Category Archives: PWR News

Spring 2022 Course Overview: PWR 2110

PWR 2110 Professional Writing and Rhetoric


PWR 2110 is an introductory PWR course that will be taught by Dr. Maynard in the upcoming Spring semester. This is a perfect course for undecided majors who are interested in a writing career. PWR 2110 is also a good course for students majoring in Journalism, StratComm, or another English degree who are interested in a versatile minor. PWR 2110 will introduce you to professional writing and rhetoric, and it is designed to help students develop the ability to adapt their writing to different contexts and audiences, better preparing them for the workplace.

In PWR 2110, you will conduct research into the career possibilities professional writing offers, and gain experience with visual design by developing personal branding materials to showcase to future employers. The projects that students will undertake in this course can be added to future portfolios and resumes. PWR 2110 also counts towards the Elon Core Curriculum society requirement.

 

Offered Tuesday/Thursdays 10:30 to 12:10 a.m.

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A Student’s Guide to PWR’s Experiential Learning Components

The PWR major has several experiential learning elements, including one PWR internship and one PWR research experience. A PWR major must have two credit hours of both internship and research experiences to graduate. Additionally, PWR majors must complete a senior portfolio as well as a senior Capstone Project, which are meant to represent the cumulative knowledge gained throughout their experience in the PWR program. The PWR program’s experiential learning and portfolio/Capstone Project requirements are designed to prepare students for a career in Professional Writing. Internship and research experience allow students to see how the skills acquired in PWR can be transferred into a professional environment. The senior portfolio and Capstone Project are helpful as they provide students with a conglomeration of their work and synthesis of their professional writing skills which can be added to future resumes and job applications. Students pursuing a PWR degree as well as undecided students interested in a writing-based program can benefit greatly from these experiences, as they provide the opportunity for hands-on practice in a PWR-based field. While these PWR major requirements are incredibly valuable to future professional pursuits, they may seem daunting to sophomores and juniors pursuing a degree in PWR. Luckily, Elon’s PWR program has a multitude of resources meant to help students fulfill these program obligations. 

 

Internships

PWR internships are meant to be an exciting opportunity to see how the skills learned in PWR courses can be translated into a fulfilling career. Despite the many possibilities offered by internships, some students worry about the requirement as they do not know where to start their internship search. One way for you to get on top of their internship requirements is by reaching out to PWR faculty and advisors, who are well equipped to help you find a suitable internship. There are many internships available on campus that count towards the PWR internship requirement. In the past, students have interned as social media managers for various student organizations and publishers for campus institutions such as the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). PWR major Liz Crouse undertook the publishing internship for the CEL last year, and her experience is documented on Elon’s CUPID Blog site for those interested to see what the job entails. If you would rather gain their internship experience in a workplace environment, the Elon Job Network offers the opportunity to search for PWR-related internships on various work sites including law firms, tech firms, advertising agencies, publishing companies, TV stations, and more. PWR faculty and advisors are more than willing to help find an off-campus internship that aligns with your future career interests, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. For more information on the PWR internship requirement, visit the PWR program internship page. 

 

Research

The research component of the PWR major offers students the opportunity to bolster future portfolios while gaining hands-on experience with various professional writing genres and research methods. Many professors within the PWR program double as mentors for ongoing research opportunities that are available to PWR students. An example of one of these projects is the Highway 64/NC Climate Project, which is spearheaded by Dr. Strickland. This project allows student researchers to travel the length of NC, connect with students from other universities as well as local politicians, farmers, journalists, and environmentalists to document how NC is adapting to climate change. The Center for Writing Excellence also offers several research opportunities for PWR students, including alumni writing projects, faculty and staff writing group projects, and non-academic writing projects. To learn more about these experiences, reach out to Dr. Rosinski. There are several other research project opportunities outlined on the PWR undergraduate research page, so be sure to check them out if you are worried about your research requirement. You can also talk to PWR professors and advisors if you aren’t sure which research opportunity aligns best with your interests and skills. For additional information on research opportunities, be sure to check out the CUPID Blog for student perspectives on various undergraduate research projects. 

