Business and Technical Writing

 

Business Writing (ENGL 307) and Technical Writing (ENGL 308) prepare students to navigate the complex and innovative terrain of the 4th Industrial Revolution by showing them how to become adaptive learners and problem-solvers in professional, scientific, and technical environments.

Our curriculum emphasizes ethics and inclusion, technological proficiency, evidence-based information delivery, content management, design strategies, collaboration, and engagement with professional communities. There is significant emphasis on writing across curricula and communities (WAC) and writing in specific disciplines (WID). Students in both courses prepare an end-of-term digital portfolio that showcases their writing and design work in the genres of their professional fields. These e-portfolios may then be shared with potential employers when they seek internships or go on the market.

Our Courses

In addition to learning how to compose career documents like resumes and cover letters, students in Business Writing (307) write and graphically design documents in a variety of professional genres that include formal reports, internal and external correspondence, and even web sites. They learn how to communicate effectively with business people across national and cultural boundaries, market products to target demographics, and edit and proofread professional documentation.

In Technical Writing (308) students learn how to compose and format technical reports, translate specialized technical information to the general public, conduct research in their major field, and edit technical material. Within a UX (User eXperience) context, they apply universal design principles to create both informational and instructional documentation that is usable and accessible.

Our Students and Instructors

Most of the students who enroll in the Writing Program’s 307/308 Business and Technical Writing curriculum are juniors and seniors majoring in STEM fields, including many associated with the Colleges of Public Health, Engineering, and Agriculture and Life Sciences. These courses satisfy the writing-emphasis course requirement and are part of the English Department’s Professional and Technical Writing Certificate Program.

Both courses are taught by Writing Program instructors, many of whom have worked with this curriculum for many years or have experience teaching in similar professional writing programs at other universities. Prior to teaching a course for the first time, new instructors enroll in a preparatory mini-course that overviews not only course contents, but the needs and expectations of the wider professional fields our students are being prepared to enter. Instructors likewise engage in ongoing professional development activities such as serving on task forces charged with curriculum review and development, program assessment, and inclusive practices appropriate for diverse populations served by an international research university that is also designated as a Land Grant and Hispanic Serving Institution.

Administration

Like the lower-division curricula (ENGL 101 and 102, 109, and 106, 107, and 108), this upper-division curriculum is coordinated by an Assistant Director who operates under the purview of the Writing Program Director. The current (interim) Assistant Director is Dr. Kevin Cassell and the current (interim) Writing Program Director is Dr. Shelley Rodrigo.