ENGL 101 Professional Writing

instructor: Dr. Heather Noel Turner, Assistant Professor, Department of English

email: hturner (at) scu (dot) edu

student hours: TTH 2-3:30 and by appointment

office: St. Joseph’s Hall, room 316


ENGL 101 Professional Writing

instructor: Dr. Heather Noel Turner, Assistant Professor, Department of English

email: hturner (at) scu (dot) edu

student hours: TTH 2-3:30 and by appointment

office: St. Joseph’s Hall, room 316

Student sites

Course Materials





What is this class about?

...the term ‘professional writing’ admits to multiple identities. But even more problematic is the fact that the term is used as shorthand in reference to at least three intertwined spheres of application:

1. as a research field - research investigates writing in the workplace and writing in a variety of disciplines
2. as a workplace activity - writing done by anyone in business/industry/government AND writing done by writing specialists in industry
3. as an academic curricular entity - undergraduate majors and minors in English departments
— Sullivan & Porter, 1993

Professional writers work in almost every field, from technology companies (x), business (x), government (x) and research (x) and nonprofit organizations (x). These writers’ roles vary expanding to positions like designer, researcher, project manager, content strategists, and on and on. Based on their position and workplace, they have to create a wide range of texts and be familiar with different digital environments.

To prepare for such emergent work, you will need strong rhetorical skills and be able to adapt those skills based on changing technologies, workplaces, and end users. You will also need an intellectual framework for continued professional growth, since those technologies, workplaces, and end users will keep changing.

English 101 is designed to develop your rhetorical skills by introducing you to texts and writing process within a variety of workplaces. You will engage a range of technologies, work collaboratively with others, develop written materials, and practice problem solving in professional contexts. My main goal for your experience in this course is that you learn about your potential future as a professional writer, and that you practice creating, analyzing, and sharing ideas in a socially aware and just way.


What if I need an accommodation?

 We will all need accommodations because we all learn, think, and write differently. This course affirms your right to the languages and dialects you grew up speaking, or those in which you find your own identity and style. We will find ways to honor and respect what these languages can teach about writing and rhetoric. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or exclude you, please let me know. Together we’ll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course. Your success in this class is important to me.

For official accommodations

If you need an official accommodation, you have a right to have these met. I encourage you to visit The Office of Accessible Education (OAE), located in Benson Center 1 (http://www.scu.edu/oae, 408-554-4109) The OAE will request documentation and make a determination regarding the nature of the accommodation to which you are entitled. If you have already arranged accommodations through OAE, please discuss them with me during my office hours within the first two weeks of class.

For pregnant and parenting students

In alignment with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and with the California Education Code, Section 66281.7, Santa Clara University provides reasonable accommodations if you are pregnant, have recently experienced childbirth, and/or have medical needs related to childbirth. If you are pregnant for parenting, you can often arrange accommodations by working directly with me, supervisors, or departments. In addition, the Office of Accessible Education will provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy‐related impairments which impact a major life activity.

—SCU Office of the Provost


What materials do I need? Where do I access course materials?

  • Talking to me, and to your classmates: Slack, you must sign up and log in with your SCU email

  • Accessing readings: Google Drive. I will provide PDFs or links to journal articles that will be noted on the schedule. You must be logged in with your scu email account to view

  • Submitting final drafts and viewing your grades: A private Google spreadsheet

  • Tools for design: Adobe Creative Cloud (you have access in our classroom and in the Learning Commons). However, if you would like access on your own device, Adobe has discounts for students (19.99 a month).

  • A platform for your final portfolio: Throughout the quarter, you will work to design (sketch, design, and test) your own portfolio. You may choose whatever platform you like, no coding skills required for this class.


What will I learn?

As an Advanced Writing class, you will learn these goals adapted from the SCU core curriculum:

Critical Thinking: The ability to identify, reflect upon, evaluate, integrate, and apply different types of information and knowledge to form independent judgments.
Complexity: An approach to understanding the world that appreciates ambiguity and nuance as well as clarity and precision.
Communication: Interacting effectively with different audiences, especially through writing, speech, and a second language.

1.1 Read and write with a critical point of view that displays depth of thought and is mindful of the rhetorical situation of a specific discipline. (Critical Thinking, Complexity, Communication)

1.2 Compose texts that demonstrate intellectual and creative rigor, engagement, and clear purpose (Critical Thinking, Complexity, Communication)

1.3  Independently locate, deliberately select, and appropriately use and cite evidence that is ample, credible, and smoothly integrated into an intellectually honest text appropriate for a particular discipline. (Complexity, Communication, Information Literacy.)

