Category Archives: pedagogy

More responses to business major article

The reverberations from the “business major is slack” article continue at

Here is one interesting response….

here is the short version: Employers have repeatedly emphasized that they want to hire college graduates whose talents include writing. Ah, writing. Not something that biz majors are expected to do very often.

Here is the very sucko response from a business dean

The same tired line again and again:

Business students could very well be the most broadly educated students at a university. They take the same core writing, speech and general education classes as liberal arts students do. They are as apt to study abroad as students in other majors. But on top of that, they spend considerable time on practical skills.


global news sites

Here are the links that I mentioned in my presentation. There are many others out there, of course, but some of these might prove productive if you were trying to give students a different perspective on world events.

I found this first group of sites the most interesting:

The rest of these are more predictably oriented:

Article about the easiness of business major

Hopefully we don’t contribute to this….

p.s. remember reading this may add to your monthly available free articles from NYT.

Representing Discursive Work in the Workplace: Henry CH7

  If our definition of writing is to be the cornerstone of the types of professional writing courses we design, then a quick review of Jim Henry’s Chapter 7, “Representing Discursive Work in the Workplace,” found in Writing Workplace Cultures might help us to revisit our own definitions of writing, and may have us consider some productive alternatives.

  How we view the professional, or technical writer can definitely impact the type of courses we design to educate those writers.  Does the technical writer exist within an organization as a ‘scribe’ who is only to record others realities?  Does a technical writer’s use of machines, and collaborative approaches mean technical writers should pursue only secretarial functions?

   Consider a definition of writing that included not only the processes of writing, but writing also as a “unique form of meaning production and of discursive engagement as shaping realities rather than merely reflecting them” (Henry, 141)  Then our professional writing course design might look radically different then with the former approach.

   If you are interested in viewing a range of views of the professional writer, from ‘secretary’ or ‘scribe’ to the professional writer as an expert in navigating organizational and larger cultures who skillfully represents her discursive work in both document and cultural processing, then Henry’s work is worth reading prior to designing technical writing courses.

Case Studies Revisited

Reflection on our recent study of The Midwest Airlines Case and Lee’s post served as inspiration to delve a little further ito the use of case studies as a pedagogical tool for use in professional writing courses.  I found a few resources that might be of interest.  The third link is for a professional writing course designed around a series of case studies, hopefully you may find some of them useful.

–          Provides a 6 step method for the employment of case studies in research

–          Outlines general advantages and disadvantages of the case study method

–          This site explores several genres of professional writing, including the case study

–          The site provides general descriptions of professional writing genre, as well as specific examples: ie the case study, as well as useful links to other professional writing resources

–          Provides an example of professional writing course designed around a series of case studies.

–          Uses one of our texts for this course:

  • Locker, Kitty O. and Isobel Findlay. Essentials of Business and Administrative

Communication. Canadian ed. McGraw-Hill Ryerson: Toronto, 2009.

Course Description and Objectives

This course aims to introduce you to the basic grammatical and stylistic principles of good, clear, written

English within a specific context. That context is professional writing. You will be introduced as well to

basic theories and concepts in professional writing, given opportunities to develop skills applicable to

writing in a professional context, and encouraged to read about and apply findings from research in

professional writing. More generally, the course aims to help you develop “the ability to communicate

information, arguments, and analyses accurately and reliably, orally and in writing to a range of

audiences” (Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents’ statement on “University Undergraduate

Degree Level Expectations” 24 October 2005).

To provide the context for the course assignments, this course makes use of case studies. You will read a chapter about concepts of professional writing in the textbook, and then either create or read in case study materials a case study in which those concepts are operational. After group discussion of the cases, you will be asked to complete a written assignment that incorporates those principles.

the rheetoric of the resume….1984 style

The Rhetoric of the Resume by Steve W. Anderson

Abstract: A conceptual model can be devised based on J. Kinneavy’s formulation of the rhetorical triangle, which states that basic to all uses of language are a person who encodes a message, the signal or language that carries the message, the reality to which the message refers, and the decoder or receiver of the message. In the case of the job search, the encoder or job applicant is an outsider and the decoder or personnel officer an insider. Each has a different perception of the reality being dealt with in the search. This situation can be used by the applicant to help evaluate material for inclusion in the resume. Insiders have control over the description of the type of person they are seeking, but they have little control over how outsiders style themselves to fit that description. The applicants are, largely, what they say they are; that is, the readers of resumes know only what they are told. Outsiders should use this opportunity to make themselves appear to be insiders.

Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (Clearwater Beach, FL, April 12-14, 1984)….. if anyone wants to find it….

syallbi links

thought it might be helpful at this point in semester to list some interesting syllabi: (a Summer 2002 George Mason class)