Fall 2022 - 60815 - 387W - WRITING FOR GLOBAL POLICY



This course, a requirement for all students pursuing the Master of Global Policy Studies degree, aims to develop the written and oral communication skills necessary for policy professionals by focusing on the various genres of writing and briefing that LBJ School graduates may be called upon to produce. The class is built around weekly assignments that allow students to try their hand at specific types of policy documents and briefing styles, to which the instructor and the teaching assistant will offer substantial and personalized constructive criticism. We begin by exploring—and putting into practice—some fundamental principles of good writing: clarity, conciseness, persuasiveness, and audience awareness. These first few weeks also serve to inculcate good habits of peer review, in which students will be required to engage throughout the course. The class then turns to the challenges of communicating within organizations, drafting various types of internal documents about the same international subject, with the aims of informing, analyzing, and recommending policy. This section asks students to produce mock memos and briefings as used in US government agencies. Finally, we confront the difficulties of advocacy: how can one effectively explain complex policy questions to the public, to the media, and to non-experts? Students pick their own non-governmental organization to represent, producing documents that frame problems, suggest solutions, and actively advocate for policy changes. The reading load is fairly light, but students are expected to spend substantial amounts of time drafting, re-drafting, editing, re-editing, polishing, and re-polishing their assignments. Although we may touch upon some recurring grammar problems, this is not a remedial course. Its aim is to ensure that students understand and apply basic principles of policy-oriented composition and style. Some assignments need to be completed during class time, to mimic the time pressure frequently faced by policy professionals.

Instruction Mode