Professional Writing & Rhetoric

The Professional Writing & Rhetoric (PWR) major affords students disciplined instruction in writing alongside dynamic opportunities for writing, collaboration, and revising for diverse audiences (academic, professional, and public) and in diverse genres and media.

Students will work with faculty to develop identities as writers and plan a workable career path that centers on critical inquiry, cultural analysis, and document drafting. This multifaceted approach to writing will help students see how writing works in different contexts and for different occasions, and how to leverage their expertise in writing to gain a competitive foothold in the many arenas writing takes place in the professional world.

The program focuses on student-centered learning and high-impact practices such as peer review, reflective writing, audience and genre analysis, and content creation.

What Will I Learn?

Students who pursue the PWR major will learn to:
  • Move between multiple audiences and genres
  • Constructively critique the writing of their peers as well as their own
  • Approach different writing occasions in creative, analytical, and reflective ways
  • Understand the experiences of others in an effort to promote inclusivity and accessibility through writing

Degree Information

Learn about degree requirements and coursework for the Professional Writing & Rhetoric major.

Learn which Dearborn Discovery Core requirements are fulfilled by taking Composition courses.

Job Prospects for Writing Majors Are Favorable

Nineteen Metro Detroit companies surveyed indicate high demand for bachelor’s level writing and rhetoric professionals.

The U.S. Department of Labor also projects up to 11% growth in jobs for writers across the country in the next decade. Likewise, the job outlook, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016-2026) for “writers and authors,” including creative and copy writers, is “as fast as the average for all other occupations.” 

UM-Dearborn alumni recently reported in a survey that they valued “using skills like communication, management, writing, and critical thinking” in their fields, and 93-96% of respondents in this survey agreed that writing and oral communication was very important to their fields.  

PWR Faculty

Jill Darling

LEO Lecturer II, Composition and Rhetoric

William DeGenaro

Professor of Composition and Rhetoric

Jerrice Donelson

Lecturer III, Professional Writing and Rhetoric

Thom Foy

LEO Lecturer II, Composition and Rhetoric

Susan Gavell

LEO Lecturer I, Composition and Rhetoric

Ian Kennedy

LEO Lecturer I, Composition and Rhetoric

Mark Lane

LEO Lecturer I, Composition and Rhetoric

Michael MacDonald

Associate Professor of Composition and Rhetoric

P.F. Potvin

Lecturer IV, Composition and Rhetoric

Liz Rohan

Professor of Composition and Rhetoric

Alicia Schaeffer

Lecturer III, Professional Writing and Rhetoric

Sara Smith

LEO Lecturer I, Composition and Rhetoric

Kristian Stewart

LEO Lecturer II, Composition and Rhetoric

Pamela Todoroff

LEO Lecturer IV, Composition and Rhetoric

Ashley Whitmore

LEO Lecturer I, Composition and Rhetoric

Benjamin Wielechowski

LEO Lecturer I, Journalism and Screen Studies

Margaret Willard-Traub

Associate Professor of Composition and Rhetoric; Affiliate faculty in Women's and Gender Studies