General Business houses the foundational instructional teams—Business Communications and Business Law—that operate outside of traditional departments.

Business Communication

Recruiters consistently rank strong communication skills as one of the most important factors in hiring. Managers rank communication competence highly in promotion decisions. The Business Communication professionals at WSB help prepare students for the demands of the workplace by developing their writing, listening, collaborative, and presentation skills. We are a close-knit group that meets frequently, makes most decisions via consensus, and shares teaching materials.

Our Instructors

Laurel Bastian

Laurel Bastian

BA, MFA
Senior Lecturer
laurel.bastian@wisc.edu

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Dominique Bourg Hacker

BA, MA, PhD
Lecturer
bourg@wisc.edu

Melanie Hoftyzer

Melanie K. Hoftyzer

Director of Business Communications
BA, MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer
melanie.hoftyzer@wisc.edu

Amanda Kenny

Amanda D. Kenny

BA, MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer
amanda.kenny@wisc.edu

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Frances Laskey

BA, MA, MA
Lecturer
frances.laskey@wisc.edu

Mark Lindquist

Mark Lindquist

BA, PhD
Senior Lecturer
malindquist@wisc.edu

Elizabeth (Bess) Malson-Huddle

Elizabeth (Bess) Malson-Huddle

BA, MFA, MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer
erhuddle@wisc.edu

David Ward

David A. Ward

BA, M.Ed., MA, PhD
Senior Lecturer
david.a.ward@wisc.edu

Course Offerings

GB300

GB300, a required course in communication for all BBA students. Instructors collaborate on designing assignments, developing activities, and improving all aspects of the course. Sections share common assignments, course policies, major due dates, and learning outcomes, and use common rubrics. At the end of the semester, one third of each student’s final grade is determined through a blind grading process, where instructors grade portfolios submitted by students they did not teach.

Blind portfolio grading mimics a common workplace situation where the ultimate audience for written work may be unknown. In addition, blind grading ensures that students are evaluated only on the basis of the assignment criteria. In general, blind grading is recognized as a fair process used extensively in U.S. law schools.

Students develop their writing skills during the semester through a workshop process, which provides opportunities for students to develop skills in giving, receiving, and incorporating constructive criticism, while continuously revising their own written work.

Additionally, students receive guidance and practice developing listening skills throughout the course and deliver formal and informal presentations.

GB320

GB320, a popular elective focused on cross-cultural communication. Students in Intercultural Communication in Business develop stronger cultural competence by applying models of cross-cultural communication theory. This theory helps them become flexible, reflective, and strategic communicators who can work effectively with diverse groups and individuals.

The course structure emphasizes case studies, simulations, written reflections, structured discussion and dialogue, short lectures, practical research assignments, and student-led presentations.

Additional Instructional Activities

Communication Coaching in the Full-Time MBA Program

MBA communications coaches offer strategic support in business writing and presentations. Coaches offer informational sessions on business writing and cover letters as well as provide presentation support and targeted feedback on major team projects.

Current coaches:

  • Frances Laskey
  • Elizabeth (Bess) Malson-Huddle

Consulting with Colleagues on Best Practices for Writing Instruction

Instructors assist other teaching staff members with writing-focused assignments, rubrics, and supporting materials. Contact Melanie Hoftyzer for more information.

Providing Resources on Key Business Communication Topics

Resources cover a range of subjects from effective email practices to slide design tips.