UNM-LA English Class Polishes Workplace Writing Skills

A case of the blank screen blues. Photo/iStock

UNM-LA News:

If facing a blank computer screen at work or in the classroom causes you stress, UNM-LA has scheduled a course to erase your writing fears and polish your skills. The late-starting, three-credit course, English 220, begins Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Classes are noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in UNM-LA Building 2, Room 220.

UNM-LA English 220 instructor Betty Katz has faced many blank screens and demanding deadlines herself as a writer and editor for several national and international publications. She is enthusiastic about sharing her writing techniques with students and welcomes course participants from LANL or any other workgroup.

“Recently I came across a quotation from The National Commission on Writing,” Katz said. “Their words focus on the importance of good writing in the 21st century workplace.”

The commission notes, “Good writing is taken as a given in today’s professional work. Writing is a threshold skill for salaried employment and promotion.”

The ENGL 220 course will help students polish their writing skills for the workplace as well as for the classroom. Course materials will include painless techniques for erasing common writing trouble spots. Students will also learn ways to trim and clarify writing on even the most detailed and complicated topics

“One quote that I always include in my writing instructions is one l learned from my editor at the Dow Jones weekly newspaper, The National Observer,” Katz said. “That editor would yell at the staff across the newsroom, ‘Don’t give me elongated yellow fruit. I want bananas.’”

“We all know how much ‘elongated yellow fruit’ appears in the writing we see all around us,” Katz said, in websites, technical reports, journal articles and academic papers. The ENGL 220 course will help students keep their writing clear and effective for readers.”

To help course participants understand the 21st century workplace more completely, Katz is including readings of two fictional characters who display dramatically different approaches to their workplaces: Willy Loman in the classic American play Death of a Salesman and Mae in Dave Eggers’ 2014 novel, The Circle.

To register for ENGL 220, contact UNM-LA Student Services at 505.662.0332. Betty Katz may be contacted at spencer@unm.edu.




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