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Writing Across the Curriculum

BBA 407: Strategic Management
Writing in the Majors Guidelines
Professor Amod Choudhary

(Written in collaboration with Professor Rachel Shields, English Department)

Role of Writing

Writing within the discipline of business means two things. First there is the "academic" writing that students do as part of their undergraduate education. Second is the more "practical" writing that they do for their prospective careers in business and management. Sometimes the two types end up blending into each other. Both types of writing require a writer to address an issue, present its many facets, and then conclude with a recommendation/summary with supporting statements. The first type of writing, however, often deals with theoretical issues, while the second is more hands-on, day-to-day business writing. 

Students will practice a range of academic writing relevant to business professions. Students will, for example, read in-depth articles related to strategic management, and then write summaries and responses to questions that the professor has assigned. Students will be expected to use additional sources such electronic databases and other business periodicals to answer the questions. This writing is reflective, informational and analytical. Using the genre of a memorandum, students will apply information from the textbook, lectures, and research to real-life problems. They  might, for example, describe the benefits or harm of a business decision (e.g., hiring of new workers when the company is not doing well financially). Through this assignment students will demonstrate knowledge of the field of business and the ability to put business theory into practice.

Students will also practice a range of real-world business-writing tasks. This writing requires that students understand basic day-to-day business communication. The focus here is less on theories of business (problem solving, management style, etc.) and more on communicating in a simple, clear, and straightforward manner. The emphasis for this writing is appropriate business-like format and language as well as factors such as audience awareness and self-presentation. Examples of assignments that support this kind of writing are cover letters, product descriptions, and memos about office issues. Students learn to read materials like job postings carefully so that they can direct written responses to the appropriate audience and, at the same time, show themselves in the best light.  

The skills necessary for this discipline-specific writing are supported by: (i) speaking in classroom discussions in order to get feedback from classmates and the instructor, (ii) reading topics in the course textbook, (iii) writing high and low-stakes assignments in and outside of class, and (iv) responding to oral and written feedback from the instructor. These skills are built over a semester by giving students a range of assignments that build on each other to scaffold or support larger projects.  

Disciplinary Writing

In this course students will gain facility with the following genres or types of writing:

  • Business communication genres: memos, business letters, workplace emails, resumes.
  • Analytical writing: responses to class texts, analyses of business-related media, graphs, tables, background reports, quantitative reports.
  • Persuasive writing: reports (sales, marketing, summary), report abstracts, cover letters, pitch presentations, self-presentations.

Expectations of Students in this Course

In this course each student is expected to:

  • Highlight important sections of the chapters and then answer homework questions. Homework assignments require that students carefully read assigned chapters and then be able to answer questions in a way that demonstrates retention of chapter information and an understanding and extension of that information to hypothetical and real examples. The homework answers are to be written in paragraph form, each about a half a page long.
  • Read assigned course-related articles found in business magazines/newspapers and then answer questions based on the reading of the articles and discussion of those topics in the class. These business analysis assignments are organized as three questions per assignment, each one requiring more analytical effort than the next (i.e. article summary, putting article in context with theories learned in class, extending article information to analyze greater business problems identified in the article and provide potential solutions).
  • Review and revise homework and analytical assignments before handing them into faculty. Students are expected to respond to faculty comments, revise accordingly and also prepare the assignments in accordance with a check list.
  • Write on tests about topics or issues discussed during course lectures.

Expectations of Faculty in a WIM Course

In this course the professor will:

  • Provide opportunities for close reading and critical thinking.
  • Require and guide students in pre-writing research (primary and secondary research skills) with pre-writing exercises and class brainstorming activities.
  • Require scaffolded (composed in stages) writing assignments.
  • Provide time and support for student feedback and questions.
  • Provide opportunities for students to practice their own professional tone in workplace writing (i.e. practice professional emails, provide and practice an email drafting protocol).
  • Structure writing assignments so that students can practice developing a logical line of thought, paragraph transitions and proofreading skills.
  • Structure assignments so that faculty and peers can provide feedback and students can reflect in writing on their writing process.
  • Provide clear course goals and instructions to help students invest appropriate effort.
  • Develop class activities that train students in standards of conventional business writing and practices (i.e. scaffolded exercises on audience identification, pitch presentations, quantitative reports, memos, etc.).

Criteria for Assessing Student Writing

Writing will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Adheres to the directions for the assignment.
  • Demonstrates organization of thought and clarity of presentation.
  • Includes in-depth responses with supporting evidence, critical thinking, and topic guidance provided in the textbook and lectures.
  • Demonstrates cohesiveness and comprehensiveness.
  • Includes answers to each question and its sub parts, using appropriate formatting.
  • Demonstrates careful proofreading and provides answers that are complete, without spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Follows APA citation format.