Audience analysis ” a message from the university chair”

We have spent class time talking about the importance of audience to a writer when trying to create an effective message. You have some new skills in your “bank” to help you understand how to address audience concerns, analyze who they are and figure out what they need from a document in order to be compelled to act.

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Assignment #2 A asks you to combine that knowledge into a short document in which you explain how a writer uses specific information about an audience to encourage them to read and act. Your assignment is to be done in class in groups.

Please read below for details about what you are doing and how you should begin your work.

Some Background on the Assignment

Here is  an e-mail message that went out to the Marymount community last semester (Fall 2017) . The purpose of the message is to inform the university-wide community about President Shank.

The audience is faculty, full and part time, staff and students at Marymount University. The writer does an excellent job of connecting with this audience after a careful analysis of their needs and concerns and developing effective Reader Benefits throughout the message.

Your Goal: Analyze the Writer’s Approach to this Audience

What I want you to do in this assignment is to explain how the writer accomplished the difficult job of announcing the departure of Dr. Shank, president of Marymount University and the situation going forward.

Basically, you are going to write an analysis of the writer’s approach. You should take care to use terms and concepts in your analysis that we have discussed in the last few weeks. Specifically, I want you to analyze the following:

  1. Who is this audience? Provide a brief audience analysis of your own using any of the strategies we have discussed so far.
  2. What evidence in the message indicates that the writer knows who the readers and what their interests are? What do you see the writer doing to connect with this audience?
  3. How does the writer incorporate Reader Benefits to inform in the message?

Please limit your assignment to one page. Remember to single space your paragraphs!

Good morning,  

One of the most difficult duties I have had as board chair was to accept a request from Dr. Matthew D. Shank that we not extend his contract and allow him to step down as president of Marymount University on June 30, 2018. Although he had our unanimous support for a new contract, the board and I respect his decision to do what he feels is best for Marymount and for him at this stage of his career. We can all be grateful for his strategic choice of this time when, because of the success it has achieved and the strength it has gained, Marymount is well-positioned for a leadership transition. Dr. Shank has the option of taking a year’s leave and then joining Marymount’s School of Business Administration in the fall of 2019 as a professor of marketing.  

The selection of a president is the board’s greatest responsibility, and search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates will help us begin that process soon. Dr. Shank has given us the gift of time by letting us know of his decision so far in advance. We will be deliberate and thoughtful in our process but will move with appropriate speed to have a successor in office by July 1. I do not anticipate that we will need to appoint an interim president.  

Dr. Shank means more to Marymount than I can adequately express in this brief message. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his vision and leadership in the implementation of our strategic plan and development of a new master plan, the momentum of our $40 million capital campaign, the growth of our academic programs and facilities, enhancement of our reputation, strengthening of our athletic programs and so much more.     

At a future date, we will publicly celebrate the contributions and legacy of Dr. and Mrs. Shank and their family. For today, we simply say thank you for a job very well done and pledge our continued support as we work together to achieve our goals for this academic year and beyond.  


Edward H. Bersoff Chair, Board of Trustees

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