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WRTG 3040 Writing on Business and Society

Instructor Contact:

Allison Carr Waechter


Course Description

In this course, students will learn the basics of modern and traditional professional writing, as well as examining and analyzing business issues across fields. This course places a great deal of emphasis on understanding and mastering rhetorical strategies in real-life professional writing scenarios.

This course has three main goals:

  1. “Communicate”To give students a chance to master a professional writing “voice.” Students will be asked to own their words and to think about them in terms of representation, rather than simply expression. This takes into consideration the students’ experience with basic academic writing skills and pushes them to think of things like style, tone and voice as a part of their personal branding strategy.
  2. “Strategize”To prepare students for the compositional aspects of a modern job market. Students will come away from the course with a well-considered personal branding strategy and a polished application portfolio that will support their vision of themselves as new graduates and novice professionals.
  3. “Professionalize”To further students’ understanding of academic research and translating those skills into ones they can use post-graduation to set themselves apart from their peers. Students will consider common issues across industries like perceptions of millennial workers and corporate social responsibility to hone their skills in making complex research and ideas understandable for a variety of audiences.

These goals are at the heart of each of the course’s assignments and the framework of the course structure. Every assignment is carefully scaffolded in order to build understanding of these issues and deepen students’ knowledge and skill base in terms of these three goals.

Course Objectives

Rhetorical Knowledge/Situation:

One of the primary rhetorical situations that this course will focus on examining is that of the reader-centered writing that requires the writer to have a firm understanding of the rhetorical situation that each document “lives” within. Students will be asked to address their reader’s needs through design, visual rhetoric and writing style. These rhetorical principles are supported in tutorials on visual rhetoric and design (developed by graphic designer, Dave Underwood and Lynda resources) and readings from a variety of professional texts, both academic and popular. Our focus will be to make students comfortable negotiating the many complex, genre-specific writing situations that professional writing requires. Feedback will be based on rubrics that emphasize the complexity of analysis in content production, quality of design and style and the consideration of multiple audiences.

Writing Process:

Students in this course will engage in a writing process that mimics workplace writing. A strict adherence to deadlines will be imperative to the writing process, as well as instilling a sense of accountability while engaging in feedback processes. Students will learn to navigate the many roles that a workplace writer must take on in order to communicate effectively. Assignments are scaffolded so that students will use an “inside out” approach to first produce documents for personal use and then apply the professional style that they develop to larger, content driven group projects. Students will use collaborative technology to edit and incorporate feedback.


This course will introduce students to conventions of professional communication and how they differ from those they are most familiar with in academia. Students will utilize a writing process that considers the reader’s needs from the outset of the project. In learning to do so, students will learn to adjust their communication to consider the ways elements of style regarding clarity, concision, tone and usability/design all affect particular audiences. Assignments will demand that students write for a range of audiences, both public and private. This course will also examine the ways that digital identities affect professional communication and identities.

Critical Thinking/Advanced Content Knowledge:

Students will write specialized documents for the Organizational Branding Unit that will require them to read, evaluate and then synthesize trade research. In the Conference Call project students will synthesize a variety of academic, lay and popular sources to discuss their ongoing research. Using presentation technology, students will create a digital narrative that will demonstrate their ability to write and present for a specific audience with complex expectations.

Required Texts:

No required text


Assignments will be graded as follows.

Virtual Classroom

  • Blog Posts and Comments (15%)
  • Lecture Responses (5%)


Portfolio A: Traditional

  • Resume (2.5%):
  • LinkedIn Profile (2.5%):
  • Cover Letter and Organization Analysis (5%):

Portfolio B: Branding

  • Personal Branding Strategy and Online Audit (5%)
  • Digital Branding (15%)


  • Topic Choice Form (2.5%)
  • Conference Call and Deck (Conference Call 5% | Deck 5%)
  • Annotated Bibliography (Individual Grade) (2.5%)
  • Website (15%)
  • Sample Blog Posts (5%)
  • Group Evaluations (5%)


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