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Applying to teach Professional Writing

If you are a current TA or lecturer at Purdue, or if you are a qualified applicant interested in a teaching position in professional writing, please consider applying for a position. You can download the application form here. Please also review the required credentials below as you assemble your application materials. This form is primarily used by current Purdue TAs and lecturers but others may use the form as well.

Required Credentials for Teaching Business Writing and Technical Writing

Applicants with the following credentials will be considered for appointment as English 420/421 instructors in the Department of English:
1. a master’s degree in professional writing, rhetoric/composition, English, or comparable area (applicants who have nearly completed their master’s degree and who have some of the preferred credentials listed below may also be considered)
2. experience and demonstrated effectiveness teaching writing at the university level (at least English 106-level experience)
3. formal mentoring in the teaching of writing at the university level
4. keen interest in and professional commitment to teaching technical and professional writing
5. experience in using computer technologies for writing

Additional Credentials for Teaching Business Writing and Technical Writing

Applicants with the following credentials will be granted preference:
1. upper-level composition or professional writing teaching experience (e.g., advanced composition, technical writing, business writing, desktop publishing)
2. graduate or undergraduate coursework relevant to professional writing (e.g., professional writing theory, research design, advanced technical or professional writing)
3. professional writing experience in business, industry, or government; research experience and/or publications in professional writing
4. experience teaching in computer classrooms or facility in using a variety of computer writing technologies (e.g., word processing, e-mail, charting and drawing programs, web authoring tools, content management and networking software)

Evaluation Criteria for Business Writing and Technical Writing Instructors Mentoring

During their first semester teaching English 420/421, new instructors are expected to enroll in and successfully complete a formal practicum in the teaching of business or technical writing (English 505M).

Instructors are expected to commit to teaching at least two continuous semesters in the program.

Documenting Teaching Effectiveness

Each semester they teach English 420/421, instructors are expected to provide the Director of Professional Writing with evidence of their teaching effectiveness. Judgments about teaching effectiveness are based on evidence such as:

1. student evaluations of course and instructor
2. syllabus (instructors are required to turn in a copy of their course syllabus to the Program director each semester they teach the course)
3. course materials (e.g., handouts, slides, assignments, coursepack materials)
4. student writing samples with teacher’s comments
5. class observations by the Program Director, Assistant Director, or Mentor

Professional Development

Instructors are expected to participate in the business and technical writing program and to work to develop and maintain their credentials to teach English 420/421. Evidence of participation/development includes:

1. attendance and participation at staff meetings
2. attendance and participation at professional conferences related to professional writing (e.g., Midwest ABC, CCCC, C&W, CPTSC, STC)
3. contribution to the development of program materials (e.g., website or project contributions)
4. professional consulting experience in business, industry, or government; research activity and/or publications in professional writing
5. teaching of other professional writing courses or other involvement in professional writing curricula

Download Application
You can download an application form in PDF format here. Applications are due March 4th, 2019 by 5:00 PM.


Alumni in the Professional Writing Program

Courtney Ginder, Class of 2013, Content Manager for LHP Telematics, Westfield, Indiana
My Professional Writing degree, and the well-rounded set of courses that came with it, gave me the skills I needed to succeed in my position as Content Manager for a heavy equipment remote monitoring company. My position was created for me, and while I started out covering the documentation for products and services, my role expanded into digital marketing and managing the company website and social media accounts.

The skills learned in English 309: Computer-Aided Publishing and English 419: Multimedia Writing helped me develop our documentation style guide and branding guidelines – when I first started, we didn’t have much in the way of concrete style and branding guides. My comprehensive and detailed style of designing and writing user guides and product documentation is a result of English 421: Technical Writing. My job keeps me busy, but being able to manage our customer-facing product documentation as well as our digital marketing strategy has been extremely fulfilling and rewarding.

Ben Wachtel, Class of 2013, Social Media Specialist, Element Three, Indianapolis, Indiana
I write brand-focused advertising and marketing copy for print and digital media while also helping shape our overall marketing strategies. I also fill many roles beyond my job description. The PW program taught me to be always curious, eager to take on new challenges, and the immense value in saying, “I don’t know how to do that, but I’ll learn.”

Ben also devotes time and energy to a variety of community organizations:
I’ve also done my best to stay involved with my community, supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Art with a Heart, Special Olympics of Indiana, and Wheeler Mission among others. I’m also coaching two nights a week at Hamilton Southeastern (and helping with online marketing. I love working with the kids and giving back to a sport that, like the PW program, helped shape the person I’ve become.

Carolyn Shaffer, Class of 2012 Social media coordinator, Bauer College of Business, University of Houston
My PW degree gave me a well-rounded background that helped me land my current position in higher education social media. Computer-aided publishing and multimedia writing taught me graphic design skills that I use to create graphics frequently. I use choice architecture techniques taught in Intro to PW when crafting posts for different social media platforms with different audiences. As a social media coordinator, I manage all the official social media channels for the Bauer College of Business.

Bridget Johnston, Class of 2012, Interactive Projects Coordinator at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
I conceptualize and implement high-tech exhibit and web projects. My enthusiasm for high-tech communication across age, culture, and geographic locations sparked my interest in the museum, and my Professional Writing education has helped fuel my success. It prepared me with excellent project management skills, multitasking capabilities, and a healthy perspective on what the worlds of academics, sciences and humanities have to offer.

Technical Author, Rolls-Royce, Indianapolis, IN and Birmingham, UK
As the Technical Author for Rolls-Royce, I conduct research by interviewing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and interpret engineering drawings. I create procedure documents by witnessing component builds. Being able to accurately capture what is being performed so that it can be replicated thousands of times and understood by non-native speakers of English is a challenge, but one that is really rewarding.

Senior Technical Author, Navistar, Chicago, Illinois
Collaborate with SMEs and mechanics to author safety-critical repair schemes for a fleet of global trucks. Author Service manuals for new products, and facilitate translation in fifteen different languages.

Kate Cochran, Class of 2010, Senior UX Strategist for Siegel + Gale in New York City
I’m part of the Simplification Practice at Siegel + Gale, a full-shop branding agency headquartered in Manhattan after spending time as a freelance digital strategist and UX Designer. Our team helps brands simplify communications and websites: through a rigorous set of workshops to find how effectively they’re communicating with clients and customers. I was Chief Information Architect on a recent project, building the website blueprint through wireframes, sitemaps and process flows.

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