It is commonly said that a person’s first impression lasts the longest. In most situations, whether it is for educational or business purposes, that first impression is usually accomplished in writing. A cover letter for a resume, an application essay to a major university, or a simple inter-office business memorandum can serve as that opportunity for a first impression. It is during these first opportunities that a person must not only be seen as who they are, but who they want to be.

As a returning student presently at Texas A&M University, I never before realized that my ability to write would be evaluated so often. Through applications, essays, research papers, and other continuous writing assignments, I am constantly required to compose my thoughts on paper in each of my classes. English is much like math…If you can not add and subtract, then there is no use in attempting to learn algebra or calculus. Learning basic sentence structure and word usage is a necessity before moving forward in other subjects as well.

Michael D. Douglas, former Georgia Highlands College student, current Texas A&M University / College of Architecture student


A few years ago a speaker at a technology conference asked a question I've never forgotten. She said that she had worked in education all her life and that the material she taught now was totally different from the material taught 25 or 10 or even 3 years ago. So, if the material changes, if the subject matter itself fades or becomes obsolete over time, what's the point?  What lasting information can instructors pass along to students?  What do students need to know to succeed?

I asked myself that question after the speaker completed her presentation, and here's my answer. Students need to learn to:

•Read •Write •Communicate, and •Solve Problems

If a person can do these things, then the person has a great chance of creating a successful professional life. Of course, mathematics helps students learn to solve problems. However, life's problems aren't solved in a vacuum, like a classroom. Life's problems are solved in the real world--a world in which understanding the problem in written form and communicating the problem or its solution to other people are of vital importance.

Brent Griffin, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Georgia Highlands College


"You are only as good as your last memo."  Truer words were never spoken (or written). In any work situation you are judged on how well you communicate. When you cease to communicate, you cease to  exist.

Dr. Harvey H. Jackson, Chair of History and Foreign Language, Jacksonville State University


As a fourth grade teacher, my credibility and professionalism are constantly evaluated by the students and parents I work with. If I can't

speak and write using the proper English I am trying to model and impart to my students, I am an utter fraud.

Terran McCloud Newman, Fourth Grade Teacher, Lorraine Elementary School


As an accountant, I never expected my writing skills to be an important part of my job responsibilities. However, reports to management, as well as our publics, require an extensive amount of writing. In addition, I am called upon to do technical writing of internal accounting procedures and policies for staff and human resources.

Denise W. McCullars, Chief Financial Officer, Dawson Building Contractors, Inc.


For an historian, writing is the lifeblood of what we do. Being able to communicate ideas in clear, concise English, so that people can understand why some historical concept is important to their lives, creates a better understanding of how history connects to the modern world.

Laura Musselwhite, Associate Professor of History, Georgia Highlands College


In my profession as a United States Federal Probation Officer, I have to communicate with Federal Judges, prosecutors, attorneys and many other agencies. I am responsible for providing the Court an accurate independent investigation where i detail the offender’s offense and background information in a pre-sentence report. The Court demands that my reports be clear, concise and accurate. If I did not convey my investigation clearly, I would lose credibility.
David K. Patterson, Probation Officer/Court Investigator, United States District Court


It is a necessity in a professional role to use good grammar when speaking and writing. It has been my experience that respect and promotion are directly correlated with a person’s ability to present himself and his ideas. In nursing, patient teaching and education is a daily expectation. Communication with other health care providers and facilities requires a nurse to logically and succinctly present findings and plans for patient care. Clarity in documentation is a necessity in today’s world of managed health care. Legally if you have not documented observations and treatments they have not been done. A significant portion of a nurse’s day is spent in communicating orally and in writing. English is an extremely important component of the core curriculum.

Barbara B. Rees, DSN, RN, Chair of Health Science and Nursing Program Director, Georgia Highlands College


Written communication is your image. That image is many times the first impression someone has of you and the business you represent. I write correspondence, copy, editorial and emails everyday. In every correspondence I am being persuasive and creating an image in words.

Portraying that image correctly, precisely and eloquently is more important than all of the verbal conversation you could have in your professional career.

Lisa Smith, Tourism Director, Greater Rome Convention & Visitor Bureau


In the business world, clear communication is critical to your company and your career. At my company, we draft product requirements that must be clear to both the engineer designer and those who evaluate the acceptability of the end product.  We analyze and evaluate complex systems and write reports that must be clear and concise for effective use in decision making by our customers. We often write proposals for new business and recommendations for ways to improve existing designs. We give oral briefings on system designs and evaluation results to our customers. Despite the mathematics, physics, computer science, and engineering that we apply to real world problems, we ultimately have to communicate effectively in oral and written forms to be successful.

T. M. Webb, Ph.D., Senior Systems Analyst, Aeronautical Engineer


When people ask me what skills I use most frequently in my work as a collegiate arts administrator, the answer is always a surprise!  My

ability to write and speak well, seemingly unrelated to my art form, are skills which have contributed greatly to my thirty years of success as a teacher and administrator. I use these skills daily; in fact, I use them much more than my knowledge of the arts.

Dr. Alan B. Wingard, Dean, School of the Arts, Shorter College