Running head: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: A CASE FOR EARNING

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1 1 Dear Reader: I would like to share with you my chapter, A Case for Earning an Undergraduate Degree in Writing that is published in the book Writing for the Curious Why Study Writing? Please review the chapter that is below. Incidentally, the book Writing for the Curious serves both academic and non- academic audiences and intends to provide multiple right answers to the question why write. (For a limited time, the entire book is available through Amazon for.99 cents: Thank you for our consideration. Sincerely, Professor Rich Matzen Southern California: A Case for Earning an Undergraduate Degree in Writing Richard N. Matzen, Jr., Ph.D. Woodbury University Author Note Beginning in 1992, Richard Matzen studied Writing in graduate school: Creative Writing, and Rhetoric, and Writing when English is a second language. Later, he was a co- editor for an international academic book, Reformation: The Teaching and Learning of English in Electronic Environments (Tamkang University, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007).

2 2 At Woodbury University in 2005, he founded the writing program and served as Chair of the Writing Department until the fall of Now, as an Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, he helps the department prepare for offering a Professional Writing degree, beginning in the fall of June 2014 Dear International and Domestic Students, I understand that you are interested in studying Writing. Good. I love Writing in English, my first language. Maybe, you have this question: Why would an international or domestic student study Writing? I ve been thinking about answers to this question since 1992 when I began studying Writing in graduate school and when I decided to support my family by becoming a Writing professor. Previous to 1992, I was a poet, publisher, and freelance writer. So why should an international or domestic student study Writing? Well, I want students to study Writing so that they can be where I am now financially secure and writing a variety of documents daily. Last week, I wrote s, an academic article, a research report, a novel chapter, data tables, etc. Also, I m looking forward to building websites! I like the variety of writing projects. So I want to encourage students to earn a reasonable income by studying Writing first and being paid to write next all to happen when you are still young! To be precise, as an Associate Professor who earned a Ph.D. in Writing, also called a Ph.D. in English, I hope that students will look for these five essential qualities in any Writing major or minor: Writing courses that. include Writing as a creative and practical process, define Writing as working in collaborative teams, portray Writing as representing intercultural and contrastive values, envision media web writing and document design, for example as Writing, and explains how to make a living as a professional or technical writer or editor. To explain why these five qualities are so important to a Writing major or minor, let me present my thesis: With a quality Professional/Technical Writing degree (four- year undergraduate degree), a student can earn a living as a writer particularly in metropolitan areas and in emerging global communities. My thesis s three main supporting points are these: (1) Writing Market Analysis: If you have a degree in Writing, can you make a living? (2) Writing as Supported by Community Colleges: How

3 3 can you reduce the cost of studying Writing? and (3) Writing as a Career: Is it difficult to find a B.A. or B.S. Writing program in the U.S.? Writing Market Analysis: If you have a degree in Writing, can you make a living? A student who graduates with an undergraduate degree in Professional or Technical Writing will have studied most, if not all, of the five, previously mentioned, essential qualities. These qualities have equivalent academic or school terms as read in Table 1. These are the terms that show up in Writing course titles. Table 1 The Five Essential Qualities as Words in Course Titles The Five Essential Qualities The school or technical terms found in Writing course titles: Writing as a creative and practical process: Technical Communication. Technical Writing. Business Writing. Proposal and Grant Writing. Writing as working in collaborative teams: Rhetoric. Journalism. Professional Blogging. Writing as representing intercultural, contrastive values: Rhetoric. Sociolinguistics. Ethics. Copyrights. Writing as media web writing and document design: Visual Rhetoric. Digital Media. Multimodal Composition. Writing as a way to make a living as a freelance writer: Freelance Writing. Publishing. Marketing. The degree that earns money is the four- year, undergraduate degree in Professional or Technical Writing called a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree; it qualifies you as a graduate to work successfully as in many professional fields including business, publishing, journalism, education, non- profit organizations, and the arts. However, a two- year degree, called an Associate Degree, by itself does not qualify you for these jobs. Specifically, graduates with a four- year Professional or Technical Writing degree will be qualified for careers in the Writers and Editors category, as it s defined by the U.S. government s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the BLS website, university Technical (or Professional) Writing graduates are trained to be all three kinds of writers: (1) technical writers, (2) professional writers/authors, and (3) editors. These Writing graduates qualify for careers in at least 17 industries including these: Public Relations, Architecture, Business, Computer Systems, Independent Art, Publishers, and News Services industries. Table 2 shows the average salaries for these Writing graduates according to BLS s 2012 data.

