Defining Professional and Public Writing

As the introduction to this book emphasizes, this course will build upon your foundation in academic writing to help you practice writing for a wider array of genres, ideas, and audiences. Problems that matter, especially wicked problems, tend to matter across academic, professional, and public domains. Indeed, addressing complex problems often requires thinking about and writing for a range of stakeholders, including those from within a particular academic or professional community but also extending beyond those communities to the general public:

Professional writing: contexts where writers study and engage in problems closely related to the workplace. Writers enter professional conversations for a number of reasons: to inform a professional audience about product or workplace issues, to prompt employers to take action or effect change, to educate users about products, to advance the work of the professional sector.

Public writing: contexts where writers study and engage in meaningful social action through written texts. Writers enter public conversations for a number of reasons: to inform a public audience about communal issues, to prompt others to take action or effect change, to educate audiences about public policy, to advance the work of the nonprofit sector.

You will need fluency in all three domains (academic, professional, and public) as you address problems in your future professional and personal lives. This course is designed to give you practice writing across these domains, so you will become more a flexible and adaptive writer who feels confident approaching the diverse writing situations you will almost certainly encounter.

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Introduction to Professional and Public Writing by Roger Williams University Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.