CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Writing is nothing to fear for students in the new Writing Studies track coming to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s English Department in fall 2017. Technological advances and societal needs cause the art of writing to constantly evolve. Through Writing Studies, students will be able to practice writing in an environment that encourages exploration of the many uses of writing in the 21st century. Registration opens April 4.
“Americans are reading and writing now more than ever,” said Dr. Chuck Etheridge, Associate Professor of English and Head of the Technical and Professional Writing minor at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “It’s more than picking out a book at Barnes & Noble. There’s writing on our websites, our apps and our computers. We have this space in the world where writing is very much in demand.”
Because the English degree formerly had an emphasis on literary studies and didn’t require writing classes, the Writing Studies track will fill those needed spaces for students desiring to focus on writing. What the students do in their Writing Studies classes depends on where their interests lie. After the core classes are completed, there are variety of options available. If the student is more technology oriented, there are classes that focus on document design, web page design or writing for social media. If creativity is the student’s strong suit, there are multiple creative writing classes to hone their skills and encourage publication of their work. Employers want strong communicators and innovative thinkers, and writing courses, both technical and creative, help students develop these vital skills.
“I encourage any student to get in as much writing as they can,” said Etheridge. “Critical thinking helps you analyze a problem really well, but creative thinking leads you to solutions.”
Writing is valuable in most professions. Whether it’s computer science, journalism, law, marketing, technical writing or storytelling—having a background in writing will prove beneficial, said Etheridge. While a few may joke about starving liberal art majors, the median pay for technical writers in 2015 was $70,240 annually. Texas has the second most writing jobs in the country, bested only by California. With the job growth projected to expand 10 to17 percent, there will be a greater demand for writers.
“The world of the workplace has been changing,” said Etheridge. “Virtually any profession requires extensive writing. This is where a Writing Studies degree comes in handy; it prepares you for the work as it exists and the ways that it’s going.”
The Writing Studies track offers more than career potential. Writing can also help the individual internally.
“In terms of the humanities, writing helps us understand ourselves, our lives and our world in a way that nothing else can. It helps us slow down and be in the moment,” said Etheridge. “This is important for self-reflection and it helps people generate effective solutions to complex problems.”
The Writing Studies track has been a culmination of years spent by many English professors at A&M-Corpus Christi desiring more ways of writing within the English major. Dr. Glenn Blalock, Dr. Robin Carstensen, Dr. Frances Johnson, Dr. Catherine Quick and Dr. Susan Wolff-Murphy initially put the proposal together, but each English professor had a hand in its creation.
For more information about the Writing Studies track, go to writing.tamucc.edu.