Instructor: Geoffrey Sauer (
Office: 433 Ross Hall
Office Hours: 1:00 - 3:30 pm, W, and by appointment
Cell: (515) 441-1461
Classroom: Ross 420

For Thursday, April 28th:
Finish your paper. Bring one printed copy to class, and submit it also via an e-mail attachment, for submission to The Orange Journal.
Prepare one dish for the potluck, at 6p.m., at 907 Clark Ave.


This graduate course will study theoretical constructs and issues that inform workplace professional communication. Inherently a multi-disciplinary activity, professional comm-unication draws on theories from fields as different as rhetoric and science, psychology and philosophy, sociology and linguistics. This term we will focus specifically on rhetoric, on the relationships between author, text and reader, and on philosophies of science and language as they apply to workplace practice. The purpose of this seminar is to explore relevant theories in sufficient depth and detail to do justice to their complexity, and, at the same time to examine their applicability to professional communication. Students will be expected to comprehend and challenge these theories on their own terms as well as to understand their value for the interpretation and transfer of information. Such understand-ing is crucial to intelligent decisions in professional practice; it allows the communicator to look beyond surface issues and see essential problems and possible solutions. Theoretical knowledge of the field distinguishes the professional from the practitioner.


Miscellaneous articles may be found here on the course website for students with the valid username and password.


Because this class is a discussion-based course, it is important that you attend class on a regular basis in order to keep up with what's going on. I understand that things come up during the semester, and therefore I allow three (3) unexcused absence -- that's all. Each absence beyond that will reduce your final grade 5 points. More than six (6) absences during the semester will result in automatic failure.


During class, you must show evidence that you have read the textbook assignments by being able to discuss them intelligently in class. You will also be expected to lead several of our class discussions during the semester based on a rotation system I will explain later.

Academic Honesty

Unless you are working with others on a collaborative assignment, the work you turn in for this class must be your own. If you use others' work without crediting them, you will receive a failing grade for the assignment, and most likely for the course. While you certainly can ask for feedback from others, you should not allow anyone to write any part of your assignment for you. For further information, see the ISU Student Handbook's discussion of academic dishonesty.