Writing Courses Taught: Composition I & II
Dr. Maureen Murphy recently completed her Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric and is the administrator of the Online Writing Lab (OWL). These experiences have given her a strong background in written communication as well as in teaching.
When asked why some students might consider general education English classes to be a waste of time, she suggested that it may be that they have the misconception that all they will learn is how to write the kind of essays or research reports they worked on in high school, a style of writing that they believe won't be of use to them outside of school. But Dr. Murphy states that composition classes at DSU go beyond what students may have learned in high school. The knowledge and skills they learn in the composition courses at DSU focus on the kinds and styles of writing that will be required of them in their future university-level courses and also in their future careers.
For students who don't see the importance writing will play in their careers, Dr. Murphy suggests that they interview a professional their chosen field. "[Students] are always amazed by how much writing professionals actually do on the job, whether it's formal reports or simply written communications with supervisors, co-workers, or clients," says Dr. Murphy. Even in those cases in which an employee does very little formal writing on a regular basis, it may be that the one or two times a year they are called on to contribute to a proposal, a report, or bid specification, and the importance of their contribution can be crucial to a successful project or a company. According to Dr. Murphy, students who make an earnest effort to become good writers will have a significant advantage when it comes time to find a job because employers general understand the importance of having employees who are good writers and good speakers.
In addition, Dr. Murphy doesn't just stress one style of citation in her classes. She teaches a minimum of two styles, MLA and APA, and also gives her 201 class the option of using a numerical citation style, which is typical of scientific writing. "Generally in workplace writing, students will follow a style guide defined by their employer. They will need to know how to follow a style guide, not necessarily memorize a single academic style," explains Dr. Murphy.