Book Title
Business Communication: Building Critical Skills 6th Edition

978-0073403267 Chapter 1 Appendixes

April 6, 2019
Part 3:
Appendix 1-A: Memo of Introduction
September 20, 2000
To: Business Communication Students
From: Kitty O. Locker
Subject: Kitty O'Donnell Locker on September 20, 2000
I'm looking forward to this quarter. I'm ending three years as a journal editor, and I hope to have time
not only to teach well but also to do some of my own work and plant bulbs. I may not get all of that
done, but I'm looking forward to ending a responsibility that has made life almost impossibly busy. I
feel more relaxed than I have in a long time.
Background Information
I was born in Wyoming, grew up in Kentucky, attended DePauw University in Indiana, and did my
graduate work at the University of Illinois. After earning my PhD, I taught at Texas A&M University
for a year and at Illinois for seven years before coming to Ohio State in 1985. In 1990, I received
tenure and promotion to associate professor.
Although I got into business communication by accident, I have stayed in it by design. The field has
been good to me. I've been very active in the Association for Business Communication; my textbook,
Business and Administrative Communication, is the number 1 book in the United States. My research
areas include the history of business communication, negative messages, collaborative writing, and the
writing of factory workers. In January 1999, I finally published a project that I began in 1976 on reader
responses to negative messages. My other decades-long project is a study of the correspondence of the
British East India Company (1600-1858). In The Development of the Faceless Bureaucrat, I trace the
evolution of bureaucratic writing in the first two centuries of the Company's correspondence and argue
that the basic causes of bureaucratic writing are psychological, not rhetorical. I laid the East India
project aside (not for the first time) to work on another textbook that will come out this December. But
in 2001, I actually hope to finish revising the East India book and get it off to a publisher. I'm finishing
three years of editing The Journal of Business Communication (JBC), which has been satisfying but
very time-consuming. I'm looking forward to doing some of my own work.
I've been fortunate in my personal life, too. In August, Bob Mills and I celebrated our 19th wedding
anniversary (in Nikko, Japan--a beautiful place). When I met Bob (in a disco dance class!), I was
divorced and felt dubious about marriage. With Bob, I've learned that a man and a woman can
communicate openly, that conflicts can be resolved, and that resolution produces intimacy. In a world
with so many unhappy marriages, I feel fortunate to be part of a strong one. I don't believe that people
need to confront the world in matched pairs, like bookends, but it feels very good to love and be loved
and to be part of a learning, growing, supportive relationship.
We spent the first year of our marriage in tiny Homer, Illinois, where Bob was pastor of the
Presbyterian church. Then Bob decided to pursue a ministry in "underdog law." His second career was
as an attorney with Ohio Legal Rights Service (OLRS), a state agency which represents people who are
Appendix 1-B: Memo of Introduction
Business Communication Students 2 September 20,
handicapped in civil suits. He's now reinvented himself again, as a computer network administrator for
OLRS. He got this new job without going back to school, without job hunting, and without losing
pension benefits. He loves his work.
When we married, we each had two cats. Four years ago, the last two died (at the advanced age of
18½). We now have just two cats in our second generation of cats. Honey-colored Webster is the
neighborhood charmer. He likes small children and knows more people in the neighborhood than we
do. One year a group of people came to our house to sing Christmas carols to him. Liza is solid black.
She is more of a home body than Webster. She was so scared when we brought her home from the
shelter that she slept in the ceiling of the basement for months. But over the years she's turned into a
In 1989, I went in for a baseline mammogram and discovered that I had breast cancer. I had a
lumpectomy and radiation. Six years ago, I had a recurrence, a mastectomy, and six months of
chemotherapy. I feel much more charitable about the chemo now that it's in the past and I'm fine and
can do what I want to do.
Personality and Beliefs
In some ways--not all--I'm very independent. I can become very enthusiastic about ideas and people.
I'm an ardent feminist, though there are definitely spots where my consciousness isn't as high as it
could be and I enact sex-role stereotypes. Bob is also a feminist. Many years ago, however, we aban-
doned our early effort to split the cooking evenly: I do all the cooking and Bob washes all the dishes.
We pay to have the house cleaned. What a pleasant luxury!
Although in some areas I'm a traditionalist, I'm a liberal on most issues, partly as a result of living with
Bob. I'm also developing a sense of humor. I actually emceed a roast a few years ago for a retiring
colleague and had the audience rolling with laughter on the last joke. (To be fair, it was one I'd heard
the roastee tell. But my timing was exactly right.)
I complain about having too much work to do (and I overcommit my time), but I like being busy and I
like doing projects that seem worth doing. When one project ends, I take on two more. I don't call
myself a workaholic--for one thing, I love to goof off, too--but for the last dozen years I've acted like
Many of my interests are long-standing. I like houses and decorating and gardening. Each spring, we
start some annuals and vegetables from seed in the basement under grow lights. I like OSU basketball,
expecially when we win. I like organ and harpsichord music and medium-hard rock. I like representa-
tional paintings, traditional ballets, and cheerful movies. I read science fiction and non-violent murder
mysteries (I like puzzles, not gore). I can appreciate modern and abstract art but I'm fondest of
Impressionist paintings. Visits to Florence and Rome have made me really appreciate Renaissance
frescos and everything by Michelangelo. Photographs of his statues and the Sistine Chapel just don't
measure up to the reality.
Appendix 1-C: Memo of Introduction
Business Communication Students 3 September 20,
Bob and I like traveling--to state and national parks, US cities, Williamsburg, Disney World, Europe,
and, most recently, Japan. When my professional conferences are in neat places, we try to spend a few
days before or after the conference exploring the city. I had a conference in Kyoto this summer, and we
two weeks touring Japan. (We got around fine, even though we don't read or speak Japanese. People
were very helpful.) Two years ago, we spent three weeks driving through Germany, Austria, and
Belgium with my brother (who lives in Scotland and speaks German); we visited Bob's sister who was
in Brussels at the time. She now lives in Africa, and perhaps someday we'll visit her there.
In 50 years, I've had the opportunity to do many things. The accomplishments which please me most at
this point are
1. Building good communication and problem-solving strategies in my relationship with
2. Playing Titania in a college production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
3. Being a friend and having good friends.
4. Feeling that the English department at OSU has accepted me and (perhaps) is even
beginning to accept business writing as a legitimate academic discipline.
5. Advising graduate students, and having both of my students on the job market last year
get tenure-track jobs.
6. Being the only person (so far) to receive both the "Outstanding Researcher Award" and
the "Outstanding Teacher Award" from the Association for Business Communication.
7. Helping a man at a local company go from being a "terrible" to an "excellent" writer, in
the judgment of his supervisor.
8. Having people come up to me at conferences and tell me that they really like using BAC.
In October, I'm giving a series of talks in Finland, and I need to prepare those presentations. I'd really
like to write two articles this quarter if I can. I need to finish up the remaining work on JBC. I also want
to teach well, get back on a regular exercise schedule, give some energy to my marriage, and, if time
permits, plant lots of spring bulbs.
Five years from now, I hope that The Faceless Bureaucrat will be in print, that both my textbooks will
be doing well in their respective markets, and that I'll be a full professor.
This term should be busy and satisfying. I look forward to working with you and