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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. 


Fall 2014 Seminar Schedule

Writing the Policy Memo

Friday, August 29: 12:15-1:30 pm — SRH 3.124

This seminar will cover key elements of the policy memo, including the recommended formatting and writing style. Participants will examine different approaches to the policy memo and evaluate their effectiveness. We will discuss strategies for writing clear, concise memos.


Public Policy Writing Panel

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

Angela Evans, Lorinc Redei, and Sasha West will discuss what public policy writing is: how does it differ from writing in other fields? what makes it good? where do writers fail? This should be a great introduction for those coming from other fields of study  or work.


Ethical Research and Writing Seminar

Friday, October 3: 12:15-1:30 pm— SRH 3.314/3.355

You should attend this seminar if:

  • You’ve never had training on what plagiarism means on the graduate level and/or in an academic setting.
  • You're an international student (since countries’ laws on plagiarism and cultural practices around source use vary widely).
  • You don’t know how to test paraphrasing to see if it’s sufficient to avoid charges of plagiarism.
  • You don’t know what fair usage is or how to determine if you’re following fair use laws.
  • You're not sure how to cite sources.
  • You want to know how your research process and techniques can help make citation and avoiding plagiarism easier.


MANDATORY FOR PR WRITERS: Introduction to the Professional Report for May 2015 Graduates

Friday, October 10: 12:15-1:30 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

You should attend if you are planning to graduate in May 2015 and are writing a Professional Report. This is for all students completing the PR, whether you are registered for PR hours through LBJ or through another department as part of a dual degree. This session will introduce resources for completing the PR and will allow members of the PR cohort to meet each other. The session will cover basic information for successfully completing the PR, using the PR template, and meeting PR deadlines.


PR/PRP Template Training

Friday, October 24: 12:15-1:30 pm—SRH 3.314/3.355

Bob Penman from the Office of Graduate Studies will train you on how to use the OGS template for your Professional Report. The second half of the session will focus on the updates to this template that you will use for your PRP sections if your director is pursuing publication through the LBJ PRP Series.


Group Writing: Successful Writing for the PRP and Other Group Projects

Friday, October 31: 12:15-1:30 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

You should attend this seminar if you are enrolled in a PRP this year. The seminar will help you navigate and avoid the common problems of group writing projects. By training you to be able to identify the factors and choices that shape a “voice” in writing, the seminar will prepare you and your group to decide what kind of collective voice you will be using. This will make drafting, collating, and editing much easier.

Learning how to identify and use a collective voice will also help you in the professional world. You might be called upon to be the voice for an agency, foundation, or individual. Collective voice techniques can be applied to everything from speeches, diplomatic cables, and annual reports to blogs, tweets, and correspondence.


5 Research Tools Every Public Affairs Student Needs & How to Write a Literature Review

Friday, November 14: 12:15-1:30 pm — SRH 3.314/3.355

Head Librarian, Access Services & Public Affairs Librarian Stephen Littrell has put together a comprehensive, nimble portal for research in public affairs. Come and learn how best to use the research tools he has compiled. A librarian will teach you strategies and review resources. This is a vital seminar for anyone who has not yet conducted in-depth, graduate-level research in public affairs.

In addition, this seminar will offer guidelines for drafting literature reviews. We will discuss how research strategies can make drafting of lit reviews easier.