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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

May 16, 2017

New professional writing certificate sets Northwest graduates apart

A new 12-credit hour certificate in professional writing offered by the Department of Language, Literature and Writing is teaching students skills used by professional writers.

“Northwest is uniquely situated as an institution that provides graduates with all kinds of intellectual and social development,” Dr. Christopher Strelluf, assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literature and Writing, said. “Part of that is the liberal arts and part of that is meaningful training for success in professional careers. This certificate applies to both sides and teaches students to apply what they have learned in their careers.

Northwest faculty understand a graduate often does not know what they will be doing in 10 years because a job may not currently exist, or responsibilities change. But communicating and writing are part of daily responsibilities.

“We don’t know the specific skills the students will need,” Strelluf said. “However, we know they will need a core set of abilities, and that will differentiate them from graduates from other institutions.”

Students can pursue the certificate while earning their bachelor’s degree. The program focusses on intensive development of critical thinking, research and communication while developing and certifying a set of core skills that students need to assure they are successful when they graduate.

The certificate is designed for students who are not traditional English majors. It gives them opportunities to be greater contributors in their organizations and workforce.

“It can be as simple as emailing a bid to a customer, submitting a proposal for a project, developing a review of a program or writing a memorandum for manager,” Strelluf said. “Fundamentally, this is about writing skills, taking information, processing it and communicating it appropriately.”

Northwest integrates profession-based experiences into the certificate requirements. Students may work on projects such as business proposals for start-up companies, create promotional materials, or collaborate with organizations on brochures, websites and news releases. By applying what they learn in classrooms and receiving feedback from real-word clients, students become more aware and knowledgeable of expectations in their career.

“I am very excited to offer this opportunity to students outside the language, literature and writing department,” Strelluf said. “We want to teach future engineers who recognize they will be more effective engineers when they can communicate with zoning officials. We want to work with computer science majors who recognize that when they write code, they’re also writing to other programmers and to the software’s users.”

The certificate offers a broad set of skills that will complement nearly every major. For more information about the certificate, contact Strelluf at 660.562.1997 or

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468