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MEMORANDUM

TO: ELIZABETH MCCLURE


FROM: SARAH LEE
SUBJECT: PROJECT PROPOSAL MEMO
DATE: MARCH 27, 2017
CC: ENGL394

Problem

Imagine that you are baking banana bread. You have all the ingredients necessary to bake the most

flavorful, moist banana bread but you realize that there is something wrong with the oven. You

already combined all the wet and dry ingredients but because of the defective oven, the banana

bread cannot be baked. Like any task, preparing and planning is crucial for success. Even though

you had the perfect recipe, that recipe will never be complete without tools to bring it to life.

The communications major at the University of Maryland requires all of its students to enroll in one

structural analysis of language course. Structural analysis of language courses, popularly known as

Linguistics, study language and its structuresyntax, phonetics, and semantics. According to

business psychologist, Niket Karajagi, linguistics is a powerful skill that adds tremendous

convincing ability in our communication, (Karajagi). A journal published by the National Council

of Teachers of English noted that communications often fail because they fail to emphasize speech

and composition techniques, (Communications). As a communications major, studying and

understanding the structure of the English language is imperative in improving writing, speech and

communication skills.

However, the enrollment in these language courses is very limited and often difficult to enroll in for

many underclassmen. For instance, HESP120 has only two classes and is open to only 4 students

this upcoming fall semester. Although LING200 has 4 open classes with 30 students per class for

this upcoming fall semester, from my personal experience, it becomes very difficult when competing
with other Linguistics and communications majors who are also enrolling in similar classes. For

junior and senior communications majors, this is problematic for numerous reasons. If they are

unable to fulfill the language requirement early on, they will not be able to graduate on time. In

addition, communications is a writing intensive major and by learning Linguistics early on, it can

significantly improve ones writing and speech skills. However, enrolling in such classes as an

underclassman is almost impossible due to their late registration dates. The School of

Communications here at Maryland should allow higher enrollment in these language courses and

allocate certain courses to communications majors only.

Connection

As a rising senior communications major, this issue is extremely concerning because for the past

three semesters, I was unable to enroll in any language courses. Similarly, my fellow communications

peers have encountered same issue. After initial research, I realized just how important and

beneficial studying linguistics can be and the fact that I missed out on such opportunities due to a

mere late class registration date is absurd. Now, I wonder how different my writing and speech skills

would be if I had the opportunity to take a linguistics courses during my freshmen and/or

sophomore year.

If the University of Maryland and the School of Communications earnestly wants their students to

excel in all aspects of communications, change is required. For rising seniors who are preparing to

graduate, this issue also causes stress and anxiety. It would be unfortunate to delay graduation

because one failed to fulfill one course enrollment.

Audiences

The primary audience for this final project will be Erica Mudd, the College of Arts and Humanities

development coordinator at the University of Maryland. Because the linguistics minor is under the

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Arts and Humanities department, any form of action must begin at the core. Thus, the final project

must appeal to and propose viable solutions that work alongside the College of Arts and Humanities

program policies and academic curriculum. As the departments coordinator, Mudd is responsible for

overseeing developments and curriculum changes within the department.

The secondary audience will be TC Anthony, the undergraduate program coordinator for the

Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. As the program coordinator,

Anthony oversees developments and curriculum changes within the four different tracks of the

communication major.

The tertiary audience for the final project will be communications majors at the University of

Maryland who have not enrolled in a structured analysis of language course yet. I believe that many

of this primary audience will consist of many upperclassmen who have encountered issues due to

the enrollment cap in many of the structured analysis of language courses. In addition, these

members will be involved in numerous communication, marketing, PR internships and have

extensive knowledge in writing and communications practices. The solutions presented through this

project will allow members of this audience to improve their communications skills and help prepare

them for their future careers.

Research Description

First and foremost, my final project will briefly discuss the importance of studying structural analysis

language courses and how it provides practical applications in various career fields. How can

linguistics be used in various career fields? International business? Social work? STEM fields?

Government? Because my audiences already understand and accept the value of structured analysis

of language courses, there is no need to delve deep into researching the benefits of structured

analysis of language courses on communication majors.

