen conference, educating higher education professionals to be change agents on their campuses; organized the RosEvaluation Conference, to pass along assessment and evaluation tools to educators and leaders; and has helped lead Rose-Hulman's Leadership Advancement Program, which has expanded student leadership skills.

Schlesinger served as PCS president in 1976 and 1977, edited the society's newsletter, and broadened the sphere of PCS to include those who communicate in English as a second language. She also helped the PCS education committee launch home study, conference, and workshop writing courses.