By Gian Bruno, Academic Counselor, HCDE
After nearly three decades as the "Department of Technical Communication," TC is changing its name to Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE). The decision to change names has not been taken lightly but the change itself is happening fast and furiously. The new name took effect beginning January 2009, with the course titles and Time Schedule reflecting the changes starting in Autumn 2009.
"The field is changing," said professor and chair Jan Spyridakis. "Given where the computing world is going, our work encompasses more than writing and editing. The new name reflects that broader focus."
A committee broadly researched new name choices and implications -- both in industry and in academia. The goal was to recommend the best name that would reflect the breadth and depth of the faculty at UW. The decision to change names was accelerated by the addition of four new faculty to the department beginning in 2009. These new faculty, with degrees in Computer Science, Information Science, Psychology, and Industrial Engineering, enrich HCDE's research and teaching capabilities, and increase our faculty numbers by more than one-third.
"Computing is moving off of people's desktops and into mobile computers, into handheld devices -- smart phones, iPods, etc. -- and becoming embedded in everyday technologies. We're even computing when we go to banks and use ATMs. Technical communication has moved from creating a user manual that fits all users to the designing and engineering of communication solutions that work effectively for individuals and communities in varying social and cultural environments," Spyridakis said.
News of the new name has been met with great enthusiasm by current and past students alike. Students are eager to get the new degree title on their transcripts.
HCDE will continue to offer bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees, as well as two evening certificate programs in Human-Centered Design and Technical Writing and Editing. And while everyone is excited about the new name, the department is confident it is offering students the same great education it always had—it simply has a name that is more representative of the current research and curricula.
For more information about the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, contact adviser Gian Bruno (firstname.lastname@example.org) and visit our website, which is still undergoing our rebranding changes.