Professional Communications SACS Outcomes

Options (abbreviations):

  • PSC Public Service Communication
  • STW Scientific and Technical Writing

Catalog Program Description:

The Professional Communication curriculum provides students with knowledge of communication skills, strategies, and theories necessary for employment in technological environments. The Public Service Communication option prepares students to communicate through exposure to fields such as sales, marketing, and journalism. The Scientific and Technical Writing option focuses more on editing and specialized fields in the sciences. Either option provides students with a broad-based knowledge of communicating in the workplace, as well as specifics about communicating in various disciplines using different types of media, both written and oral.

Program Outcomes:

  1. Hire at least one more Ph.D. faculty member to assist in teaching upper-level Professional Communication required courses.
  2. Continue hiring instructor-level faculty to assist in teaching general education courses (PC 2500) and lower-level Professional Communication courses (such as the PC lab).
  3. Determine strategies for integrating more technological expertise into the program.
  4. Increase number of graduates per year to 10.
  5. Streamline hiring processes for adjuncts in the program and develop an administrative framework for handling the growing number of PC 2500 sections (and facilitate working with the adjuncts who teach them).
  6. Revise PC curriculum to be incorporated within English BA program rather than English-Communication BS program.


  1. Current budget restrictions have precluded the department’s hiring an additional Ph.D. faculty member in Professional Communication.
  2. This item has been accomplished this year through the hiring of a tenure-track instructor.
  3. One way that technology has been integrated more into the Program is in the form of off-campus internships. These internships often require students to learn new software and integrate it with skills learned in the Program, such as effective writing and editing, as well as assessing/applying document design strategies.
  4. This item is in progress; in 2005-2006, the PC program is scheduled to graduate seven students.
  5. This item is also in progress; the director of the Professional Communication Program offers a workshop in the fall for adjuncts and other faculty teaching PC 2500 so that teaching strategies, theories, and philosophies can be discussed. The Professional Communication faculty also have a procedure in place for approving textbooks that adjunct faculty can choose from. The director has implemented a hiring procedure for interviewing and recommending adjunct instructors for PC 2500.
  6. An ad hoc committee is working on this item, a curriculum has been designed, and the effective date should be fall of 2006.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students in both concentrations will be able to write in a variety of technical and professional writing genres.
  2. Students will practice effective oral communication skills that relate to persuading an audience towards their point of view.
  3. Students will learn to write clear, audience-friendly professional and technical documents.
  4. Students will utilize basic rhetorical principles for effective writing and oratory.
  5. Students will learn how to design web pages, including incorporating visual elements.
  6. Students will learn and demonstrate the ability to edit professional documents effectively.

Professional Communication Assessment Indicators:

  • Portfolio of five documents produced in Professional Communication courses
  • Written evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the program
  • Sample web page including text as well as graphics
  • Exit essay on rhetoric and how it applies to Professional Communication
  • Audio tape of oral communication skills (usually an oral presentation given for a class)
  • Alumni contacts Five-year review by outside evaluator(s)

Assessment Methods:

  1. Courses in both the Public Service Communication option and the Scientific and Technical Writing option require production of many different types of technical and professional writing genres, such as reports, proposals, manuals, analyses, other instructions, and web pages. The portfolio that students turn in before graduation is a collection of these various genres.
  2. In most Professional Communication classes, students practice individual oral presentation skills, and they also practice interpersonal oral communication skills through teamwork and peer evaluation. The assessment indicator of this learning outcome is the audio tape of a student’s oral presentation, preferably one given for a Professional Communication class.
  3. In each Professional Communication course, faculty emphasize the importance of audience and ways ethos can be communicated through documents that address the audience effectively, not only through content, but also through document design, clarity, and correctness. This audience awareness is reflected in the various types of writing genres that students produce and that are included in the final portfolio.
  4. All Professional Communication courses emphasize the role that rhetoric plays in effective written and oral communication. Attending to ethos, pathos, and logos in all forms of communication will ensure that the message to be communicated is received by the audience as clearly as possible. This outcome is specifically reflected not only by course documents and presentations but also in the final portfolio and audio tape.
  5. A specific course, PC 4940, focuses on technical editing, and all Professional Communication courses focus on the necessity of editing to various degrees. The documents turned in for the final portfolio demonstrate the students’ application of editing skill gained in the Program.

Use of Assessment Results:

In their evaluation essays, students expressed a desire and need to be exposed to a wider range of software. To help meet this need, the Program expanded its internship opportunities to include a College of Arts and Sciences internship offered by the Business Media Center on campus. The Center uses current technology when working on projects for businesspeople and the University. Students have opportunities not only to learn the software but also to apply it to specific projects.

During the last five-year review, the outside evaluator suggested a closer alliance with the Journalism Program. Additional University forces caused this alliance to become a reality, and it appears that, as a result, the Professional Communication concentration is becoming more visible and is attracting more students.

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