The Rhetoric and Writing secondary field is the study of how writers interact with and consider texts, contexts, and audiences in order to construct knowledge and effect change. Successful writing is not only dependent on a writer’s knowledge and skill, but also on the writer’s ability to analyze rhetorical situations. To do so, students read and write about rhetoric and writing in order to think critically about their own texts and composing practices; subsequently, they often change many of their beliefs about writing, which then impacts their processes and strategies. Students in Rhetoric and Writing not only learn procedural knowledge (“knowing what”: e.g. what a thesis is) but declarative knowledge (“knowing how”: e.g. how to analyze the rhetorical situation to know how to develop the appropriate argument). As rhetorical analysis and written communication are both necessary components of many professions and fields of study, the writing beliefs and practices students develop throughout the program are then transferable to contexts beyond their undergraduate work. Rhetoric and Writing introduces students to practical application not only through their coursework but also through required experiential learning.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveys employers annually to find out what they are looking for when they hire recent college graduates. In NACE’s Job Outlook Report for 2019, they share that 82% of employers were looking for evidence of written communications skills on their applicants’ resumes. It was the most frequently stated request.
The ability to be able to analyze and identify a rhetorical situation and respond appropriately in writing (in print as well as in digital formats) is in demand across professional industries. Students in nearly every AOC will find the Rhetoric and Writing secondary field AOC expands the range of potential short-term jobs as well as long-term career paths. The inclusion of the required experiential learning (via professional experience) further supports the students’ ability to transfer their academic writing knowledge to professional contexts.