Education

UWF certificate program helps develop professional writing skills

University of West Florida in the 2015 fall semester will offer a Certificate in Public, Technical and Workplace Writing through the Composition and Rhetoric Program of the English Department.

The program’s required coursework and internship aim to give students the writing background they need to be competitive in today’s workforce, as employers increasingly seek candidates with skills in the production of public, technical and digital texts. Upon completion, students have a portfolio of work to use in the search for employment.

“This certificate may help community professionals advance in their careers with enhanced writing skills, while at the same time helping current students set themselves apart from other candidates in the job market,” composition instructor Pamela Meyers said.

Composition director Bre Garrett identified the gap in writing instruction beyond first-year composition requirements. When the university adopted a new quality enhancement plan, titled “Communication for Professional Success,” the English Department saw an opportunity to design a writing curriculum to benefit students across the university and throughout the local community.

The English Department and the Composition Program designed this new certificate to teach professional writing genres and workplace communication skills,” said department chair Gregory Tomso. “We hear often from business owners and employers in our community that strong writing and communication skills are two of the most important qualities they seek in new employees.”

Garrett notes that professionals across all fields write. More than 73 percent of employers who participated in the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2015 survey indicated they look for strong communication skills on a candidate’s resume.

“Writing ability represents professionalism, and by extension, reflects author credibility,” Garrett said. “Professionals from all fields need to convey complex information to many types of audiences, including supervisors, colleagues, clients, and the general public.”

The certificate program is a pilot year project of the university’s 2015 Quality Enhancement Plan, which centers on professional communication skills.

The QEP provides funding for faculty and staff projects such as this, which serve to improve student learning and the learning environment.

As part of the accreditation process, the five-year plan is designed to help students become more effective communicators, guiding them to graduate school or employment.

For more information about the UWF QEP, visit uwf.edu/qep.

The certificate is available to current UWF students in any discipline, as well as community professionals seeking additional experience in technical and professional writing genres. It consists of 12 hours of coursework that can be completed in two semesters.