4 4 Table 2 Average Annual Salary for Three Kinds of Writers Bureau of Labor Statistics: Three Kinds of Writers Average Yearly Salary 1. Technical Writers $67, Professional Writers/Authors $68, Editors $62,440 These are the average salaries for entry level positions that require a B.S. or B.A. degree. Furthermore, regarding the 2012 data and according to the BLS s Occupational Outlook Handbook, the national job market for these writers is increasing, not decreasing. These jobs will grow by the following percentages between 2010 and 2020: technical writers 17% growth in national job market; professional writers/authors, 6% growth; and editors, 1% growth. It s important for Writing students to know, too, that these Writing jobs jobs for technical or professional writers are concentrated mostly in the state of California as compared to all the other 50 states. California has about the twice the number of Writing jobs compared to the second place state of Texas. Also according to the BLS s 2012 data, Writing jobs are particularly concentrated in the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego; both cities are in southern California. Jobs for writers are also concentrated on the U.S. s east coast particularly in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia, and in the District of Columbia (i.e., Washington, D.C.). Writing as Supported by Community Colleges: How can you reduce the cost of studying Writing? As suggested by Lisa Meloncon (2009), some Writing courses are common in Professional or Technical Writing degree programs, no matter where you study. These Writing courses help you and other students to understand subjects like these: document design, web content, editing principles, and on- the- job writing. High quality Writing programs also includes an internship. In an internship, you work as a writer for a company or corporation, although you are a senior and still completing degree requirements. In California and other states, although these Writing courses are not be easily found in community colleges, an international student may still transfer as many as 60 credits from a community college into a Writing degree at a university in California. Completing 60 credits would mean, the international student would be awarded an Associate degree. While this degree does not qualify you for the writing jobs mentioned previously, it can save you substantial money if you transfer the courses from your community college to your university, where you plan to attend and graduate with a B.A. or B.S. degree in Writing. As much as 50% (or more) of a student s B.A. or B.S. degree can be transferred from the community college to the university, which means significant savings whether you are an international or domestic student. At least, this is the case in California that as the largest community college system in the U.S.

5 5 Here s an example of how saving money at a community college may work. At College of the Canyons (COC), a community college in the Los Angeles area, the entire price to study as a full- time, international student during the fall and spring semesters including all fees, food, housing, transportation, health insurance, etc. is approximately $15,300 (COC International Students Program, n.d.). Included in this total is the price of tuition for two semesters: $5,450 for an international student for two semesters. At COC, and at other California community colleges, tuition is the same price for international students and domestic students who are not California residents. For California residents, $1,154 is the total for tuition for two semesters (COC Financial Aid, n.d.). To review, as many as 60 credits hours an Associate Degree may transfer from a community college to a university in California. But to transfer 60 credit hours would mean that an international student has successfully completed five semesters as a full- time student at the California community college: each semester having 12 credit hours, which is full- time status. In addition, to make the most of this possible credit transfer and financial savings, an international student needs to do two things: (1) before registering at a California community college, the student should review what specific courses transfer between that specific California community college and to what specific university. Typically, General Education courses transfer successfully. (2) However, in a California community college, an international student also has to choose a major as well as complete General Education courses. Because writing cannot be a major at a community college, an international student may choose English, Communication, Journalism, or New Media as a major related to writing studies. All these are relatively common Associate degrees offered at California community colleges. A word of caution, if you research into community colleges, you need to know the difference between degree and certificate programs. Degree programs are commonly transferrable between California community colleges and universities. In contrast, the typical certificate program at a California community college will not transfer to a university: typical certificate programs are defined by non- transferrable credit. Writing as a Career: Is it difficult to find a B.S. or B.A. Writing program in the U.S.? In the U.S. in a six year period, 2005 to 2011, the number of undergraduate Writing degree programs increased over 100%! To explain, at least 80 undergraduate programs in Writing defined as technical and professional communication programs existed in 2005 (Rich & Harner, 2005). Then, this number increased to 185 by 2011 (Meloncon & Henschel, 2013), an increase of over 100% In addition, according to Lisa Meloncon and Sally Henschel (2013), these days, Writing degree programs are more likely to be found in departments other than the English Department. Therefore, when you re looking at a university for a Writing degree program, you may find it in a Writing, or Communication, or Journalism, or Media, or Interdisciplinary Studies, etc. department, not just in an English department.

6 6 Currently, according to California Technical Writers: Schools and Career (n.d.), only two university systems offer a B.A. or B.S. in Technical Writing in all of California: (1) Westmont College in Santa Barbara and (2) the Claremont University Consortium in the Los Angeles area. In other words, while Associate degrees and Masters degrees in Technical/Professional Writing are easy to find in California, the B.S. or B.A. in Technical/Professional Writing is much more difficult to find. However, this is the degree that first qualifies students for the previously mentioned jobs! Beginning in the fall of 2016, the Writing Department at Woodbury University, where I work as a Writing professor, will offer a B.S. in Professional Writing. Actually, Woodbury University s Professional Writing degree will be offered on the main campus in Burbank/Los Angeles and at the branch campus in San Diego. Also, like other California universities, Woodbury accepts transfer credit from community colleges. But, unlike most universities, Woodbury has a tradition of small class sizes, one- on- one instruction, internships, and entrepreneurship programs, and significant numbers of first- generation college students. Incidentally, U.S. News & World Report ranks Woodbury as No. 1 for having the largest percentage of international students (17%) among top liberal studies institutions in the Western U.S. (qtd. in Woodbury University, n.d.). Finally, the essential qualities for a Writing degree exists in Woodbury s Professional Writing degree in courses with titles like Multimodal Rhetoric and Composition, Authorship Theory, Collaboration and Editing, Freelance Writing, and Digital Magazine Publishing. To conclude, thank you for allowing me to share with you what I have learned about Writing as an undergraduate degree program in California. I hope, you will explore universities websites in California or elsewhere look for writing programs, and choose to major or minor in Writing. But mostly, I hope that if you are really interested in writing and will plan to make a living as a writer. Having taught international and domestic students writing for some years now, I m sure you can do it. Good luck with your plans and with your writing! Sincerely, Rich Matzen, Writing Professor

7 7 References Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: Technical Writers. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from and- communication/technical- writers.htm#tab- 6 California Technical Writers: Schools and Career. (n.d.) CityTownInfo.com. Retrieved from writers/california COC International Students Program. (n.d.). Applicants - Tuition, Fees and Living Expenses Estimates. College of the Canyons. Retrieved from and- fees.aspx COC Financial Aid. (n.d.). Cost of Attendance & Financial Need. College of the Canyons. Retrieved from Meloncon, L. (2009). Analysis of Masters programs in Technical Communication. Technical Communication 56(2), Meloncon, L., & Henschel, S. (2013). Current state of U.S. undergraduate degree programs in technical and professional communication. Technical Communication 60(1), Rich, A. N., & Harner, S. W. (2005). Trends in undergraduate curriculum in scientific and technical communication programs. Technical Communication 52(2), Woodbury University. (n.d.). Woodbury ranked No. 1 by U.S. News in share of international students and no. 48 overall in West. Retrieved from

8 8 ranked- no.- 1- by- u.s.- news- in- share- of- international- students- and- n

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