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Public Writing and Rhetoric

The Public Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) program gives students extensive, hands-on experience learning to write for audiences beyond academic settings. Working with faculty who research and teach courses on technical writing, podcasting, digital reading practices, collaborative writing, video games, community and public rhetorics, multimodal composition, and user experience design, students in the program become dynamic, rhetorically adaptable writers prepared to navigate a wide range of audiences, genres, and platforms. In a fast-changing employment landscape where employers put a premium on flexible, well-developed writing skills, PWR students graduate with in-demand professional skills and the ability to make a difference in the world with their writing. 

What We're Doing

Kelsey Keith

Fulbright scholar uses knowledge learned in courses to teach in Spain

During her college career, Fulbright scholar and MTSU alum Kelsey Keith took courses with Public Writing and Rhetoric faculty including Dr. Erica Cirillo-McCarthy, Dr. Eric Detweiler, and Dr. Kate Pantelides. She also worked with Dr. Detweiler on her undergraduate thesis project: a podcast series about Southern identity. According to Kelsey, the key thing she gained from her writing and rhetoric courses was “the ability to be a flexible and adaptable worker, be it in my studies or in my work outside academia. Understanding rhetorical situations and being able to communicate and work within them effectively is invaluable.” As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Spain, Kelsey is drawing on what she learned in those courses as she creates a multimedia project about regional pride in Asturias, Spain, and works with Spanish students. Her undergraduate experiences with rhetoric and writing also prepared her to explore a range of career possibilities in the coming years. As she puts it, “My ability to communicate effectively within various environments and my diversified portfolio of work and skills keep me competitive in whatever direction I choose to go.”

Imaan Malik

Award-winning filmmaker says courses helped ‘sharpen’ writing, analytical skills

Imaan Malik is an award-winning filmmaker currently pursuing graduate study. She took courses with Dr. Eric Detweiler and Dr. Kate Pantelides while an undergraduate at MTSU. Imaan describes her experiences in these courses as follows: “The practicality stood out to me, and it was some of the most interesting material I studied throughout college. The combination of learning both soft and hard skills has proved useful in my career since graduating.” Her professional experiences in the film, audiobook, and podcast industries were supported by her coursework, which helped her learn to “record and edit audio,” “sharpen [her] writing and analytical skills,” and “thoroughly dissect a singular concept and expand upon it.” Once she completes her master’s degree, she plans to work in media production and film development. She writes, “The first-ever documentary I made was in my Cultural Rhetorics class. I learned the process of investigating a setting and culture that I’m not familiar with in a respectful way. I learned how to properly listen to and understand multiple perspectives.” 

A degree in Public Writing and Rhetoric has opportunities for success in a constantly changing job market. An emphasis on clear and logical communications prepares students for a wide range of opportunities.

  • Content Designer
  • Content Strategist
  • Copywriter
  • Copyeditor
  • Documentation Specialist
  • Front End Developer
  • Grant Writer
  • Information Developer 
  • Medical Writer 
  • Professional Writer 
  • Publication Specialist 
  • Social Media Manager 
  • Technical Editor
  • User Interface Developer
  • User Experience Designer 
  • Web Content Manager 

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Writing and Rhetoric includes a four-course core focused on the study and production of rhetorically effective written work for a range of public and professional audiences and purposes.  

Additional PWR electives allow students to gain further experience in arenas like digital writing, writing with community partnes, cultural rhetorics, and technical writing.  

This program is set to be active for the 2022-2023 school year. Detailed information regarding requirements will be listed when the catalog has been updated.

Our adjunct faculty bring outstanding professional experience to our programs. Many are industry leaders with decorated careers and honors. Importantly, they are innovative educators who offer hands-on learning to our students to prepare them to enter and thrive in a dynamic, and oftentimes emerging, industry and professional world. They inspire, instruct, and challenge our students toward academic and professional success.

Contact Information

Dr. Eric Detweiler
Program Director / Faculty Advisor

Who is My Advisor?

Nichole Poe (A-L)
615-494-7652 | PH 120

Ja'Net Davis (M-Z)
615-494-7651 | PH 128

Mailing Address

Eric Detweiler, PWR Program Director
Middle Tennessee State University
Box 70
1301 E. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37132 

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