This is the sixth blog post in a series featuring the scholarship of research teams who participated in the CEL 2019-2021 research seminar on Writing Beyond the University: Fostering Writers’ Lifelong Learning and Agency. This blog post showcases a multi-institutional collaboration by Ryan Dippre (University of Maine), Lucie Dvorakova (University of Edinburgh), Alison Farrell (Maynooth University), Melissa Weresh (Drake University), and Nadya Yakovchuk (University of Surrey).

Headshot photos of research team (left to right: Ryan Dippre, Lucie Dvorakova, Alison Farrell, Melissa Weresh and Nadya Yakovchuk)

The team studied how pre-placement students make sense of the writing demands that they will face in their work-integrated learning placements. The researchers recognized that students encounter types of writing that can be quite different from writing that’s introduced and practiced in academia. Interestingly, students in their study believed they were prepared for their writing on placement, even though they anticipated they would encounter new types of writing.

The researchers note that writing is a common thread across disciplines and matters to employers. Furthermore, authentic and meaningful assessments typically involve writing — so universities need to attend to how academic programs are introducing students to and facilitating practice with the varied types of writing they’ll encounter when they graduate.

At the team’s research sites, students are engaged in programmes which reflect the professions they are most likely to enter (teaching, nursing and midwifery, and law). Students are learning to navigate both the higher education institutions’ academic writing requirements and the professional writing requirements which are integrated into the university programs and the associated placements as a response to professional, statutory and/or regulatory bodies. As a result, the team’s work highlights opportunities for curricular designs that attend to preparing students for writing in professional settings.

The team’s research is featured in a chapter — with co-author Niamh Fortune (Maynooth University) — in the forthcoming edited collection, Writing Beyond the University: Preparing Lifelong Learners for Lifewide Writing. We’ll showcase their additional publications on the Center for Engaged Learning website as they become available.

Jessie L. Moore is Director of the Center for Engaged Learning and Professor of English: Professional Writing & Rhetoric. With Peter Felten, she edits the Stylus Publishing/Center for Engaged Learning Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching and the Center for Engaged Learning Open Access Series.

How to cite this post:

Moore, Jessie L. 2022. “Writing Transitions Between Academic and Professional Settings.” Center for Engaged Learning (blog), Elon University. May 17, 2022.