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SEng Seminar Series: Techniques for Excellent Writing with Stephen Wilbers

Date of Event: 
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Location: 
3-230 Keller Hall
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All Software Engineering Industrial Seminars are open to the public.

Title: Techniques in Excellent Writing

Speaker: Stephen Wilbers

Presented by the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center

Abstract: Stephen Wilbers’ fast-paced, lively, and entertaining writing workshop will empower you to write with more confidence, recognize patterns of wordiness, edit for clarity and emphasis, avoid common errors that undermine your credibility, proofread effectively, and use a three-step approach to organize your messages.

More specifically, you will learn how to:

  1. Apply three concepts of effective communication to write with more confidence
  2. Plan, organize, and review your work according to five components of writing
  3. Assess your command of the rules of language in three areas (word choice, grammar, and punctuation) on a 15-point scale to see (anonymously) how your score compares to thousands of other writers who have taken the same assessment
  4. Use five editing techniques to write with greater clarity and emphasis (and work on applying 47 additional techniques over time)
  5. Simplify your sentences by using appropriate word choice
  6. Eliminate the three most common writing errors (and work on eliminating 75 common errors in punctuation, grammar, word choice, and numbers usage over time)
  7. Proofread effectively to avoid errors that might undermine your credibility, making multiple passes through a document and moving systematically from larger to smaller issues
  8. Devise a plan to continue improving your writing skills over time by setting reasonable goals and taking the first step right away.

Bio: Stephen Wilbers is an award-winning author who has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 business, technical, legal, and academic writers. His 1,000 columns on effective writing appeared in publications across the country, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, his home newspaper.

He currently teaches written and oral presentation skills in the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership, and he has taught in the University’s Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. In 1995 he won an Outstanding Faculty Award in Hamline University’s Graduate Public Administration Program.

Stephen earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He spent his junior year in the Vanderbilt-in-France program, and he was a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. At the University of Minnesota, he led the effort to recognize American Sign Language as “a complete and natural language” that is grammatically and culturally distinct from English. He also served both as associate and acting director of the University’s Program in Creative and Professional writing.

An avid reader, canoeist, cyclist, Nordic ski racer, opera lover, pianist, and two-time skydiver, he has published books, including Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style, which is a compilation of 52 writing techniques drawn from his ,free monthly writing tips. His current writing projects include a wildly romantic love story that offers writing instruction in the form of a novel titled Who Knows Where the Redbird Sleeps: A Grammatical Affair!?

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