1.4 Demonstrate an understanding of their writing processes as modes of learning and intentionally manipulate those processes in response to diverse learning tasks. (Critical Thinking, Complexity; Meta-Goal: Intentional Learning)


What will I do in this course?

You will:

  • Research a dimension of writing in an organization or industry (1.1, 1.3)

  • Analyze the needs of a defined audience (1.1, 1.3)

  • Use context-appropriate language, genre, and media (1.2, 1,4)

  • Create accessible, digital texts for a defined audience (1.1, 1.2, 1.4)

  • Communicate technical information appropriate to the expertise of a defined audience (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

  • Consider academic, professional, and your personal perspectives about conceptual and ethical dimensions of professional writing (1.4)

  • Collaborate with peers on writing and revision (1.4)


What assignments will I do?

Project 1: PW IRL | Description and Analysis of Rhetorical Resources @ an Organization


Project 3: Personal Website | Your curated Professional Writing portfolio

Because professional writing is found in so many fields and workplaces, you will frequently have to make a case for the relevancy and application of your skillset, as well as demonstrate those skills. Your final project is meant to help you practice the reflection and articulation required in your future. First, you might consider—what concepts, skills, processes, or readings are interesting to you as a SCU student? As a young professional in your career path? What concepts and strategies can help you articulate your skills or serve as a launchpad to something else? Use those goals and concepts as your guide for the following elements:

Website design: We will begin the web design process early in the quarter and continue it until you submit your final website. will update and revise your website’s visual design (typefaces, colors, media, layouts) and its structure (instead of organizing by praxis, annotations, etc, consider how other people in your discipline present their work). This work will require you to create sections on your website, organize elements topically, based on genre/process/skillset or something else.

  1. First, you will research professional writing portfolios from other individuals and create a short presentation to share your findings Due

  2. Next, you will use your research to create different options for the visual, structural, and content design of your site Due

  3. Then, you will work with your classmates to get feedback about the accessibility and usability of your portfolio Due

Digital and written content: Your portfolio will feature only the pieces that are most relevant and representative of your interests and skills. On your site, you will select, curate and organize content (informal activities in our class, perhaps materials from outside our class, resumes) in order to visually serve as evidence of your skills and knowledge. These written pieces are important so that visitors to your site can follow the path you have envisioned for yourself.

  1. An about me section: a brief introduction to your work that articulates your scholarly and professional goals as an about me section and how this portfolio is a part of your trajectory

  2. At least one design from your work in the course and a reflective description of the design that includes: tools you used, your process, rhetorical strategies and design concepts you applied and why

  3. Your updated and designed resume/cv

  4. Link to your updated LinkedIn

  5. Your preferred contact information


What will we do in class?

How to engage

Complete 10 of the following 24 Engagement Milestones.

  1. Attend 4 class sessions (=2 weeks)

  2. Attend 8 class sessions (=4 weeks)

  3. Attend 12 class sessions (=6 weeks)

  4. Attend 16 class sessions (=8 weeks)

  5. Attend all 20 class sessions

  6. Submit (and revise if necessary) three (3) discussion questions on 2 occasions

  7. Submit (and revise if necessary) three (3) discussion questions on 4 occasions

  8. Submit (and revise if necessary) three (3) discussion questions on 6 occasions

  9. Submit (and revise if necessary) three (3) discussion questions on 8 occasions

  10. Submit all 2 Project 1: PW IRL drafts on time

  11. Submit all 2 Project 2: PW redesign/remix drafts on time

  12. Complete 1 of 3 design feedback assignments on time

  13. Complete 2 of 3 design feedback assignments on time

  14. Complete all 3 design feedback assignments on time

  15. Complete all 3 design feedback assignments

  16. Complete 6 (+1 additional) reading response assignments

  17. Complete 7 (+2 additional) reading response assignments

  18. Complete 8 (+3 additional) reading response assignments

  19. Complete 9 (+4 additional) reading response assignments

  20. Contribute to and participate in 2 (+1 additional) landscape analysis presentations

  21. Revise ­both Project 1 and 2 assignments based on feedback.

  22. Demonstrate leadership in group discussion and/or group work, by participating in more than 12 class discussions or 12 group work activities.

