Joseph J. Devney

For dedication and commitment to STC at both the community and Society levels, and for consistent advancement of technical communication through knowledge sharing.

Joseph J. Devney, MA, began his career in technical communication by writing system administrator manuals, and joined STC shortly after starting that first assignment. He spent the next several years on a wide variety of technical communication projects in software, biotech, and telecommunications, among other industries. Alongside this paid work, he chaired the editorial board for his college alumni newsletter. He volunteered with the STC Berkeley Chapter, first with small tasks, then as chapter president, an office he held for three years. And he has judged local and international technical communication competitions many times.

In 2007, Joe took a sabbatical to return to school and earned an MA in linguistics from Georgetown University. He is the only person ever to complete the masters in language and communication program in just two semesters. His graduate school experience opened up both new career paths and new ways to contribute to STC. His particular interest is the intersection of language and law. He gives classes to lawyers about the roles that linguistics can play in the justice system— and along the way mentions that technical writers can also be of help to lawyers. He has been a guest speaker at several STC chapters on a variety of topics, including forensic linguistics, designing presentations, and how to convince management to hire more and better tech pubs staff members. He also returned to the chapter presidency.

Since completing graduate school, Joe has returned to the classroom in the role of professor, including teaching visual rhetoric and document design at San Francisco State University.