Universal Application of the Professional Writing Studies Minor

No matter what career path you take after graduation, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be required to write. As Coordinator of the Professional Writing Studies (PWS) minor and Assistant Professor of English, Rebecca Pope-Ruark explains, “Every career requires writing skills, and strong communicators are statistically more likely to advance in their organizations. PWS is flexible, engaging, and complements any major on campus. Every student who thinks writing will be part of a future career should seriously consider the PWS minor.”

While your career path may not require you to write long, comprehensive reports on a daily basis, even composing emails in the workplace requires an ability to effectively express yourself based on an understanding of rhetoric. It is in response to this universal need for strong professional communication skills that the Professional Writing Studies Minor was created.

The Professional Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary minor that aims to strengthen students’ writing abilities while allowing them to get experience with the kind of applied writing practices that are needed in both graduate school and the professional world. It gives students the skill set to recognize audiences, understand how to more effectively analyze and meet both client and consumer needs, improve writing and communication skills in a wide array of contexts, mediums, and genres; utilize new technologies to foster creativity and communication; and convey messages to audiences clearly and persuasively.

The minor requires students have to take English 215 and a 4-credit internship as well as their choice of a number of electives, but exciting and more flexible curricular revision is underway. By providing a wide range of possible electives, the program allows students to tailor the minor to their field of interest. (Check out the info sheet for more information on the minor and a list of courses that meet the current requirements.)

Taylor Sperry was a Business Administration major at Elon who minored in PWS. Currently, she is working as a Brand Assistant for Gerber in the infant division at Nestle Nutrition. She commented on how participating in the minor better prepared her for her current position: “Being able to say that I minored in PWS gives me additional credibility at work.” She said that while her supervisor knew that she had a background in business, she believes her participation in the PWS minor let them know, “ I can write, and I can write well.” She emphasized that it’s not just about writing, which it what makes the minor exceptionally useful. She explained that “Professional Writing has a much wider scope: professional communication.  Whatever job I have in the future, I will need to have strong communication skills to write emails, present ideas, create project briefs, etc.  Professional Writing Studies is, in my opinion, one of the most practical minors available at Elon, especially when combined with another strong, practical field of study like Business.”

Tiana Tucker, who recently graduated from Elon’s Communications School, also shared what impact the PWS minor has had on her professional life post-graduation. As an Online Marketing Assistant in Denmark, Tucker has seen benefits from the minor’s focus on thinking about audience, “not only from a rhetoric standpoint but also from a visual point of view as well.” She appreciated the internship component of the course requirements, noting it “pushed me to think about what areas of Communications or Professional Writing that I hadn’t yet received hands-on experience with that I should explore.“

As Assistant Professor of Communications Julie Lellis noted, “The PWS curriculum gives students the unique opportunity to increase the sophistication and diversity of their writing skills. Talented, efficient, creative, and effective writers have an advantage in today’s competitive job market.”

To learn more about the PWS minor, you can contact the program’s coordinator, Dr. Rebecca Pope-Ruark, (rruark@elon.edu) with any questions and talk to your academic advisor about adding it to your studies.


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