Analyzes rhetorical strategies for public advocacy writing. Examines texts influencing public events, and visual and print materials designed to advocate for social causes. Includes field and library research and development of portfolio advocating for an issue for a targeted audience. Prerequisite: a minimum 2.0 grade in either TCXG 272 or TWRT 272
In this class, you'll pick a non profit organization that works on a social issue you're interested in, contact the organization, and volunteer in the agency for four weeks, two hours a week. You'll research and learn more about that social issue, study principles of persuasion that are essential for advocacy writing, and practice several genres: press release, backgrounder, op ed piece, fund-raising letter, letter-to-the editor. You’ll participate in a blog, write for a local publication on behalf of the organization you volunteer in, and create a multi-media presentation suitable for a presentation to a public audience on behalf of the cause or group you choose to do advocacy work for. This course is good for students interested in human rights work, public policy, non-profit management, journalism, and public relations.
Student learning goals
to increase skill in using rhetorical techniques for persuasive purposes
to increase research skills in scholarly, government, and general publications and skills in gathering first-hand information through interviews, field observation, and networking
to broaden understanding of a local social issue and connect with local organizations and individuals who are doing advocacy work in this area
to gain skills in producing several advocacy genres. for example, letters-to-the editor, op ed articles, brochures, feature articles, multi-media presentations and advocacy blogs.
General method of instruction
seminar-style discussion, writing workshop, small group skill-building exercises, and mini-lectures. This is NOT a lecture course though.
You need to have a good command of the fundamentals of academic writing and a basic knowledge of conducting research using UWT library resources. A 2.0 in TWRT 272 (formerly TCXG 272) or equivalent advanced composition course is required--OR permission of the instructor. If you do not have the course prerequisite, email the instructor and include a recent academic paper you have written, as well as your reasons for wanting this particular course.
Class assignments and grading
In addition to readings and class discussions of the readings, students will write in several genres as they build subject-matter knowledge on their chosen topic. Genres include:rhetorical analysis, letters-to-the-editory, blog postings, feature articles, and power point presentations. The 8 hours of volunteer work, spread out over 4 weeks, is in addition to regular homework to prepare for class sessions.
I grade based on improvement over the span of the course. If you start at a moderate level, you may find you get a few grades early on that are below what you would like--that's because nobody's an expert at a new skill the first time around. But I skew my grading to favorite improvement, so you'll have every chance to learn, grow, and then be evaluated on that growth.