Category Archives: PWR News

The New Professional Writing and Rhetoric Major

by Carey Spence

In Spring 2018, Professional Writing and Rhetoric left its role as a concentration of the English major and is now its own major. But what actually is Professional Writing and Rhetoric? From a student’s perspective, it is the one major that applies to every job on the market. Everyone needs to communicate in the workplace, but many people are lacking in this skill. Professional Writing and Rhetoric truly is a meta-major.

Communication in the workplace is key. From drafting emails to writing reports, expressing your thoughts is a valuable skill. And those that master this skill advance faster and see success. PWR classes prepare students to think critically about rhetorical choices. In every project the question to think about is: what is the most effective way to communicate this idea?

But success in the workplace isn’t the only value in a PWR major. Learning how to be persuasive is essential in everyday life. Interactions with friends, family, and neighbors all involve rhetorical analysis, and PWR gives you the tools to make the most rhetorically sound decisions.

Professional Writing and Rhetoric offers students hands-on experiences as well. Every student in the major is expected to complete 2 credits of internship and 2 credits of research. This program values high impact experiences that results in better communicators. If you aren’t a PWR major already, consider declaring today!


Carey Spence is the 2018-2019 social media intern for Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Carey is double majoring in English Literature and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Professional Writing.

Comments Off on The New Professional Writing and Rhetoric Major

Introducing Mia D’Agostino, the Spring PWR Social Media Intern

Mia D'Agostino standing in front of white doorsHello! My name is Mia D’Agostino, and I am excited to announce that I am the new PWR social media intern for Spring 2021. I am a sophomore here at Elon, majoring in PWR and Political Science, with a minor in Italian. I began my journey in PWR in Dr. Li’s PWR 215 class. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect… Wasn’t rhetoric used by the ancient Greeks? How could that still be relevant now? Well, rhetoric was used by the ancient Greeks, and as it turns out, rhetoric could not be more relevant in today’s society. Rhetoric at its core is how we communicate with people, what strategies we use to persuade them or appeal to their person. Whether you’re watching a commercial or listening to a speech, rhetoric is present. Learning how to appeal to an audience is one of the most important things I’ve learned in PWR, but it’s not all about writing. Those of us who are more artistically inclined can find their calling in PWR as graphic designers, video editors, brand identity designers… the list goes on. The more I learn as a student of Professional Writing and Rhetoric, the more I identify rhetoric in my daily life. A degree in PWR opens the door to so many unique opportunities.

Most recently, PWR has led me here, to all of you! As the new Social Media Intern I intend on getting the word out about PWR, to prospective and current students. My main goal is to reach out to alumni, professors, and current PWR students to hear about their experiences and spread those stories to generate buzz about the major. The skills I gained in Adobe Cloud in PWR 217 with Professor Maynard will allow me to design compelling graphics for our Instagram and Facebook, while my research skills from PWR 297 with Dr. Strickland will aid me in interviewing my peers in PWR.

I am honored and excited to have this opportunity to represent the PWR major, and gain some professional experience along the way. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, or if you feel you have something to contribute!


Also posted in Student Profile | Comments Off on Introducing Mia D’Agostino, the Spring PWR Social Media Intern

PWR Faculty Profile: Dr. Travis Maynard

This semester, Elon’s Professional Writing & Rhetoric major welcomes a new assistant professor, Dr. Travis Maynard! Dr. Maynard comes to us from Florida State University, where he completed both his master’s degree (2014)  and Ph.D. (2019) in Rhetoric and Composition before spending a year as part of the FSU English Department’s teaching faculty. In addition to teaching, Dr. Maynard has done extensive research on curriculum development and instruction in university writing programs and has presented his findings at academic conferences across the United States. During the 2020 Fall Semester, he will be teaching PWR 217: Professional Writing Technologies, as well as a section of ENG 110. He has also shared a few other bits of information to allow students to get to know him better:

What attracted you to Elon and its PWR program?

I was drawn to Elon and PWR because they both reminded me a lot of my own college experiences. I went to college at Transylvania University, where I was a member of the first graduating class of the university’s Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication major; in that program, I not only benefitted greatly from mentoring relationships with faculty but also realized the importance and value of undergraduate major programs in writing and rhetoric. Based on those experiences, I have known for a long time that I wanted to a) return to a smaller university setting where I could pay it forward by mentoring students and b) teach and research in an undergraduate major in writing and rhetoric. So, I see my new position here at Elon as a realization of both of those goals.

What research topic(s) are you interested in pursuing while at Elon?

I’m very interested in pursuing alumni research while at Elon—specifically alumni of the PWR program and/or the English department as a whole. For my dissertation, I surveyed and interviewed alumni of the Editing, Writing, and Media major at Florida State University, trying to get a sense of the kinds of work that alumni are doing, the kinds of writing they do, and if/how what they learned in the major helps them complete that writing. So, I’d like to refine and replicate that study with alumni of PWR.

What do you hope that students take away from your classes?

If nothing else, I hope that students take away two things. First, the inherently contextual nature of composing: in order to be rhetorically successful, we have to consider our context and audience and make informed rhetorical decisions about which medium and genre will best accomplish our rhetorical ends. Second, the inherently intertextual nature of composing: the idea that no matter what we are composing, we are almost always remixing together pre-existing materials—words, phrases, images, pieces of footage, genres, etc.

What is your favorite thing about teaching writing and rhetoric at the college level?

Really, so many things! I love teaching students new composing technologies, helping them think rhetorically about how to use those technologies, and seeing the end products of their composing. I also really enjoy being able to work with students to help them reach their academic and professional goals, whatever they may be.

Join us in welcoming Dr. Maynard to the Elon PWR faculty!


Also posted in Faculty News | Comments Off on PWR Faculty Profile: Dr. Travis Maynard