Spring 2024

Posted in Course Information

ENGL 7360-01: Professional Writing
Professor David Lipscomb

Section Description:

In “Professional Writing” we will explore strategies and common practices in contemporary workplace writing (outside of academia). We will focus especially on ways that you can use what you’ve learned as English MA students in professional writing – as potential teachers and practitioners in the field. Periodically, we’ll hear from Georgetown English MA alumni in the field, including two who are running a successful communications consulting firm. The course will begin with a deep dive into issues of style, especially plain language, since US federal agencies are required by law to use plain language when communicating with the public. Drawing on my experience helping to draft the ISO International Plain Language Standard the last two years, I will lead us in an exploration of style across other industries (health, finance, law, etc) and across languages. We’ll question the limits of clarity and consider recent cognitive science, cognitive psych, and multimodal learning research. Style will lead us into issues of genre (emails, proposals, grants, webpages, and more), as well as design, usability, and accessibility. Finally, we’ll look at how AI is changing professional writing. As part of the course, you’ll complete three projects: a writing project for a non-profit or governmental client (your choice, though I will assemble a range of options); a proposal for a one-day writing course that you could potentially teach in an industry of your choice; and a short report on how communication professionals are using AI in an industry or genre of your choice.