What are we about, really?
The Professional and Technical Writing Program at UCCS is about building life-long skills while understanding the world around us.
We are committed to helping students develop core competencies that derive from workplace practice; simultaneously, our work is grounded in a rhetorical approach to writing. This dual focus on core competencies and rhetorical theory is common to PTW programs, as discussed in “Mapping Technical and Professional Communication: A Summary and Survey of Academic Locations for Programs.” (Yeats and Thompson, 2010).
Core competencies nurtured in our program include excellent writing and design ability, audience/user awareness and research, problem-solving and critical thinking, collaboration skills, and technological literacy.
What else are we about? Asking questions. We are really good at it! You might say we live by Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Successful People, “Seek first to understand.” Understanding people is one of the most important parts of writing and designing, and there is definitely an art (as well as many established processes) to learning about others and identifying their needs and desires.
By the time you graduate with an emphasis in PTW, asking questions like the following will be second nature to you:
- Who is the audience/user?
- What do I know about them?
- What do they already know about this topic/product?
- What do they need to know?
- What’s my purpose for writing/designing?
- What will the audience/user be able to do or understand as a result of reading this/using this? (What is the desired outcome, and for which stakeholders?)
- How will this text/product/website be used?
- What tone will best communicate my message, and how will I achieve this through word choice and application of design principles?
- What’s the best medium for communicating my message?
- How will users feel about or react to this text?
- How might the text influence society's perception of this topic?
We are ALL about helping you achieve your goals!
Our program balances three related areas:
- professional/business writing
- technical communication (learn more about technical communication from the Society of Technical Communication)
- user-experience (UX) (learn more about UX and usability from usability.gov)
Students in our program are typically interested in one of the three areas above; our degree plan is easily catered to each of these career paths. For example, in addition to the foundational courses required for the PTW emphasis, students interested in…
…professional/business writing may elect to take Proposal and Grant Writing, Publication Technologies, or Legal Writing.
…technical communication may elect to take Texts and Technologies or Iterative Design Projects.
…user experience may elect to take UX Design Principles and pursue an internship that focuses on usability testing or user research. (Courses in Information Architecture and UX Deliverables/Prototypes coming soon!)