The transition from student to professional: A pedagogy of professionalism for first -year composition
JoAnn Hackos describes professionalism as an "elusive but essential skill" needed for today's technical communicators. This skill is required for all fields and is one that the university can and should integrate into college curricula. First-year composition is one area of academic study where the topic of professionalism can be integrated into course and program goals. A course that typically prepares students to become academics more so than professionals, first-year composition often services students who are less enthusiastic about writing and who find its subject matter unmotivating. In this dissertation, I argue that such a course provides an ideal space from which to begin preparing students of multiple academic majors and professional tracks to think and act like professionals in their fields.
Utilizing a qualitative research study of the effects of classroom design on student motivation, in this dissertation, I explore how accounting for Future Time Perspective in composition courses both positively and negatively influences students' motivation for writing. I also examine the implications of course design on student motivation as it relates to their academic and professional preparation. As a result of analyzing students' experiences as articulated in written assignments, I introduce a pedagogy of professionalism for first-year composition, one that helps students learn to identify as professionals and prepares them to become academic and professional writers. By drawing on research in student motivation, situated learning, process and post-process writing theory and professionalism studies, I provide a framework for classroom instruction that helps provide students with that essential sense of professionalism required for success in both academic and professional (non-academic) contexts.