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Academic vs. Professional Writing

What Students Learn in Academic Writing and Professional Writing

The University recognizes that good writing is essential to learning and advancing knowledge in all disciplines; writing enables clear and effective communication and is one of the chief means by which college students participate actively in the institution’s intellectual work.  This spring, the recently established Campus Writing Board will sponsor a series of resources to support your efforts to incorporate more writing into courses as they are revised to fulfill the new General Education curriculum.  

This first document summarizes the learning outcomes in Academic and Professional Writing, the two required Fundamental Studies writing courses.

What students learn in Academic Writing

Academic Writing prepares students to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising;
  • Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions and how to evaluate its supporting evidence;
  • Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion as they are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing;
  • Demonstrate research skills, integrate their own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly;
  • Use Standard Written English and edit and revise their own writing for appropriateness.Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between writing and thinking, and use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating in an academic setting.

What Students Learn in Professional Writing

Professional Writing prepares students to:

  • Analyze a variety of professional rhetorical situations and produce appropriate texts in response.
  • Understand the stages required to produce competent, professional writing through planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Identify and implement the appropriate research methods for each writing task.
  • Practice the ethical use of sources and the conventions of citation appropriate to each genre.
  • Write for the intended readers of a text, and design or adapt texts to audiences who may differ in their familiarity with the subject matter.
  • Demonstrate competence in Standard Written English, including grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, coherence, and document design (including the use of the visual) and be able to use this knowledge to revise texts.
  • Produce cogent arguments that identify arguable issues, reflect the degree of available evidence, and take account of counter arguments.