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Written Communication and Presentation Skills

A UIC Faculty Senate subcommittee conducted surveys of graduate students as well as faculty and staff to determine the challenges faced in the production of high quality graduate student writing. One remedy that surfaced was the creation of a specific course to improve graduate student writing, Written Communication and Presentation Skills (GC 512).
GC 512 provides students with the principles and practices to write according to the conventions of academic English and to communicate with specialist and nonspecialist audiences. The course was designed for doctoral students who have completed at least 32 credit hours in their PhD program. In the summer, we have ONE mixed section, meaning students from STEM fields will convene with those from the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Preference will be given first to doctoral students who have completed their coursework and who have ongoing writing projects.
Ordinarily, the student's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) must approve and recommend registration to the Graduate College. (The DGS sends Benn Williams the student’s name, UIN, NetID, dept name, and # of credit hours completed.) The Graduate College will review the recommendations and approve based upon space and need. After June 1st, for the summer semester, graduate students with significant writing projects (project, article, lit review, chapter) can contact Benn Williams ( directly with their name, UIN, NetID, department/program, section preference. For this course, the instructor CANNOT provide the registrations overrides -- only the Graduate College can. Enrollment for each section is capped at 18.
The elective course carries 3 hours of credit, runs the entire semester. Grading is "Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory."  GC 512 is eligible to be used as a free elective, although all programs may not allow the credit to be used towards degree requirements.  If this is a concern, students are advised to confer with their Director of Graduate Studies. The course may be repeated for credit, space permitting.
For Summer 2019 there will be one "mixed" course for STEM and non-STEM students.
  • CRN 21841 will meet Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. in Taft Hall (TH) 308.

Course Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

1. write according to the conventions of academic English 

*at the sentence level: use various types of clauses, make appropriate verb choices, avoid needless complexity and jargon

*at the paragraph level: write clear topic sentences, employ smooth transitions within paragraphs, and create coherence across paragraphs

2. use a writing process prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, submitting to successfully complete academic writing assignments

3. identify strengths and weaknesses in a text

4. create effective posters and/or PowerPoint presentations

5. communicate effectively with specialist and nonspecialist audiences