13:33 PM

8th Biannual Forum on Plain English Being Held Virtually Feb. 24

University of Houston-Downtown students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in the 8th Biannual Forum on Plain English organized by the Institute for Plain English Research & Study (IPERS) 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 24.

For this virtual event, participants must register by Monday, Feb. 21. The link to join the event will be emailed to those who have registered.

The forum aims to promote informed uses of Plain English guidelines, which are writing standards recommended by several government agencies for improved communications with the general public.

Event Presenters

Colleen Blessing
Retired Senior Writer/Editor & Plain Language Lead
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Blessing worked closely with agency authors (statisticians, engineers, mathematicians, industry specialists) at all levels to improve their writing skills. She served as primary author of the agency’s Writing Style Guide—which subsequently was adopted by three other U.S. federal agencies and won the Center for Plain Language’s 2013 ClearMark award for Best Original Public Sector document. After retiring in 2018, she volunteers as an editor for local organizations and as a teacher of English as a second language.

Gina Pearson
Award-Winning Digital Communicator
Pearson is an entrepreneurial, innovative, and versatile executive with three decades of digital communications experience including involvement with the U.S. Security & Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. Department of Education. An early proponent of usability and user-centered design within the federal government, she is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Rank Award—the annual White House honor to highly select members of the Senior Executive Service for sustained, exceptional performance. Pearson has been recognized twice with Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 Award and serves as a judge for the annual Webby Awards.

Caroline Jarrett
Forms Specialist
Jarrett advises organizations on how to make forms more effective and simpler to complete. Recent clients include the Future Farming & Countryside Programme for England, NHS Digital and the UK Government Digital Service. Her interest in surveys began when she discovered the extensive literature on survey methodology involving making questions easier to answer. Jarrett’s latest book, “Surveys That Work: A Practical Guide for Designing and Running Better Surveys,” was published in 2021. She is co-author of “Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability” and the textbook “User Interface Design and Evaluation.”

The forum is coordinated by Dr. Natalia Matveeva, UHD Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Dr. Michelle Moosally, UHD Associate Vice President of Planning & Curriculum​.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.