The B.A. major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) engages students in the rhetorically grounded, critically reflective study and theorizing of writing in organizational contexts (civic, workplace, and social). PWR prepares them to effectively practice writing across these contexts as a form of situated, ethical, and social action, actively addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity in their daily writing lives. PWR is a broad discipline that seeks to understand writing and rhetoric as a form of powerful human action, and aims to help students see the power of writing and rhetoric to improve human relations and communities. The B.A. degree enables students to develop a solid foundation in rhetoric, communication, and design skills.

The PWR Majors are guided by the following programmatic assumptions and programmatic goals:

Programmatic Assumptions

  • We approach professional writing and rhetoric not simply as a functional art limited to the means of production, but as a critical social practice that includes engaging in the cultural production of social ends.
  • We approach professional writing and rhetoric as a way of acting effectively, ethically, and justly within complex situations, corporate, civic, and personal.
  • We conceive of “writing” broadly, and paired with “rhetoric,” extend the major’s scope of study and practice to a wide variety of texts (e.g., traditional written text, multimedia text, oral text, etc.).
  • We understand professional writing and rhetoric to be a situated art.
  • We value the integration of theory and practice.
  • We approach ‘professional writing and rhetoric’ as one, integrated disciplinary field of study and practice.

Programmatic Goals

  • Students will learn, often through working hands-on with actual clients, how to analyze, reflect on, assess, and effectively act within complex contexts and rhetorical situations.
  • Students will learn to approach a wide variety of communication practices (e.g., visuals, multimedia, collaboration, and research) from the perspective of writing and rhetoric.
  • Students will study a wide variety of rhetorical techne (i.e., strategies) and, by working within and reflecting on actual rhetorical contexts, learn to adapt and develop rhetorical strategies and heuristics appropriate to specific situations.
  • Students will show an ability to integrate theoretical knowledge and professional practice.
  • Students will adopt a disciplinary identity as a writer and see themselves as experts (i.e., professional writers/rhetors) who bring rhetorical ways of seeing and acting in and on the world around them.
  • Students will understand that writing participates in socially constructing the worlds within which we live, work, play, etc.