Program Inclusion

Building from the University’s mission for a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and classrooms and the English Department's mission, vision, and values. The PTC Program advances the idea of ensuring that we create equitable opportunities for advancement and growth in the PTC writing classroom.

 The PTC Writing Program starts from a position of an “ideology of inclusion,” (Oswal,  Melonçon, 2017). As Sara Ahmed reminds us, inclusion is not something to document or to market. Rather, it is something that has to be put into action.

 We use the programmatic inclusion audit to help guide our work. To this end, we support the following specific actions that inform our programmatic perspective that is grounded in an ideology of inclusion:

  •  Establish ongoing connections between identifying rhetorical awareness of situations and using that awareness to point out inequities, biases, and disparities, and to work through and with documentation to effect change.
  • Teach students that we have understanding that they are themselves diverse with varied experiences; we work to acknowledge differences in race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, and ability.
  • Train instructors in issues of diversity and anti-racist pedagogies.
  • Create safe classroom spaces that offer environments to examine difficult topics.
  • Provide diversity in readings and approaches with specific connections to practice.

 As a program, we understand that we need to engage students to apply PTC theories into practice with an ongoing emphasis to the key questions of

  • How does this document/deliverable affect existing structures, if at all?
  • Who does this project leave out?
  • How might the final deliverable address, maintain, or facilitate inequitable or unjust practices and power structures in organizations?

 By interrogating power structures and organization practices each time students produce a deliverable, students will learn the impact of their actions and the roles they can play in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplace. They can experience the power of language and the ways in which language directly impacts people’s lives.

 Working in organizations, our students will need to negotiate constantly between the ideal, the theory, the product, and the goals of the organization. Sometimes one has primacy over another. It’s one thing to say that an onboarding document contains sexist language; it’s completely another to craft a strategy to get that document changed without getting yourself fired. It’s hard work and it’s a key part of any technical and professional communicator’s job, that is, figuring out how to use the rhetorical, writing, and communication skills we have to invoke action in an intended audience for a specific purpose.

 We want students to understand the application of writing. This is an important distinction and one that circles back to ensuring that what we do in our PTC courses prepares students for the workplaces they will enter, as well as to perform and engage in their civic lives. We understand that the biggest criticism of this stance is that so many things in the world, including workplace documentation and policies and the projects that technical and professional communication practitioners produce, have often contributed to the inequity and exclusion that upholds racist systems. However, we take seriously our commitment to teach students skills and approaches they can use to do work in their organizations and in making the world a more equitable and inclusive place.