Courses Taught: Basic Writing, Composition I & II, Technical Communications, Documentation and Presentation, Reading Development, Study Skills
With the exception of the reading and study skills courses, students in Ms. Deana Hueners courses do a lot of writing. In her Basic Writing Ms. Hueners doesn't make basic writing students conduct their own research. Otherwise, students in all her other courses conduct research independently. In ENGL 101, students complete one major research-driven paper. In ENGL 201, all the papers require students to conduct primary and/or secondary research. Projects in ENGL 379 and ENGL 208 also require students to conduct both types of research.
She primarily requires MLA style for writing assignments. ENGL 031-033 and ENGL 101 students use MLA exclusively, whereas ENGL 201 and ENGL 379 students begin with MLA, but may elect to complete assignments in which they can use documentation most appropriate to their fields.
The value of each library database depends upon what topic is being researched. Ms. Hueners currently directs her ENGL 101 students to the general databases in ProQuest and EBSCOHost. By the time students reach ENGL 201, she wants them to be able to use more specialized databases for their fields of study—ERIC for education and ACM Digital for computing. The government web sites and various other organizations' web sites, for example the Society for Technical Communication, offer students good resources.
She primarily teaches academic writing, but prior to her arrival at DSU she has held jobs that required her to complete business writing—letters, memos, and brief reports. She first worked as a respiratory therapist and had to contribute to medical charts, which required a very different writing approach.
The writing Instructor Hueners did in the business world focused on being concise and correct and upon summarizing or describing information. In many cases the substance of her writing was already agreed upon, so the real task became creating a readable style or design. The writing she did in the medical field was quite different. The audience was very small, consisting of only the medical professionals caring for the patient, and the language was highly specialized. Information had to be very brief and very specific. Attention to detail was extremely important as a misplaced period could make the difference between helping or hurting a patient.
Students should know that writing in the workplace matters. Many students seem to believe that they will not have to write on the job; however, technology is changing that likelihood. The negative impression that a poorly-written email message will leave on colleagues or superiors can be very difficult to shake. She says that if students want employers to recognize that they are smart, capable, and worthy to hold a position then they need to demonstrate those attributes. The inability to communicate in writing hurts a person's credibility.
Ms. Hueners believes that "students should also be aware that writing in the workplace is often going to take place at a much faster pace than the writing they have done in college." She may give students two weeks to complete a recommendation memo because that allows her to demonstrate and explain steps in the process, and it provides time for students to receive feedback, revise, and edit the memo—steps which are designed to help a student learn how to write better. She explains that an employer, however, will expect employees to know how to write a memo and how to edit it themselves, and therefore, they will more likely want it completed in two days or two hours rather than two weeks.