By Marcos Dos Diaz Davila
KU began offering a certificate in technical writing starting late last semester. The certificate is nine credits and the beginning of a step towards creating a technical writing minor at KU.
Professor Robert Folk helped to shed some light on the recent creation of KU’s technical writing certificate. In the 18 months it took for Folk to develop the certificate, Folk conducted a large amount of research and planning to create the certificate and the classes that went along with it.
“With a certificate, we researched it, we planned it, then created the classes and built the certificate itself. The first step for university approval is to then get discussed and voted on through the Professional Writing Curriculum Group; from there it goes to the English Department for discussion and vote. After approval there, it goes to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum Group for discussion and approval, then on to the University Curriculum Committee. Along the way, we made some minor tweaks according to the feedback we received to make a better certificate. All in all, the process took about 18 months.”
The certificate went through many groups to gain approval, such as the Professional Writing Curriculum Group and the College of Liberal Arts and Science Curriculum Group.
After getting the necessary approval from the University Curriculum Committee, Folk made some minor tweaks and the certificate was complete.
“We went with a certificate first because, at nine credits, it is small enough and flexible enough to benefit a lot of students in a variety of majors,” Folk said.
“Very few universities around the country offer their students anything similar to our technical writing certificate,” Folk said. “A minor is currently in the works and, if all goes well, should be ready by Fall 2022.”
Folk also stated that technical writing is crucial to the advancement of all students, not just writing majors. Since technical writing is a vital part of many career paths, he encourages students of all majors to earn the certificate and strengthen their ability to convey technical information through writing.
In his final thoughts during the interview, Folk said, “Our workplaces are increasingly complicated, and the ability to connect with a chosen audience and get things done with technical writing is paramount.”
For those interested in more information, check out KU’s English Department or contact the English Department’s secretary, Andrea Buno, at firstname.lastname@example.org.