Policy Statement

Professor: Matt King (he, him, his)
Email: mrking@sbu.edu
Phone: 716.375.2457
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 2:30-4:00 and by appointment
Office Location: Plassmann D6
Class Website: https://mattrking.com/courses/w499

Professional and Creative Writing Major Objectives
Students will:

  • Write effective texts in different genres and in multiple media to respond to a variety of professional and creative needs.
  • Construct their own professional identities as writers, readers, and researchers who can make valuable contributions in a variety of professional settings.
  • Interpret cultural, political, and historical situations using specific theories from rhetorical, literary, and writing studies.
  • Display the ethical commitment of writers to improve society.

Course Description
The Writers Project gives students an experiential learning component to their education that allows them to see what it’s like to work professionally in a writing-related context. Students serve as the editorial staff for an online literary magazine that will service not only St. Bonaventure, but also the wider community, with a special focus on servicing Western New York. Students will review submissions, copyedit/proof selections, work with writers to develop pieces, solicit pieces from established writers, and provide content of their own. Beyond editorial work, students will be involved with marketing/promoting the literary magazine, and they will be involved with the basic management of its technical components. 3 credits. [We wrote this description while proposing the PCW major, but we dropped the plans for a new online literary magazine (if you are interested in working on a literary journal, check out The Laurel here at Bonaventure). But the class still emphasizes professionalization and experiential learning. This is closer to the mark:]

The Writers Project offers an opportunity for experiential learning and taking up writing as a practice for doing things in the world. Pushing ourselves beyond the confines of the classroom, we will approach writing as a professional skill and a tool for social action and community engagement. Framing our work as a “project resonates on two levels: as a class, we will think of ourselves as a collection of writers taking on collaborative projects that achieve a broader vision with constituents beyond the classroom; as individuals, we will work to project ourselves – our skills, interests, passions, and investments – out into the world as we work with others beyond our classroom walls. Our work will involve communicating with project collaborators, producing writing toward the development of projects, making reports to the class on the progress of the projects, and doing readings that speak to this sort of collaborative and professional writing work.

Course Goals
As a capstone for the Professional and Creative Writing major, the course aims to prepare you for professional writing work while drawing on the range of capacities and strengths you have developed throughout your classes. Our course goals thus focus on three areas related to this transition beyond the classroom. Our attention to these goals will foreground ethical considerations as well, emphasizing what it means to be an ethical problem-solver, collaborator, and professional.

  • Problem-solving. Framing writing as problem-solving helps us attend to the various challenges that arise while working on a writing project. These challenges multiply and intensify when writing involves working with others, seeking out access to people or technologies or funding, or adapting your work to the necessary and available means of publication. This class aims to make you a better problem-solver by putting you in situations that require problem-solving and helping you navigate them.
  • Collaboration. Even if your future work does not involve working on a writing team or answering to a boss or team leader, writing in the professional world is inherently collaborative. Some writers work with agents, editors, publishers, and graphic designers. Some writers work with coauthors and interview subjects. Working as a writer will necessarily involve collaborating with others in some way. This class aims to make you a better collaborator by grounding our work in collaborative projects that require cooperation and effective communication.
  • Professionalization. For our purposes, professionalization involves working to prepare your writing for professional audiences and situations. This includes concerns related to formality and polish but extends to the challenge of establishing a portfolio of writing work. This class aims to help you develop a professional portfolio through a series of supplemental writing assignments that ask you to reflect on your work and frame it in terms of your broader development, goals, and identity.

Course Texts
All readings will be made available online as needed.

We will be using the Learning Record for grading and assessment purposes this semester. The guidelines and procedures for working with the Learning Record, including policies on late work and attendance, are explained further on the course website. This assessment model puts a heavy emphasis on self-assessment and evaluation; while I will give you feedback on your work, I will not give you specific grades on any assignment, and you will make an argument for your semester grade based on the given criteria. Your main work this semester will fall into the following categories:

  • Class participation
  • Project work
  • Supplemental writing
  • Digital media literacies

Student Success Center
Revising and responding to feedback will be an invaluable part of your development as a writer this semester. Toward this end, you are strongly encouraged to visit me during office hours or by appointment, and you are also strongly encouraged to visit the Student Success Center on the first floor of Plassmann Hall.

Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty is inconsistent with the moral character expected of students in a University committed to the spiritual and intellectual growth of the whole person. It also subverts the academic process by distorting all measurements. A list of unacceptable practices and procedures to be followed in prosecuting cases of alleged academic dishonesty may be found in the Student Handbook and here.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Disability Support Services Office (Doyle 26, 716-375-2066) as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Documentation from this office is required before accommodations can be made. Please see the official SBU Student with Disabilities policy here.

Email will serve as an official means of communication for this class, and you should check the email account you have registered with the university regularly. Feel free to email me with your questions and concerns.

Title IX
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources at the Health and Wellness Center or at the Campus Safety Office. For on-campus reporting, see the Title IX Coordinator (Sharon Burke, Director of Human Resources) and Residence Life Staff (RAs, RDs, and other professional staff). The University’s policy and procedures regarding gender-based and sexual misconduct can be found online.

In the event of an emergency, call Campus Safety at 716-375-2525 or contact Nichole Gonzalez, Residential Living and Conduct, 716-375-2572, ngonzale@sbu.edu. Be aware that most university employees are mandated reporters.