Spring 2022  |  PA 8082 Section 001: Professional Paper-Writing Seminar (66728)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
A-F or Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Enrollment Requirements:
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/18/2022 - 05/02/2022
Wed 08:15AM - 11:00AM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 170
Enrollment Status:
Closed (14 of 14 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Facilitates completion of research paper on current issues in public policy, management, and science, technology and environment. Students apply interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives studied in core courses. Written report includes analysis of issue, policy recommendations. All topics accepted. Plan A students welcome. prereq: completion of core courses, or instr consent
Class Notes:
Class Description:
Course objective: to help 2nd+ year masters students finish high-quality, well-written individual Professional Papers or Plan A Papers by the end of the semester.

This seminar provides a supportive environment in which students can make regular progress on papers, but it does not dictate how that should happen. The seminar avoids a one-size-fits-all approach to paper-writing. There does not exist one correct series of tasks to produce an excellent paper. Different projects require quite different starting points and different processes.
Who Should Take This Class?:
Required for Humphrey masters students writing professional papers in Spring semester. Space permitting, PhD students may join the group to write dissertation papers.
Learning Objectives:
Graduate school is a time when students are expected to gain substantial knowledge about topics within their areas of expertise and demonstrate their ability to conduct analysis of such topics. Conceptualizing, planning, producing, and polishing a professional paper or Plan A thesis not only train students how to do a substantial in-depth study but also demonstrates this ability to future employers. Other objectives of this seminar include (1) improved writing skills and (2) improved ability to give feedback to others.
Students who complete each requirement for each week, in a timely manner, will get an A
or A- in the class. The two hardest things to do are (1) make progress each and every week; and (2) give high-quality feedback to your classmates.
Exam Format:
No exams.
Class Format:
In-person seminar format.
Students are expected to:

Attend every meeting of the seminar. Anyone who cannot attend due to illness should contact the instructor via email before class begins. Unexcused absences and systematic lateness will lower your grade.

Complete assigned reading, such as Howard Becker's Writing for Social Scientists (which is fun reading, believe it or not, as well as being useful). Because you will be reading extensively in the area of your paper topic, I assign relatively little additional reading - but I expect you to do it before the class for which it is assigned. We will discuss assigned reading in class.

Report-in at each class. Questions asked each week include: What goals did you have for today? Did you meet them or not? What are reasonable goals for next week? Are those goals consistent with your work plan for the semester?

Post a each week, including brief responses to the reporting-in questions; expect to elaborate on them in class. Consider bringing the draft version of next week's worksheet to class for your own notes.

Post your latest (an outline, some written pages, a table, a figure, etc.) for volunteers who will give you feedback on them.

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">• Review short drafts (e.g., outlines, text, tables, figures) and provide high-quality mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
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mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">for 1 or 2 other students (which ones will be decided in class), before the next meeting, with a goal of making supportive suggestions and clarifying edits.

Give verbal feedback to group members at each meeting, including questions and suggestions.

In one class, make a brief (2 minute) presentation summarizing the most important points in the assigned reading(s), and lead a short discussion about them. I will help to lead the discussion, but you should think of two questions or issues that would be helpful to discuss as a group.

Make regular and substantial progress on professional papers. Doing no work on the paper for three weeks then working hard for one week is unacceptable. Effort is expected to be regular, even if progress is sporadic. Sporadic effort will lower your grade even if the final product is good.• Produce grammatically correct writing. If you have trouble with grammar, you will need to ask someone to help you make corrections. Your classmates will help you to some extent if you ask them, but typically not enough to catch all the problems. You may need to get help from someone outside of class. UM's Center for Writing may be of assistance: http://writing.umn.edu/sws/index.htm, but they will not edit your paper for you. They will help you learn how to write better, however.
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
31 October 2021

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