  23. Attend my student hours to discuss your work for this course on at least 2 occasions.

A note about our interactions together

Using language is inherently a social process, which makes our writing social acts although we might not think of them as such. Many people find discussions with trusted mentors, colleagues, friends, or family to be an invaluable way to develop and polish ideas. Professionals in most disciplines, for example, attend conferences so that they can discuss ideas with colleagues and leading researchers. Writers in business and scientific contexts commonly work in teams with individuals responsible for their areas of expertise, such as marketing language, audience, finance, research, and editing.  Many writers do not feel comfortable beginning a new project until they have discussed their ideas with others. Successful writers do not wait until they have completed a project before seeking constructive criticism. Instead, they share early drafts with critics.

Because of the social nature of writing, we will share our work and thoughts even if we aren’t comfortable. This collaborative agreement will guide interactions in this course. With each other, we will clarify expectations and foster an environment of mutual respect and collaborative inquiry. We will revisit these guidelines throughout the quarter to reflect on group process or to frame potentially challenging conversations.

  • Confidentiality and comfort. We want to create an atmosphere for open, honest exchange. Knowing that, have the confidence to speak out and share opinions and ideas because we are all learning and we are all together.

  • Our primary commitment is to learn from each other. We will listen to each other and not talk at each other. We will read each other’s writing, not as a fixer, evaluator, or critic. We acknowledge differences amongst us in backgrounds, skills, interests, and values. We realize that it is these very differences that will increase our awareness and understanding through this process.

  • Be honest, be helpful, never harsh. Don’t tear your classmates down, instead give specific and detailed feedback that is constructive. We will not demean, devalue, or “put down” people for their writing, experiences, lack of experiences, or difference in interpretation of those experiences.

  • Listen, delay judgements and assumptions. We will trust that people are doing the best they can.

  • Challenge the idea and not the person. If we wish to challenge something that has been said or written, we will challenge the idea or the practice referred to, not the individual sharing this idea or practice.

  • Speak your discomfort. If something is bothering you, please share this with the group. If you make a mistake and say something you didn’t mean to say or write something that came off differently than you intended, recognize your mistake with Oops. If your feelings are hurt by something said or written, vocalize it with Ouch. Often our emotional reactions to this process offer the most valuable learning opportunities.

  • Step Up, Step Back. Be mindful of taking up much more space than others. On the same note, empower yourself to speak up when others are dominating the conversation.

  • Take group work seriously. Remember that your peers’ learning partly depends upon your engagement.

  • Be careful about how you use humor or irony in class. Keep in mind that we don’t all find the same things funny.

  • Understand that we are bound to make lots of mistakes in this class, as anyone does when learning a new language, a new way of thinking, and new ways of writing. Take risks and support others in their risk-taking.


How will I be graded?

Our classroom serves as a workspace for invention, creation, and practicing of different ways of thinking and writing. Similar to an art studio, we will use a studio approach to strengthen your understanding of writing through reading, discussion, and practice—that means we are constantly at work in the classroom: generating new ideas, tinkering with writing we’ve already drafted, sharing strategies for improving some writing we are looking at together, etc. We will talk about and practice writing in various genres, formats, and media to work with and examine the approaches to writing teaching and development described in the readings. In-class activities will also help you approach the major writing assignments in the class. As a result, grading in this class is inspired by labor-based grading contract models, a model that focuses on work processes of students rather than quality of work alone. Because so much of the laboring in writing and thinking is often invisible to professors, you will have a midterm and final grading conference with me where we will discuss your laboring and determine your grade together.

...labor is work the body does over time. Labor in the writing classroom is the experience of languaging. No matter what our pedagogical assumptions are about learning or literacy, about grades or how to evaluate student writing, we all take for granted that our students must labor in order to learn. They must read or write, take notes or discuss. All pedagogies ask students to labor, to do something in order to gain something else. However, typical grading systems rarely account for students’ labor in any way...Because labor is neglected in such conventional grading systems, they often are unfair to diverse groups of students.

They [labor-based grading contracts] open a space for practices that can fail or miss the mark, allowing students the freedom to take risks, and try new things in their writing without the fear of losing points or failing the course. They allow students and teacher chances to redefine failure more productively (see also Inoue, “Theorizing Failure”), since failure is just a situated judge’s assessment of a performance that assumes a single standard, without acknowledging other differently situated judges and standards.
— Asao Inoue

What is academic integrity? What is plagiarism?

