English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center

Needs Assessment: Department of Economics

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Needs Assessment: Department of Economics

We know that academic and professional communities communicate in distinctive ways–indeed, the recognition of diversity in preferred communication genres across groups is a key tenet in both research and teaching in the field of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). As such, understanding and addressing the communication needs of students and scholars who are learning to master the key genres in their chosen areas of study and work requires context-specific inquiry, to generate systematic understanding of the genres, both written and spoken, that are characteristic of their specific departmental and/or professional cultures. 

Working in this vein, EPPIC has partnered with Penn State’s Department of Economics to research the specific language needs of multilingual Economics doctoral students who are preparing for the job market.  What are the key genres of academic communication that most determine job candidates’ success in Economics, and how do experts in the field enact and define ‘best practices’ in these target genres? 

Findings from this research-based needs analysis serve as the foundation for the development and delivery of tailored services that include workshop series and individual consultations centered on the high-stakes academic and professional genres that Economics students must master for the job search.  These EPPIC-ECON services were first implemented in Fall 2017 and are ongoing.  Research data from this project was presented at the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference in 2018, and is currently being analyzed for publication.