Spring 2001, sec. W01, TTh 8:30-9:45, Armstrong 415
Dr. Timothy Sweet          Office: Stansbury 222
Phone:  293-3107 x417     tsweet@hermes.icrc.wvu.edu    Mailbox:  Stansbury 231
Office Hours: T, Th 10-11; other times by appointment.



Complete English 1 & 2.  First-Year students should not register for 105.


This course is writing intensive and qualifies for "W" credit.  We will work primarily on analyzing and developing effective strategies for business communication.  By discussing successful communication strategies and practicing them in a variety of common business forms--letters, memos, proposals, formal reports--you will learn to analyze different writing contexts, meet the needs of an audience, and organize and present material logically and clearly. We will spend most of our time working on ways to meet the needs of readers such as managers, customers, employees, etc.  We will use computers and the Internet as central components of this course. Please make a point of checking your e-mail regularly to keep current with correspondence from me or group members.


You will receive detailed assignment sheets for each project.  Click to preview.

  1. Professional Editing Project (10%; 250-500 words).  Demonstrate your understanding of the GRACE principles, as well as your ability to improve a text's content  and organization, style, and mechanics.   Document to be edited will be assigned.  Due 1/23.
  2. Policy/Procedure Document (15%; 500+ words).  Demonstrate your understanding of audience needs and document design skills.  Draft due 1/30.  Final due 2/6.
  3. Response Memos (two @ 5% each; 250+ words each).  Read and respond to group members' drafts of assignments (2) and (5).  Prepare written comments for each writer (and copy to me).  Due at conferences on 2/1 and 3/6.
  4. Case Study (15%; 500+ words).  Demonstrate your understanding of chapter 6 by witing an appropriate response to a challenging situation involving persuasion, bad news, or negotiation.  Case will be assigned.  Due 2/20.
  5. Employment Portfolio (20%; 1250+ words). Use the textbook (chapters 7-9), the WVU Career Center, and the Internet  to research and apply for a professional position.  Produce a portfolio consistnig of an application letter, a résumé, a thank-you letter, and a GRACE analysis for each document.  Draft due 3/1.  Final due 3/13.
  6. Group Project (30%; 2000+ words).  Work as a part of a team to complete a project for a client which you, as a team, will determine.  Components due 3/19, 3/22, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24-26.  Final due in my mailbox (231 Stansbury) by 3pm Monday, 4/30.


Attendance.  Meeting appointments and commitments is part of being a professional.  Without attending class, you cannot perform your job as a student involved in learning, planning, drafting, discussing samples, or practicing strategies.   I do, however, recognize that situations arise that may, on a rare occasion, make it impossible for you to be in class.

You are allowed two excused absences from regular class meetings (a week's worth of class).  Your course grade will drop one half of a letter grade (5%) for each absence beyond the two excused absences. You are not allowed any unexcused absences.  You are responsible for obtaining any handouts or assignments for a missed class.  More than five absences will result in an automatic grade of F for the course.

There are two types of excused absences:

Participation.  Participation includes coming to class prepared, taking part in class discussions, asking questions, contributing your knowledge and insights in whatever form is suitable, and striving to make all your contributions excellent. It also includes doing the required written work and checking your e-mail. I see participation as an issue of ethics and responsibility and, especially in a course dealing with professional environments, a vital part of your learning experience in this course.

Late work.  Late work is unprofessional and, therefore, unacceptable.  Late assignments receive a five-point deduction for each class period they are late. I  will count as late any work that I do not receive at the beginning of  the class period when it is due.  If you ever have a problem with an assignment, talk to me ahead of the deadline and we may be able to negotiate some special arrangement. Deadlines are not negotiable after you've missed them.

Special needs.  If you have a learning disability, hearing or vision problems, or any other special need that might affect your performance or participation in class, please talk with me privately.

Social Justice.  I support WVU's commitment to social justice and will work to create a positive learning environment based on open communication and mutual respect.  I welcome your suggestions.


GRADING CRITERIA (Refer also to the policies on Attendance and Late Work, above.)

 A (91-100%): Exemplary work; a company can use your writing without further revisions and might even use the work as an example when training new employees.

 B (81-90%): A company must be able to use your writing without major revisions of content, presentation, or writing style/mechanics.  Typically, documents will have no more than two types of error in punctuation, grammar, format, or spelling.

 C (71-80%): Documents are adequate, but require some revisions of content, presentation, or writing style/mechanics (or some combination) before a company can use them.  Typically, documents will have no more than five errors in punctuation, grammar, format, and spelling.

 D (61-70%): Documents are unprofessional.  They generally require extensive revisions of content, presentation, and/or writing style and mechanics before they could be used by a company.

F (60% or below).  Problems of content, presentation, or writing style/mechanics are pervasive.  A company would most probably have to reassign projects to another writer.

I do not give grades of "Incomplete" except in extreme circumstances, and then only if a substantial portion of the semester's work has already been completed.  If an emergency comes up (and I sincerely hope it doesn't), contact the Dean of Student Life immediately. The Dean of Student Life will inform all of your professors of the emergency and will provide me with the certification I need to submit a grade of "Incomplete."  Contact: Office of Student Life, E. Moore Hall (293-5611).


I assume that I will never have reason to doubt your honesty.  So we're clear on what is considered cheating and plagiarism, the following definitions are from the West Virginia University Undergraduate Catalog.  Please see the section on Academic Integrity/Dishonesty for the full definition and discussion of procedures.

  1. Plagiarism: material that has been knowingly obtained or copied in whole or in part, from the work of others. . ., including (but not limited to) another individual's academic composition.
  2. Cheating: doing academic work for  another student, or providing one's own work for another student to copy and submit as his/ her own.
Scholastic dishonesty involves misrepresenting as your own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper or substantially similar papers to meet the requirements of more than one course without the written approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; interfering with another's work.

Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses.  Clear cases will result in an  F for the course and appropriate academic discipline.  If you have any question about when and how to document sources, or any other question that will help you avoid unintentional plagiarism, please talk to me.