 

Senior Portfolio

The PWR’s senior portfolio is designed to showcase a student’s development over time as well as their current level of achievement. Portfolios are a collection of drafts and final projects which are reflective of your academic achievements as well as your future career aspirations. PWR portfolio drafts are due to Dr. Li on the first Monday of October of your senior year, and the final revised copy is due on November 30th of the same year. Your senior portfolio will then be evaluated by an external reviewer who is not associated with the PWR program. Many PWR alumni have noted that their senior portfolios helped them stand out from other candidates throughout their job search after graduation. In your portfolio, you should showcase the work that you are most proud of. So long as a document is representative of the skills you learned in the PWR program while also proving your capabilities for a specified career, it can be included within your portfolio. This can include projects done in PWR courses, articles written for student organizations, or reports and texts from your internship and research requirements. A good way to get on top of your senior portfolio requirement is by saving PWR-related texts and projects early on. You can store these documents in a folder on your Google Drive or Microsoft Office so they are there when you begin constructing your digital portfolio. You can also begin working with your faculty mentor as early as your Sophomore year to begin preparing your portfolio. To get an idea of what is expected of your senior portfolio requirement, visit the PWR Portfolio page, which has examples of previous student portfolios that you can use as inspiration.  If you have a working portfolio by the Spring semester of your Junior year, you are eligible to submit your work for a chance to win the Junior ePortfolio Award. This honor (along with $500) is awarded to an outstanding portfolio-in-progress by a current junior majoring in PWR or English, or minoring in PWS. Submissions are due by the third Monday of April, which will be April 22nd of 2022. 

Lauren Franceshini’s 2017 Senior Portfolio Page

 

PWR Senior Capstone Project

A final requirement of the PWR program is the Senior Capstone Project. This research-based project is part of the Senior Seminar that PWR students are required to take in the Spring semester of their senior year. The Senior Capstone Project is meant to showcase the knowledge and skills of rhetorical, professional, and design strategies that a student learns throughout their time in the PWR program. The Capstone is an integrated portion of the senior assessment process, and students present their projects at an open-house-style Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) at the end of the semester to faculty and other audiences. More information about the requirements of the Senior Capstone Project as well as examples of previous students’ Portfolio Projects can be found on the PWR Senior Capstone Project page of Elon’s PWR department website. Undergraduate students are also encouraged to go to Senior Capstone Project showcases at SURF each spring to get an idea of what will be expected of them. 

Kelly Dodge’s 2016 Senior Capstone Project

 

It is beneficial for PWR students to be proactive about the four major PWR requirements. Be sure to reach out to PWR professors and upperclassmen early on, and begin preparing documents for your senior portfolio as soon as possible. This will help alleviate your senior year workload while ensuring that only your finest achievements are included in your portfolio. Talk to PWR faculty and advisors about research and internship opportunities, they will be able to help you figure out what experiences will be best suited to your needs and aspirations. The PWR major requirements are not meant to be daunting. They are designed to help you become successful in a career you are passionate about by preparing you for the post-graduation job search and making you familiar with how PWR is used in the real world. If you feel stressed about any of these components of the PWR program, reach out to your faculty advisor and begin planning how you will fulfill the requirements.

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Introducing Mollie Lund, PWR’s Social Media Intern for the Fall of 2021

Mollie Lund ’24 (PWR & IGS)

Hello everyone! My name is Mollie Lund and I am happy to announce that I will be the social media intern for Professional Writing and Rhetoric this Fall semester. I am a sophomore at Elon and I am double majoring in PWR and International/Global Studies. I became interested in pursuing PWR early on in my first semester here at Elon. I have always loved writing, and I wanted a major that would allow me to pursue a career that I am passionate about. I stumbled upon the PWR department while perusing possible English-related majors in my Elon 101 course, and I promptly decided to give it the old college try. My PWR experience began in Professor Maynard’s PWR 211 class over the J-term semester of my Freshman year. I quickly realized that I belonged in PWR, collaborating with my peers and learning new styles of writing.

I am currently enrolled in Professor Li’s 2110 course, in which I am studying the history of both rhetoric and professional writing. I have learned that rhetoric is an omnipresent aspect of our lives, a vital mechanism by which we communicate, deliberate, and learn. It is used in nearly every field of profession in some form or another, making it incredibly pertinent to our lives. The more I grow to understand the art of rhetoric and its universal applicability, the more appreciative I am of the major I have chosen. A degree in PWR can be applied to an endless number of occupations, making me confident in my ability to translate what I am learning into a fulfilling career in the future.

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work as this semester’s PWR social media intern. I look forward to learning more about graphic design as well as the relevance of rhetoric to social media. I hope to raise awareness for the PWR department at Elon by sharing the stories and experiences of my peers and professors as well as PWR alumni. I further wish to encourage incoming and undecided students interested in a career in communication to consider PWR as a possible major. 

I am excited to represent my PWR peers and faculty over the course of the semester and to gain insight into PWR’s applicability to the real world. Please, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or if you would like to suggest content ideas.

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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!

 

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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!

 

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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.

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