We at Boise State see technical communication as a humanistic discipline; that is, we approach it as a set of principles, tools, and practices that enable people to communicate with each other for mutual benefit. Technical communication is a major means by which people navigate through a high-tech world, but our emphasis always remains on the needs of people.
Virtually everyone who holds a job does some technical communication, but there are some 50,000 technical communicators in the United States who are specialists in creating, shaping, and transmitting technical information so that people can use it safely, effectively, and efficiently. Although most of the courses in the program involve high-technology tools, the core of technical communication is clear written and oral communication. The study of ethics is fundamental in our approach to technical communication: the writer’s understanding that the people who read and use the information must be treated with dignity, as people rather than as users. Also fundamental is the writer’s awareness that technical communication can affect various constituencies—from co-workers to customers to the general public—and even the environment itself.