Welcome to the Department of Writing Studies. Part of the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts, we are an academic department with nationally recognized strengths in teaching and scholarship in rhetoric, writing, and technical communication.
The department touches the lives of nearly every undergraduate on campus through the First Year Writing program, as well as popular courses including technical writing and communication, professional writing, rhetorical theory, and digital communication. We are also the administrative home of the Center for Writing and the journal, Written Communication.
Graduates from our B.S., M.S., and certificate program are prepared for successful careers in scientific and technical communication and are in high demand by companies both local and national. Our M.A. and Ph.D. graduates pursue careers in academic settings, becoming college and university professors.
If you have any questions, please email or call us. Or stop in and visit us in Nolte Center on the Minneapolis campus.
Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist
B.S. in S&TC, 2013
What is your current position?
I am a Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist at a Minneapolis-based healthcare educational software company called Advanced Informatics. Our company produces E*Value, a customizable software that assists healthcare educators in managing student data and administrative processes. My main duty is to create and update documentation about E*Value functionality for the software's online help manual. Since the tools within the software are always changing, I am constantly editing existing documentation and creating instructions for the use of new tools. Another duty I am tasked with is adding documents that assist my co-workers in communicating with clients to the company Wiki. I also post updates about new tools and features on the client-facing administrator homepage in E*Value and my co-workers often ask me to proofread and edit their documents.
How does your position relate to technical communication?
My position relates directly to technical communication because it requires me to present technical information in a language and format that is concise but easily understandable.
What aspects of your study in technical communication have been most relevant to your current work?
Learning the process of editing my own and others' writing during my undergraduate career definitely helped prepare me for the job I have now. After I draft a document, I consult subject matter experts within the company and ask them to check the text's accuracy. Often, I need to revise the documentation to reflect obscure variables that can be produced within the software. Being able to revise my work to make it as accurate as possible is crucial for creating documentation that is useful for clients. Another aspect of my study in technical communication that has been extremely relevant to my current work is being able to analyze the needs of my audience.
What did you learn about technical communication that surprised you most in the workplace?
The most surprising component of technical communication in the workplace is how much I must communicate with other employees in order to complete projects. Although technical writing seems like a fairly independent line of work, I often need to consult coworkers from multiple departments to gather all of the information needed to write technical documentation. I was also surprised by the importance of well-written emails in the workplace. Emails that are poorly written and unclear can waste the time of all parties involved if they have to ask for clarification.
What message do you have for our current students?
Work on creating a clean, detailed resume. Your resume should show employers not only why they'd want to hire you, but also why they'd want to work with you. Internships can be crucial; relevant experience is attractive to potential employers, and internships give you an idea of what your career after college might involve. Also, start applying for jobs a few months before graduation. Even if you don't get a job offer right away, potential employers may keep your resume on file in case a position you're qualified for becomes available.
The FYW Program Excellence in Writing Award will be given to up to three outstanding essays written by current undergraduate students in a first-year writing course in the
2013-2014 academic year. The award recognizes the writing that is generated out of
University Writing, the first-year writing course.
The winner will receive a prize, a certificate, and publication on the FYW Program website. The award winner will be announced at the FYW Program Symposium in the spring.
* Authors must be an undergraduate student enrolled in either a Fall 2013 or Spring
2014 section of WRIT 1301 or 1401.
* Original essays must have been written in response to an assignment in WRIT 1301
* Essays written in any genre for the class are acceptable.
* Authors must be registered students as of May 2014 at the University of Minnesota
in order to receive the award.
* Only one entry per student is eligible for submission.
1. Fill out the application form. Remember to sign and date it.
2. Attach a typed, double-spaced, clean copy of your essay. Remove your name, but keep the title.
3. Attach the writing assignment the essay was written to fulfill. Your application will not be considered without the assignment sheet. See your instructor if you need a copy.
How To Submit:
Please bring all of the required materials to the Dept. of Writing Studies, 214 Nolte Center. OR, email all of the materials to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "FYW Writing Award."
Deadline for Submissions:
* Fall 2013 students must submit materials by 4pm on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2014.
* Spring 2014 students must submit materials by 4pm on Friday, May 9, 2014.
Late applications will not be accepted.
All winners will be notified by Thursday, May 15, 2014.October 30th, 2013