From its center to its edges, English is about the social and cultural uses of language, literacies, and texts, past and present, and because of this fact, it is both dependent upon and, at the same time, capable of enriching and supporting work in a number of other disciplines. As students in our program become more and more accomplished, they will learn to bring all their abilities, knowledge, and attitudes to bear simultaneously on the language situations that their courses and their lives outside the classroom may place them in.
Our Professional Writing and Rhetorics program prepares students to bring the theory and competencies of English Studies to professional and civic contexts where language and texts are involved in decisions and actions resulting in social and organizational change. The complexity of such literacies requires far more than technical competencies in writing, editing, and designing texts.
In our program, such competencies are theoretically informed, guided by an understanding of the moral, legal, and political consequences of professional practices in the workplace, in the public forum, and in private life. Such critical knowledge and the ability to responsibly apply it is increasingly important in a world of multiple Englishes and multiple literacies, a world in which we cross cultural borders every day to interact with people to whom we and our ways of communicating are different, yet with whom we need to find ways to understand each other.
Technical/professional writers are, we believe, the quintessential citizens of global border zones. Our role in this complex and rapidly changing world is to facilitate understandings across discourses, languages, and semiotic systems. We value all of the resources that the English Studies perspective provides for fulfilling that role.
Our Ph.D. graduates specializing in Technical Writing have been very productive. See our alumni page for more information.