The Academic Integrity pledge is an expression of the University’s commitment to fostering an understanding of -- and commitment to -- a culture of integrity at Santa Clara University. The Academic Integrity pledge, which applies to all students, states:

I am committed to being a person of integrity. I pledge, as a member of the Santa Clara University community, to abide by and uphold the standards of academic integrity contained in the Student Conduct Code

Students are expected to uphold the principles of this pledge for all work in this class.

SCU Office of the Provost

We will discuss integrity more in the digital age as part of our class inquiry. Yet, I need you to understand that I will follow Santa Clara University’s academic honesty policies. You can read more about SCU’s policy here: www.scu.edu/academic-integrity.


What if I witness or experience harassment and discrimination?

Santa Clara University upholds a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. If you (or someone you know) have experienced discrimination or harassment, including sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, or stalking, I encourage you to tell someone promptly. For more information, please consult the University’s Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy at http://bit.ly/2ce1hBb  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.or contact the University's EEO and Title IX Coordinator, Belinda Guthrie, at 408-554-3043, bguthrie@scu.edu. Reports may be submitted online through the Office of Student Life https://www.scu.edu/osl/report/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. or anonymously through EthicsPoint https://www.scu.edu/hr/quick-links/ethicspoint/ (Links to an external site.)

What if I don’t feel good?

Santa Clara University is a Jesuit Institution wherein the value of cura personalis, translated to care for the whole person, holds a place of incredibly high importance. Caring for oneself in both a physical and mental sense is paramount to a student’s ability to live an enjoyable life at Santa Clara University, excel in academia, and reach their full potential in all aspects of their personhood.

  • Try to get an appropriate amount of sleep each night; the recommended amount of sleep for adults ages 18-25 is 7-9 hours.

  • Visit the Wellness Center’s (currently located at 852 Market Street) website to see what resources are available on campus to aid and promote student well-being at https://www.scu.edu/wellness/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

  • Utilize the six free counseling sessions you are given from Counseling and Psychological Service. The number to make an appointment with CAPS is (408) 554-4501. Visit the Counseling and Psychological Services website to learn more about these sessions and more at https://www.scu.edu/cowell/caps/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

  • If you are sick, please check in with me regarding your ability to attend class. By continuing to attend class while feeling sick, you are not only harming your own health, but likely the health of those around you as well. If you are feeling ill, visit Cowell Health Center during the operating hours of 8:30 am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Visit the Cowell’s center website to learn more about the various services this health center provides at https://www.scu.edu/cowell/



The schedule below contains weekly topics, assigned readings, and due dates for praxis assignments. This schedule is tentative, so make sure you check it frequently.


The schedule below contains weekly topics, assigned readings, and due dates for praxis assignments. This schedule is tentative, so make sure you check it frequently.

Week 1

Introductions to each other, where does professional writing happen? What does rhetoric have to do with it?

For Tuesday 9/24/19

Thursday 9/26/19

Read and annotate/post on your website 1:00pm day of class

Week 2

Think about why rhetoric matters in professional organizations. What are your roles and social responsibilities as a professional writer?

For TUESDAY 10/1/19

For THURSDAY 10/3/19

Week 3

How do appeals work? (continued) | What options do you have for arranging P1?

For TUESDAY 10/8/19

For THURSDAY 10/10/19

For TUESDAY 10/15/19

For THURSDAY 10/17/19

Week 4

How have economic, social, and cultural ruptures brought about a post-industrial society? How do these ruptures relate to professional writing? | What do I want to learn about professional writing? Where can I look for answers?

Week 5

Writing is closely connected to learning

For TUESDAY 10/22/19

Read and annotate

For THURSDAY 10/24/19

Read and annotate/post on your website 1:00pm day of class

Week 6

Writing is related to identities and ideologies

For TUESDAY 10/29/19

Read and annotate/post on your website 1:00pm day of class

For THURSDAY 10/31/19

Read and annotate/post on your website 1:00pm day of class

Week 7

Writing speaks to situations through recognizable forms

For TUESDAY 11/15/19

For THURSDAY 11/7/19

Week 8

Writing is mutlimodal and multilingual

For TUESDAY 11/12/19

For THURSDAY 11/14/19

Week 9

For TUESDAY 11/19/19

For THURSDAY 11/21/19


For TUESDAY 11/26/19

No class meeting

For THURSDAY 11/28/19

No class meeting

Week 10

For Tuesday 12/3/19

For Thursday 12/5/19

Finals Week

Monday 12/9/19-Friday 12/13/19

Optional one on one conferences

Exam Time Tuesday 12/10/19 6:30pm-9:30pm

All revisions and final portfolio due by 9:30pm