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New Minor in Professional Writing Adds Credential to Undergraduate Degree

Contact: Naomi Jacobs, (207) 581-3823; Charlsye Diaz, (207) 581-3839

ORONO – University of Maine students looking to boost their resumes can now add a professional writing credential to their degrees, according to Naomi Jacobs, chair of the English Department.

The credential, an 18-credit minor in professional writing, provides training and hands-on experience in writing.

“The minor is designed to add a professional credential to any student’s degree,” Jacobs said. “Students from all majors are welcome.”

Once enrolled in the minor, students become part of a network of students focused on their professional goals.

Minors are advised each semester and advising focuses on choosing classes as well as making career choices that build on an interest in writing or the desire to be a stronger writer in a specific field, Charlsye Diaz, who teaches in the minor, explained.

In the past, Diaz has worked with history and philosophy majors who want to stand out when applying to law school; music majors who want to go into music management; new media majors who will write client proposals; and business majors who use the professional credential to stand out from the pack when applying for highly competitive jobs.

Students choose classes that support their career goals and are able to create portfolios of writing samples by working with clients on and off campus. Students complete the minor with their major and career goals in mind.

“Students have opportunities to write proposals, grant applications, brochures, and newsletters,” Diaz said.

This fall, ENG 416:Technical Editing and Document Design, will focus on learning close editing skills, refining personal writing styles, practicing with software applications like InDesign and PhotoShop, and working on brochures.

The English Department also has an English major with a concentration in professional writing.

The concentration and minor complement the state of Maine’s work to further research and development because we are teaching students to write proposals and grant applications, Jacobs said.

Because of the focus on proposal writing, graduate students gravitate toward some of the classes.

“We have three classes for graduate students,” Diaz explained, including ENG 515: Reports & Proposals; ENG 516: Technical Editing & Document Design; and ENG 596: Fieldwork in Professional Writing.

Also, starting in the fall, professional writing students have access to a computer lab where they can work collaboratively or practice their own technological skills. The lab was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program.

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