Who do you communicate with on a daily basis (colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, clients, the public, etc.) and how (written, spoken)?

Length:    500 words, minimum

Format:    memo

Submission:  Submit to Canvas in .doc or .docx format.  Name the file using your first and last name + the name of the assignment (e.g.: AllieGatorProfComm.docx)

We learn what professionals in our field do by learning the skills and information in college classes, participating in professional and pre-professional organizations, and working closely with a mentor professor or a mentor professional. For this assignment, you will find out how professionals in your field communicate. You will consult professional organizations, trade publications, and interview a professional in your field. (You may already have a mentor you can interview; you may have to seek out an interview.)

Professional Organizations and Trade Publications

Most professions have a professional organization that informs members about work in that field, holds conferences, and sometimes publishes a trade or scholarly journal. To find out which organizations are common in your field, ask a professional you know or search for “professional organizations for [your field/job here]”.

To learn which trade publications are available in your field, ask a professional you know, search “trade publications for [your field/job here]”, or ask a librarian (Links to an external site.) (you can use the Ask-A-Librarian chat function or go to “subject specialists” and email the librarian for your field).


Find someone doing the job you hope to do (or closely related to the job you want to do). Ask her or him politely and professionally for a few minutes to ask them some questions about her or his professional life. Choose 5 questions from the list below, and ask them. Take notes, and make sure to thank the person after the interview.

Choose 5 questions from the pool below:

1. Who do you communicate with on a daily basis (colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, clients, the public, etc.) and how (written, spoken)?

2. What do you write in your profession and how often do you write?

3. How do you keep up with advances and current practices in your profession (journals or other publications, conferences, etc.)?

4. What are some things you read in your profession?

5. What do you read to stay up-to-date with other professionals in your field (specific names of publications, for example)?

6. What do you wish you had learned before becoming a professional that would have helped you in your career?

7. What are some conventional communication practices in your field that the general population might not know (how you format documents, how you address people, on what platforms does communication happen, etc.)

8. Explain a situation in which unclear communication caused a problem for you or your organization.

9. Would you like to add anything about communication in your profession, written or otherwise?

Assignment Instructions 

Write a memo addressed to your instructor about your field following the pattern of the example below. 

1) Begin with a paragraph that explains the field, a few specializations in the field, where you think you might fit in your field, and what you like about your field.

2) Follow that paragraph with a list that includes the organizations, publications, professional get-togethers (like conferences), official guidelines or principles, and current “hot topics” of the field. (If you don’t know what the conventions of your field are, ask a professor or grad student in the field or google something like “professional organizations for _____”.) 

3) For the interview paragraph, begin saying whom you interviewed (including her or his position and in which organization). Complete the paragraph by choosing one aspect of communicating in the profession that you learned during the interview and write 5-10 sentences about it (for example, you could describe it, analyze it, and/or reflect on it).



TO: J. Coenen

FROM: A. Gator

SUBJECT: Professionalism in Writing Pedagogy

DATE: 30 July 2016

The purpose of this memo is to present the professional organization, publications, and other conventions of the field of Writing Pedagogy as requested by J. Coenen, supervisor.

Writing Pedagogy is the field of writing teachers. Professionals in this field have studied communication, specifically written communication. They are also concerned with the teaching of writing skills. I plan to teach written communication at the level of higher education. I could also teach at different levels, work in the publishing industry, or work as a writing specialist. I am interested in this field because I am interested in how language works and how we use language.

Organizations: Modern Language Association (MLA), National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)

Publications: PMLA, College Composition and Communication

Conferences: CCCC (national), MLA (national), UWP at UF Pedagogy Conference (regional)

Guidelines/Principles: publications use MLA style, “Students’ Right to Their Own Language”, “A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI)”

Current Topics: problems with the adjunct instructor model at higher ed institutions, standards and issues of teaching writing online

I interviewed Dr. Mickey Schafer, Lecturer and Writing in the Disciplines Coordinator in the University Writing Program at UF. I learned that writing teachers write more than just assignments and emails. For online classes, they often have to write content, like writing a textbook. They also write research reports, conference presentations, and an Annual Activities Report that details the work they do each year — from work for classes to service to the university or the field. Dr. Schafer wrote a grant proposal to develop an online repository for teachers and students studying discipline-specific writing.

 Suggestions for success:

  • If you’re not sure how to find this information, ask professionals in the field or google “professional organizations [publications, conferences, guidelines, etc.] for ______” (writing teachers, tax accountants, physician assistants, etc.).
  • Be polite and grateful when requesting and conducting your interview. Even if it’s a family friend, parent, or someone you’ve known for a while. Request the interview politely and be sure to thank her or him.
  • Follow the formatting guidelines in Chapter 14 of your textbook, including:
    • addressing the memo to your instructor
    • creating an accurate subject line
    • using block format
    • writing clear topic sentences as the first sentence of each paragraph
    • using headings
      • using other highlighting mechanisms when it makes sense to do so, e.g. lists, bold, etc.
    • writing whole sentences with appropriate mechanics (punctuation, capital letters, etc.) (avoid texting abbreviations and acronyms unless known by reader)

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