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WRTG 3040 Writing on Business and Society

Instructor Contact

Marlene Miyamoto


About the Course

Designed for juniors and seniors majoring in business, economics, and international studies, the course will help you:

  • Hone your rhetorical analysis, critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills
  • Identify your own communication strengths and challenges and learn to address them independently
  • Gain rhetorical tools to accelerate your ability to produce new genres in settings beyond this class
  • Apply your disciplinary expertise to issues in corporate and public policy
  • Shape communication to the audiences, purposes, and issues found within a professional context
  • Practice working constructively within a community of communicators

The course will be conducted as a workshop in which your own writing and speaking projects serve as core materials.  Although there is no formal prerequisite, the work requires that you already have some facility in writing. We will focus on the communication strategies and forms as well as the analysis and argument that drive professional writing—that is, on shaping your writing and speaking so that your point is focused, compelling, persuasive, and supported with evidence.  We will also explore sources that are commonly used in conducting business research.

Course Objectives

Extend Rhetorical Knowledge: Rhetoric is the art of shaping words and images to move a particular audience to a particular purpose. An advanced knowledge of the rhetoric used within specialized disciplines sharpens the ability of a communicator to choose the most effective evidence, reasoning, and communication strategies for a professional audience and purpose.

  • Readings from The Business Writer’s Companion will introduce the rhetorical concepts that serve as the framework for the course.
  • Handouts will distill those concepts to a form that can be readily remembered and applied.
  • An extended project will place the critical thinking that drives professional communication into rhetorical contexts that involve positioning yourself within a professional and/or civic environment, influencing decision-making, and analyzing issues related to corporate social

Extend Experience in Writing Processes: Writing—including the writing involved in speaking—is an ongoing process that requires multiple drafts as well as a range of strategies for developing, revising, and editing texts. Advanced skill in engaging the writing process increases both efficiency and effectiveness in generating work on the job. The pervasiveness of collaboration in professional settings also requires advanced skill in reviewing the work of colleagues.  Writing and speaking, whether individually or as part of a team, are formed within a community of colleagues.

  • Workshops and feedback forums provide opportunities to develop skill in giving constructive feedback as well as incorporating feedback into the development of your own work.
  • Projects provide practice in using technologies such as PowerPoint, graphics, electronic communication, and online research tools.
  • Work with the business library exposes you to specialized sources that connect you to the issues, language, and modes of analysis generated by your field.
  • Repeated examination of evidence and reasoning in the development of your research project will give you practice in evaluating sources for accuracy, relevance, credibility, reliability, and bias.

Extend Mastery of Writing Conventions: The sequence of assignments will give you practice in analyzing and developing common forms of professional communication, in interpreting and using the language of your field, and in designing communication strategies that meet the expectations of specialized readers.

You will learn the elements of effective business writing style. You will also become aware of elements of your own writing that can be improved, including syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Advance Content Knowledge: The range of assignments as well as exposure to the work of your peers will heighten your awareness of the relationship between the specialized content and various audiences, particularly those engaged in global questions of corporate social responsibility. This awareness will translate into facility in adapting content and communication strategies to the expertise, needs, and expectations of a particular audience.

Required Texts

  • The Business Writer’s Companion, 7th edition, by Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, and Walter E. Oliu, which lays the rhetorical foundation for professional communication in both theoretical and practical terms.
  • Your projects and the projects of your peers discussed in workshops and feedback sessions, giving you the opportunity to apply rhetorical concepts, critique your own work and the work of colleagues, and practice the process of developing effective
  • Articles that place professional communication in a rhetorical context, with an emphasis on decision making and corporate social


A job application package 10%
Preparation material and follow-up correspondence for interviewing 5%
LinkedIn profile project 5%
A research project drawing on your own background and interest 30%
A project proposal for your research project 5%
A presentation based on your research project 5%
A full written draft of the project 5%
Discussion board post and response 35%

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado