Our Mission and Objectives


The mission of the PTW program is to prepare students to participate critically and ethically in professional and technical communication positions upon graduation. To that end, the PTW curriculum offers courses in critical theory, professional and technical writing, design, and user experience to help students gain:

  • a theoretical understanding of professional and technical communication and user experience
  • professional and practical skills within the field (e.g., common genres and deliverables, audience and user research, written and visual communication, technical writing and editing, project management, print and web design, usability testing)
  • an understanding of the ethical concerns, responsibilities, and dimensions of the field
  • technological and visual literacy skills (e.g., design, prototyping, editing, and content management applications)
  • the ability to work critically and collaboratively to complete projects.

Program-Level Student Learning Objectives

Each course in our program will offer students opportunities to meet these broad objectives in very specific ways.


Students will show they can:

  • Use appropriate research methods to gather information
  • Evaluate, analyze, navigate and synthesize appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Identify reader/user/viewer expectations
  • Interpret findings and articulate results
  • Produce appropriate and ethical text and graphics for displaying research data and findings

Practices and processes

Students will show they can:

  • Conduct user/reader/viewer analysis
  • Develop and administer usability tests
  • Focus on a defined purpose
  • Meet the needs of the readers/users/viewers
  • Respond appropriately and ethically to different rhetorical situations
  • Understand writing and designing as a collaborative and iterative process of research, discussion, negotiation, writing, and editing
  • Manage projects in stages
  • Evaluate and use appropriate strategies for production, revision, editing, proofreading, and presenting

Knowledge of conventions and genres

Students will show they can:

  • Write in multiple genres and produce a variety of common deliverables
  • Evaluate ethically how each genre shapes content and usability
  • Control such features as tone, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Identify the main features and uses of writing in a specific field
  • Document resources as defined by a specific field

Collaborative learning

Students will show they can:

  • Participate collaboratively with others in the iterative process of research, discussion, negotiation, writing, and editing
  • Participate and communicate effectively in a community
  • Integrate their own ideas with those from various stakeholders
  • Balance the advantages of relying on others with the responsibility of doing their parts

Technological literacy

Students will show they can:

  • Critically and ethically choose from a variety of technologies in order to address specific rhetorical situations and a range of readers/users/viewers needs
  • Engage in a critical perspective of technology, its uses and contexts
  • Analyze technology as a physical tool, and as a socially constructed system
  • Use various software for writing, editing, and designing