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WRTC Graduate Student Alumni Show Amazing Career Outcomes


 
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According to the analytics and polling company, Gallup, Inc., “the ultimate measure of an institution’s success is whether its alumni succeed in work and life.” Since its founding in 2008, the graduate program in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication (WRTC) has sought to provide graduate students with applied and interdisciplinary learning opportunities that translate directly to professional jobs and/or further graduate study. This year, the WRTC graduate program underwent its first alumni employment analysis, successfully collecting current employment information from 92% of former graduate students.

According to Dr. Traci Zimmerman, Academic Unit Head for the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication and Interim Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Letters, the data confirmed what she suspected: WRTC graduate alumni show impressive career outcomes across a wide variety of industries and institutions of higher education.  “By incorporating both academic work and real-world experience within our curriculum, we have provided a framework for students to gain the professional competence and personal confidence that equips them to be quick studies and substantive contributors in the ever-changing workplace.”

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Not surprisingly, the largest industry sector represented by graduate alumni is Writing/Instructional Design (25%). This category includes professional writing, communications, instructional design and editing positions. Jobs in information technology (IT) (17%) made up the second largest employment category and included jobs in web and digital content development, technical writing and project management. Jobs in the fields of science, engineering and healthcare (14%) tied with jobs in education and teaching (14%) for third. Sixty percent of WRTC graduate alumni work in Virginia and 11% in Washington, D.C., showing the high rate of employability in the local area, although WRTC graduate alumni are also employed as far away as Hawaii, Canada, Ireland and France.

Having a strong alumni network has helped the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication keep a finger on the pulse of employment across a range of industries interested in hiring graduates. WRTC alumni serve as alumni council members and mentors to current students and often reach back with opportunities for internships and employment in the organizations they work for. Alumna Emily Knapp (MA, ’18) states, “My courses, my assistantship, and the faculty that I met during my time in WRTC expanded my mind and gave me the skills to land a job that I love. I will carry what I have learned with me throughout the rest of my career.”

For more information about the Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication Master’s Degree Program, visit www.jmu.edu/wrtc/graduate.

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Published: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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