Graduate Seminar in Professional Writing for Social Work

Fall 2016 Professional Writing Syllabus

The above link will take you to the Fall 2016 version of the syllabus for my graduate seminar in Professional Writing for Social Work. Fall 2016 was the second semester that we offered this course at NYU Shanghai as part of the Global Masters in Social Work program offered through the NYU Silver School of Social Work.

Changes from Spring 2015

This course was first offered in during the spring semester of 2015. During its original development in fall of 2015, I actively worked with administrators from the Silver School to reimagine the course from being a primarily remedial, grammar-based course for L2 writers, to one that focused on the major genres of professional communication in the field of social work. After teaching the course in Spring 2015, I made the follow changes based on feedback from my students that semester:

  • Addition of student-led discussion
  • Subtraction of one minor assignment
  • Shift in readings away towards scholarly pieces on professional writing in social work

These changes were made to better address the needs of the social work students taking the course, allowing for increased student agency and more time to work on the major projects (a grant proposal and a portfolio of student work).

Future Changes for Fall 2017

For the 2016-2017 academic year, this course was moved from spring to fall semester. This move from the students first semester to their second led to some issues while teaching the course. First, the move meant that students had not yet acclimated to the pacing differences between undergraduate and graduate-level courses. The second issue involved students having not had as much time to adapt to the linguistic demands of English-medium graduate education. This has created opportunities for more revisions for Fall 2017. These changes include:

  • Moving APA style sheet instruction earlier in the semester
  • Requiring the APA manual as a course text
  • Requiring Kaplan’s Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers
  • Reducing minor assignments by one to make room for more explicit focus on linguistic issues