Skip Navigation

Communicating Policy Seminars

The Writing Center offers seminars in Communicating Policy exclusively for currently enrolled LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate students. Communicating Policy seminars address different types of public affairs writing, including policy memos, op-eds, and grants. 

Spring 2016 Seminar Schedule

The following seminars are subject to change. Keep an eye on the LBJ student listserv for notifications and sign ups.

Learn to Revise Your Own Writing

Friday, January 22 12:15-1:30 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

The single best tool to improve your writing is intentional revision and, chances are, you’re not using it effectively. In this seminar, you’ll learn a systematic approach to revision and practice identifying and revising common writing problems. You will leave with a better understanding of your personal writing challenges and the most effective strategies for addressing them.

** You’ll need to bring a draft of a written assignment – either a full draft for an upcoming assignment, or one you completed last semester that could have been better.


PRP Template Training

Friday, January 29: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

If you’re currently enrolled in a PRP and plan to publish your report in the LBJ Policy Research Project Series, or simply want to ensure your report has a consistent and professional look throughout, come learn how to access and use the LBJ Word-based PRP template.


Public Speaking for Wonks

Date February 12: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

Whether giving testimony for your organization or presenting findings at a meeting or conference, you’ll likely be called on to speak about complex matters to non-specialist audiences. In this seminar you’ll learn best practices for public speaking, including preparation and delivery and you’ll practice translating complex ideas into clear talking points.


Writing and Pitching Op-Eds

Friday, February 19: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

Op-eds can be a vital piece of the policy-making puzzle, garnering public support around complex policy concerns – but translating complicated issues into a style and tone appropriate for popular media outlets can be tricky. Come learn to connect your policy issue to specific public concerns and then convey those connections to a general audience, all in about 750 words. You’ll learn about publication venues for your op-eds and how to pitch to local and national media venues.

Special guest: Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, Executive Director of Public Affairs, UT System


Professional Report Basics (for August and December Graduates)

Friday, March 4: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

If you plan to graduate in summer or fall and are writing a Professional Report, this seminar is required, whether you are registered for PR hours through LBJ or through another department as part of a dual degree. You’ll meet other PR writers and learn basic information for successfully completing the project, using the PR template, and meeting required deadlines. 


Difficult Communications

Friday, April 15: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

In policy work, you’ll sometimes have to navigate disagreement, conflict, and opposing philosophies. When this happens, you need more than good data and good intentions.  In this seminar, you’ll learn an approach to difficult communications that can help structure your written and verbal responses in tough situations. You’ll work through several scenarios and practice positioning yourself and structuring your response so that you’re more than just right – you’re effective.


Telling Stories with Data

Thursday, April 21: 12:15-1:45 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

You’ve done the research and analyzed the results. But do your charts and figures really tell the story you want them to tell? Is there a more compelling visual way to present your findings? In this seminar you’ll evaluate different visual representations of data and discuss the theory and practice of incorporating visual elements into your policy reports.