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Clear Writing through Critical Thinking

Date(s): Feb 06, 2024
Time: 8:00AM - 4:30PM
Registration Fee: $129.00
Cancellation Date: Jan 30, 2024
City: Austin
Parking Info:

Parking for SAO, Professional Development courses is in Garage B (1511 San Jacinto Blvd.). The Garage signage may read 1511 San Jacinto or Garage B. The elevator in Garage B is not reliable. If you are unable to walk the stairs, please contact the for alternate parking arrangements. Handicapped parking is free at the meters around the downtown area.

A course coordinator will Email you a parking permit prior to the course start date. A permit must be displayed or you will be ticketed.

Course Description

This one day course provides essential tools, resources, and practice opportunities to improve professional writing skills.

Potential CPE Credits: 8.0
Govt Hours: This class meets 8.0 hours of the 24-hour requirement for governmental CPE under Government Auditing Standards (yellow book), in most cases.
Technical Hours: This class meets 8.0 CPE credits of technical training in compliance with Texas Admin. Code Rule 523.102.

Instruction Type: Live
Experience Level: BEGINNING
Category: Communications

Course Objectives

After completion of class students will learn to:

  • Establish framework to strengthen writing competence through critical thinking.

  • Employ critical thinking strategies to prepare logical, professional documents. 

  • Choose correct, clear and concise expressions for all written communication.

  • Follow structured process to define purpose, outline key points, and organize content.

  • Edit systematically for clarity, readability, word choice, and mechanics.

Critical Thinking: Foundation for Professional Writing 

  • Define Context and Course Objectives

  • Focus on Results

    • Writing Skills Survey: Current Competency

    • Focus on Critical Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking Strategies for Writing

  •  Identify Criteria for Effective Writing

  • Direct Style: SAO Guidelines

  • Six Characteristics of Professional Documents

  • Application: Document Review

 Master Correct Expression

  •  Grammar and Usage Diagnostic

  • Core Grammar Skills

  • Application:  Practice Exercises

    • Prepare Clear and Concise Documents

    • Guidelines for Clarity and Conciseness

    • Strategies for Cohesive and Coherent Documents

    • Active Voice Refresher

    • Application: Practice Exercises

 Strategic Writing Process for Professional Documents

  • Plan and Prepare Essential Document Components

    • Purpose and Audience Analysis

    • Core Content Assembly and Organization

  • Focus on Challenging Writing Assignments

    • Guidelines for Writing Persuasive and Difficult/Negative News

    • Application: Individual Assignment 

  •  Review and Revise

    •  Edit and Proofread for Accuracy

    • Application: Editing and Proofreading Checklist

Next Steps: Ongoing Plans to Improve Professional Writing Skills


There are no prerequisites for this class. YB 4.23(j)


Jacqueline Mc Carroll

Ms. Mc Carroll has invested over 20 years’ experience developing, delivering, and facilitating formal classroom courses as well as training workshops for government agencies, private industry, and academic institutions. As a seasoned professional, Jackie has successfully engaged course participants from diverse technical, socio-economical, and academic backgrounds. Her courses are highly interactive, with opportunities for participants to practice skills, share knowledge, and pose questions.  As subject matter experts, participants have responsibility for the content they include in documents. With high regard for this individual expertise, Ms. Mc Carroll offers proven guidelines and encourages participants to strengthen their writing by focusing on their readers’ needs as well as the document’s purpose and overall readability.

Additional Information

TAC Rule 523.142(g) requires the CPE Sponsor to monitor individual attendance and assign the correct number of CPE credits. Participants will be asked to document their time of arrival and departure in compliance with this Rule. Additionally, attendance will be monitored throughout the day and CPE certificates will reflect actual attendance of each participant.

If you are making travel plans to come to Austin, we recommend making "refundable" air and hotel reservations or waiting until 14 days before the class to actually book your reservations. Courses are occasionally canceled or rescheduled due to low enrollment. We determine whether a course has enough participants 16 days prior to the course date. If we cancel or reschedule, we will email the participant and his or her billing contact no later than 14 days before the original class date.

Vending machines with Coca-Cola products and various snack items are available. There is also a refrigerator and microwave in our coffee bar area. Feel free to bring in your own drinks and food if you prefer.

You might want to bring a light sweater or jacket, as room temperatures vary.

To see answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, visit