A Business Writing Center Serves Writing Requirements in a Pre-Professional Program

By Valentine, Deborah | Business Communication Quarterly, March 1999 | Go to article overview

A Business Writing Center Serves Writing Requirements in a Pre-Professional Program


Valentine, Deborah, Business Communication Quarterly


As teachers of writing, we have never faced greater challenges: classroom size continues to grow, American students sometimes arrive with less-than-expected competencies in language, and we serve a greater number of international students. At Goizueta Business School of Emory University, we met these problems head-on in 1994 with the design and implementation of a Business Writing Center (BWC). The BWC serves writing requirements in our pre-professional program in three ways. First the BWC offers one-on-one instruction for students in need of remediation. Second, the BWC provides editing assistance to students. And finally, the BWC links the writing requirements of the GBS curriculum with those from Emory's School of Liberal Arts. The BWC ensures that students will be able to meet their core curriculum writing requirements at the highest level of competence.

Background of the BWC

The Business Writing Center was the brainchild of Communication Team Leader, Sherron Bienvenu, who conceived of the project in 1992 to meet the individual needs of business students in a way the English Department's Writing Center could not. Opening its doors in 1994, the BWC at Goizueta now employs three part-time consultants (either English Ph.D. candidates or second-year MBA students with communication training) who serve approximately 200 students each year. We utilize an existing classroom, conference room, or office and meet with students by appointment from 5-9 p.m. on evenings excluding Fridays. Sessions vary from 30 to 90 minutes. Consultants are also available by appointment on weekends, holidays and over semester breaks.

Three Ways to Win

The first way the Business Writing Center serves writing requirements is by providing one-on-one instruction and remediation to those students identified by professors or self-identified as deficient in English writing skills. A consultant meets with such students and works with them on their papers for classes ranging from accounting to marketing. Working on real assignments rather than using generic textbook examples encourages students to focus and remember their lessons. Consultants also can remediate the exact writing difficulties of the individual student, whether in punctuation, grammar and usage, spelling, style and tone, or organization. Consultants also assist foreign students with their special needs in syntax and correct word choice. In the typical business communication classroom, such individual assistance would be an impossible burden for any instructor. …

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