of Darold Leigh Henson, Ph.D.,
Professor Emeritus of English at Missouri State University

Career Summary

 In 1994 I retired after teaching English for 30 years at Pekin Community High School in Pekin, Illinois.  During that time, I earned master's and doctor's degrees and taught part time at Illinois Central College in East Peoria.  From 1986-1993 I was a part-time professional writer, editor, consultant, and partner in a technical publications company.  In that work, I learned much about professional writing through business activity.  I also taught myself how to use graphic elements in writing and how to write marketing and advertising material for industrial, high-tech, and business-to-business products and services.  In 1994 I came to Missouri State to design and teach undergraduate and graduate courses in technical communication.

Core Beliefs About Teaching

      Universities expect tenured faculty to conduct research and publish it through prestigious sources; design and teach undergraduate and graduate courses; and perform service to their respective departments, colleges, universities, and professions.  Of these responsibilities, I consider teaching to be the most important.

        My efforts to improve instructional design are driven by my understanding of the conditions necessary for learning. These conditions include the need for meaningful and significant course purpose and content, clear explanation of expectations, examples of desirable performance, opportunities for students to receive feedback, and grading that identifies specific problems and solutions to give direction for better performance.

        Technical writing is inherently meaningful to students because they readily understand that their expertise will be judged by the quality of their writing. They also realize that writing as a thinking process can enable them to apply their expertise to solve problems and perform tasks effectively. The particular knowledge and skills emphasized in a given course are delineated as learner objectives in each of my course policy and procedure statements.

         Memberships:  Society for Technical Communication (senior member) and Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.

Courses Taught

     A note about course descriptions, policies, and procedures published here:  these reflect present (or perhaps past) course content.  I continually re-evaluate course content and often revise from one semester to another.  Thus, you may take a course that is somewhat different from the one whose description presently appears.  Yet, the differences will not be radical.

English 321, Writing II: Beginning Technical Writing

     15 Reasons to Enroll in English 321, Writing II: Beginning Technical Writing

     Anonymous Students' Testimonials to English 321

    English 321 Course Policy and Procedures  (spring, 2006)  (MS Word DOC file)

English 600, Problems and Methods of Research in Technical Communication
(Note:  This section is designed for MA students in Professional/Technical Communication.)

     Anonymous Testimonials to English 600.302

     English 600 Course Description, Policy. & Procedures

English 626, Issues in Rhetoric/Professional &Technical Writing:  Web Site Design & Development

     This course serves graduate students of any program at Missouri State and accommodates students at any level of computer skill.  Students in this course will experience collaborative learning about such computer technology as FrontPage (or Dreamweaver), Photoshop for graphics editing, and FTP.  The full scope of Web design and development will be covered--definition of Web site purpose, scope, organization, navigation, screen design and layout, graphics creation and editing, online publication, and site promotion.

    English 626 Course Policy and Procedure (fall, 2004)

     English 626 Schedule of Assignments (fall, 2004)

English 675, Designing Technical Documents

     Reasons to Enroll in Designing Technical Documents

     English 675 Course Policy and Procedure (2005 version; current version distributed in class)

     See an annotated diagram of The Rhetorical Context and Process of  Professional/Technical Communication (being expanded and reformatted as of 4-07)

Other courses taught are English 377, Technical and Scientific Editing; English 421, Advanced Technical Writing; and English 626, Issues in Rhetoric/Composition (special section on technical copywriting).  


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