In the Spotlight: Miriam F. Williams

Congratulate Miriam F. Williams as she takes on the position of Editor-in-Chief for the journal, Technical Communication, beginning in January 2021. She brings a most outstanding background to the position.
 
 
“Dr. Williams, a Professor, Associate Chair for the Department of English, and former Director of the MA in Technical Communication at Texas State University, brings extensive professional and academic experience to the journal’s helm.

In her professional career, Dr. Williams worked for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission (DHS) where, as a Policy Specialist, she worked as a Regulation Editor/Developer. Later, at DHS, Dr. Williams became the Program Administrator for Regulation Editors. 
 
After completing her PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University, Dr. Williams began her academic journey at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX starting in 2005. She was the Presidential Fellow for 2011/2012 and achieved the rank of Full Professor in 2014. Dr. Williams is an award winning scholar; she recently received the 2020 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Article Reporting Historical Research or Textual Studies in Technical and Scientific Communication. 
 
Along with her co-editor, Dr. Williams has also edited two collections on race, diversity, and ethnicity. In 2017, she was elevated to Fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW).”

In her 2018 citation to ATTW Fellow, (Written by Jerry Savage), the following remarks speak volumes. This is especially from the comments about how Miriam convinced “the Fulbright committee that a relatively young and small field like Technical Communication deserved the opportunity to be considered for the Fulbright.”
 
Remarks from Natasha Jones
 
Miriam is an amazing scholar and mentor. For me, as a junior scholar and a black woman in technical communication,  Miriam has been a guiding light for me both personally and professionally in regard to my academic scholarship and career. I can quite honestly say that meeting Miriam has been life-changing. 
 
I first read her book, Black Codes, as a graduate student. I was honored to be able to review the book for one of the tech comm journals. Undoubtedly, the rigor of her scholarship was impressive. But, perhaps most important for me at the time, was the spirit of her work which demonstrated a true dedication to investigations about the interconnections of technical communication, race, and social justice. In a field that is often viewed as objective and neutral, I immediately appreciated the passion and dedication that was evident in Miriam’s work. I NEEDED Miriam’s work. I needed the permission, encouragement, and support to be able to research and examine issues of race, of social justice, of equality, and of genuine inclusion within the field of technical communication. Miriam, in her work, before I even met her in person, provided me this space and made way for my voice, years later, to be heard.
 
Miriam has continued to be influential in my life and my career. I turn to her for advice and guidance. I learn from her each time we talk. I am honored to call her my mentor and humbled to call her my friend.
 
Remarks from Michael Trice 
 
Miriam Williams helped me switch careers and switch lives. She was instrumental to two of the most important documents I’ve written: my Texas State master’s thesis and my Fulbright application. I’ll never know what battles she fought in 2008 convincing the Fulbright committee that a relatively young and small field like Technical Communication deserved the opportunity to be considered for the Fulbright, but I’ll always be deeply grateful to her for serving as my committee advisor during that once in a lifetime opportunity. The field should also know of the service she provided in ensuring I had that opportunity.
 
Equally importantly, her ethics course presented me with my first opportunity to look at civil online discourse as an ethical issue that fit within the realm of technical communication. I’d be hard-pressed to name a single other class more vital to my eventual research agenda.
 
Miriam was a calm, steady mentor who was always willing to help and always demonstrated a genuine interest in you as a student and as a person. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with her and to learn from her.
 
By Jeanette Evans