English | Professional Writing Skills
W231 | 0242 | David Nordloh


8:55A-10:10A D (25) 3 CR.

This class will simulate the working environment of an office.  Part
of the time the instructor will play the role of
employer/supervisor, and students will be employees, meeting the
demands of a sequence of job assignments with a variety of writing
products  sum s, memos, press releases, letters, summaries,
feasibility studies, and reports.  The assignments will demand
attention to content and organization as well as to the physical
design of the finished product.  As in any real job, the work will
be constant and focused, with at least twelve writing activities in
the six weeks of the course (though they will also be brief, usually
1-2 pages), plus the background research and data collection
associated with them.  The instructor will also occasionally be an
instructor, and the students will be students, discussing the
general and specific demands of the different tasks and examining
samples of already completed assignments to see what succeeds and
what doesn . There are no quizzes or exams, and the only text is the
universally valued handbook on writing, Strunk and White  The
Elements of Style (4th ed.).

The premise of the course is very simple: no matter what the
situation, effective writing always has the same qualities.  Whether
it  a short class assignment for a professor, a lab writeup, a memo
to a supervisor, or a special report to the President of the United
States, it has to be clear, concise, organized, purposeful,
attentive to the topic, the occasion, and the audience.  I will
constantly highlight the connections between writing for the
professional contexts of work and career and the kinds of academic
assignments students have already faced.  As a result, participants
should leave the course better equipped for writing of all kinds.
They will also leave with the solid beginnings of a professional
portfolio, helpful in getting the kinds of jobs for which this
writing training prepares them.