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NMSU President Couture named fellow of international professional association

Barbara Couture, president of New Mexico State University, was selected as a fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing during the group's annual conference March 17 in Louisville, Ky.



Barbara Couture, president of New Mexico State University, was selected as a fellow of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing during the group's annual conference March 17 in Louisville, Ky.

Although not able to attend to accept her award in person, Couture sent a video message to the group. In it, she acknowledged the roles many of the prior fellows played in mentoring her during her career.

"In looking over the list of other ATTW Fellows, I see the names of many people who have made lasting contributions to this field, and contributions to me, personally, all the way back to my first years as a student at the University of Michigan," Couture said. "I am very proud of my association with the technical writing community; I will treasure this as one of the most significant achievements of my academic career; and I thank you all very much for this honor."

Couture was recognized for devotion throughout her career to the discipline of teaching technical writing. She brought those and many other skills to NMSU when she was selected in November 2009 as the university's 25th president.

Prior to her NMSU appointment, Couture was the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2004 -2009). Couture also served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University in Pullman (1998-2004). She began her academic career as an assistant professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1980, was promoted to associate professor, achieved tenure in 1986 and achieved the rank of professor in 1994.

At Wayne State, she also served as an associate dean for curriculum in the College of Liberal Arts (1990-91) and associate dean for metropolitan programs and summer sessions in the College of Lifelong Learning (1993-97), where she was responsible for the management of six extension campuses.

An award-winning writer, Couture received the Outstanding Book Award at the 2000 Conference on College Composition and Communication for "Toward a Phenomenological Rhetoric: Writing, Profession and Altruism." Her publications include six authored/edited books and numerous chapters and articles. She also sits on the editorial boards of two academic journals.

Couture earned her bachelor's degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan (1970) where she also earned master's and doctor of arts degrees in English language and literature (1973, 1980). Couture and her husband, Paul, have been married for 39 years.

The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing was formed in 1973 to encourage dialogue among teachers of technical communication and to develop technical communication as an academic discipline. ATTW today has approximately 1,000 members and includes both graduate and undergraduate students of technical communication as well as professional technical communicators in business and industry.