Russel Keith Hirst – fellows

Wikis > Russel Keith Hirst - fellows


For continuing devotion to his students and STC, for inspiring and mentoring students and colleagues for decades, and for his sustained, tireless dedication to the field. 


Russel Keith Hirst directs the Technical Communication Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He joined the Society for Technical Communication three decades ago, while earning his PhD in Communication & Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has been active in the Society ever since.

Russ is a former President of the East Tennessee Chapter and has chaired the Blakely Scholarship Committee for 20+ years, served on chapter committees, judged at writing competitions and science fairs, spoken at chapter programs, and mentored students in multiple STC functions. He has presented frequently at the Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC), his region’s STC conference, and has supported other regional STC conferences through promotion and student involvement. At the Society level, he served as a stem manager for Education and Training and co-edited the STC publication Education in Technical Communication: Academic Programs That Work. He now chairs STC’s student honorary societies, STX and AS, and he continues actively to promote students’ academic and personal growth, both during and after their academic training. In all this, he partners with STC to educate and professionalize students.

Much of Russ’s work as a teacher and researcher has had to do with efficiency and ethics in communication. He has also worked to describe effective forms of collaboration among various academic disciplines—primarily English, journalism, science,and engineering—in conjunction with practicing scientists and technical personnel in R&D and industry. He was his college’s first joint appointee to Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he researched communication in the nuclear industry. This collaboration led to his editorship of the International Journal of Nuclear Security. In all these capacities, Russ has continued to mentor students and train them in the craft of scientific and technical communication—and to promote the value of our craft in both academia and industry.

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