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Next, I must conduct my own research through surveys and personal interviews of communications

majors at the University of Maryland. I would conduct different interviews of students who have

and have not taken a structured analysis of language course. For students that have already taken the

structured analysis of language course, I would ask them whether or not they encountered any

difficulties when registering for those classes and if they deliberately chose to take the course during

their underclassmen or upperclassmen years. Also, I would ask them about their experiences in the

structured analysis of language course and if they feel that those courses have improved their writing

and communications skills. Interviewing students who have already fulfilled the linguistics

requirement will allow me to gauge the effectiveness of the linguistics courses available at the

University of Maryland and will provide necessary information to help me propose viable solutions

to the issue at hand. For students who have not taken a structured analysis of language course, I

would ask them why they have not taken a course yet. I would also ask them if they are aware of the

structured analysis of language courses available at the University of Maryland and if they

understand the purpose of linguistics in a communications field. These interviews will reveal reasons

as to why students, upperclassmen in particular, have not yet enrolled in a structured analysis of

language course. It will provide me with unique, individual perspectives of students that I would not

find in empirical research and/or interviews with faculty and staff members at the Department of

Communications and School of Arts and Humanities.

After interviewing students, I plan to interview both Erica Mudd and TC Anthony as well as

advisors in the School of Communications and the College of Arts and Humanities based off of the

responses I get from the student interviews. In order for the department interviews to go smoothly

and effectively, I must ensure that the student interviews get conducted in a timely manner. In

addition, conducting department interviews will provide accurate and credible information on the

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communications major and its various major requirements. For instance, I will ask: why is linguistics

required for the communications major? Have students struggled enrolling in the past? Has there

been incidents where students could not graduate on time because they failed to meet the linguistics

requirement? Are those incidents rare? Through these interviews, I hope to uncover the logistical

reasons behind the low enrollment caps in the numerous linguistic courses and observational

information from faculty members. I also hope that faculty members will be able to direct me to the

universitys database regarding course enrollment for the previous years.

I believe that the most substantial information and data will come from my own personal surveys

and interviews. I will also reference scholarly journals, newspaper articles, and valid academic

sources regarding this topic.

Working Bibliography

Williams, Joanna R. Intercultural Communication Studies. Vol. 24. International Association for

Intercultural Communication Studies, 2015. Print.

Akmajian, Adrian, Richard A. Demers, Ann K. Farmer, and Robert M. Harnish. Linguistics: An

Introduction to Language and Communication. 5th ed. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001. Print.

Carroll, John B. "Communication Theory, Linguistics, and Psycholinguistics." Review of Educational

Research 28 (1958): 79-88. Jstor. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Chen, Stephen, Ronald Geluykens, and Chong Ju Choi. "The Importance of Language in Global

Teams: A Linguistic Perspective." Management International Review 46.6 (2006): 679-96. Jstor.

Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

"Communications." College Composition and Communication 17 (1996): 181-82. Jstor. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Hultzen, Lee S. "Communication in Linguistics." American Speech 28 (1953): 3-11. Jstor. Web. 27 Mar.

2017.

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Karajagi, Niket. "Linguistics - A Soft Skill for Effective Communication." LinkedIn. 15 Feb. 2016.

Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

"Linguistic Communication." Languages and Linguistics. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

Macaulay, Monica, and Kristen Syrett. "Why Major in Linguistics?" Linguistic Society of America. Web.

27 Mar. 2017.

Sapir, E. "The Status of Linguistics as a Science." Language 5 (1929): 207-14. Jstor. Web. 27 Mar.

2017.

Proposed Schedule

Task Due Date

Primary Research Friday 3/31/17

Student Interviews (2-4) Thursday 4/6/17

Student Surveys Friday 4/7/17

Faculty Interviews (1-2) Friday 4/7/17

Annotate Interview Transcripts Monday 4/10/17

Graph Survey Findings Monday 4/10/17

Rough Draft Tuesday 5/2/17

Draft Revisions & Edits Tuesday 5/9/17

Final Tuesday 5/16/17