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  • Stephen A. Bernhardt
    Professor Emeritus
    Andrew B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., Chair in Writing
    University of Delaware
    Department of English
    Newark, DE 19716


    Dr. Stephen A. Bernhardt is the Andrew B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., Chair in Writing and Professor of English at University of Delaware, where he teaches technical and business communication at all levels and works to build a culture of writing on campus. His book Writing at Work: Professional Writing Skills for People on the Job (McGraw Hill, 1997) is a practical book for working writers who desire to improve their grammar and style (co-authored with Edward L. Smith). Expanding Literacies: English Teaching and the New Workplace (co-edited with Mary Sue Garay, SUNY, 1998) looks at the transformation of English teaching in high schools and colleges. His newest book, Writer’s Help, is a browser-based Web reference from Bedford/St. Martin’s. It is in use on many campuses across the country.

    Professor Bernhardt is widely published in leading journals, with research interests centering on visual rhetoric, medical writing, computers and writing, workplace training and development, and the teaching of scientific and technical communication. He is Past President of both the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) and the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW); he is also on the Editorial Board of Technical Communication Quarterly and the Journal of Business and Technical Communication. As consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, he has helped such companies as Pfizer, Schering-Plough, GlaxoSmithKline, and AstraZeneca design large documentation sets, use global teams and technologies, deliver training programs, and improve written communication as a part of new drug development and registration.


  • Ph.D., English and Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1981
  • M.Ed., English Education, Northern Illinois University, 1974
  • B.A., Philosophy, University of Illinois, 1971

Research Projects 

  • Integrated Science and Mathematics Education: A Model Course for Pre-Service Teachers
    Bernhardt, Stephen A.
    In collaboration with Harry Shipman, Alfinio Flores, Joan Buttram
    Stephen Bernhardt is the principle investigator on a new National Science Foundation grant for Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The project is for 3 years with a budget of $200,000. He’ll be working with colleagues in science and math to create a new first-year experience for pre-service secondary science students that combines big ideas in science (especially physics) with mathematical reasoning and problem solving, all in a communication-intensive, 7-hour class that develops students' technology skills. This is the first grant for innovative instruction in UD's new ISE-Lab (Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering), set to open in Fall 2013.


  • Writer's Help: A Bedford/St. Martin's Online Handbook
    Bernhardt, Stephen A.; Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers
    Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011.

    ​When students turn to popular websites and free and open search engines for writing help, they often find a vast, unvetted pool of results, only some of which are reliable. Evaluating hundreds of search results takes time; out of desperation, students often pick whatever is at the top. In response, Writer’s Help was developed to provide an online resource that understands what students are looking for, gives them trusted content to work with, and lets them return to their writing quickly.

    To gain a broad understanding of what students need in a handbook, the authors talked to 1,600 students from across the country to discover what questions they have about writing, how they search for help, and how a handbook can better respond to their needs. Also interviewed were hundreds of instructors to learn what challenges they face when using handbooks and how their students look for help.

    Writer’s Help lives online because our students do. It responds to searches by students who may — or may not — know composition terminology. Search results are targeted — grouped into small, smart, useful categories. And students get reliable, class-tested advice from the best-selling Hacker handbooks. Additional help — exercises, glosses, charts, and models — is just a click away. Users who are familiar with Hacker handbooks will recognize the consistent and friendly tone, direct approach, and examples that teach. Writer’s Help delivers proven advice in a format students can relate to.

    Whether the class is online or face-to-face, Writer’s Help is built to meet the needs of the classroom, and it can be customized for an even better fit. Instructors and students can annotate content with notes and highlighting. Tagging allows students to search by terms that are relevant to their course and assignments. Instructors can add their own content to Writer’s Help and assign content and exercises to help students prepare for class, practice what they learn, and use Writer’s Help as a reference when they write. For more about how students and teachers are making the most of Writer’s Help, click on “Learn more” at

  • Expanding Literacies: English Teaching and the New Workplace
    Bernhardt, Stephen A.; Mary Sue Garay, Eds.
    Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998.

    Winner of the NCTE Award for Outstanding Collection of Essays on Scientific and Technical Communication, Expanding Literacies presents eighteen fresh essays that explore how English teaching at both secondary and post-secondary levels can be made more work-relevant. The book shows teachers, administrators, and workplace trainers how to put aside disabling dichotomies of school versus work in favor of preparing students with new skills for new workplaces. Within a theoretical context that encourages development of situated uses of language, the volume identifies ways to reshape traditional English classes so that students are prepared to be successful in work environments that demand teamwork, problem solving, and complex communication skills. Some chapters examine the escalating literacy demands of specific workplaces: manufacturing, health care, chemical and nuclear industries, and high-tech settings. Other chapters examine what we currently do in schools and describe new models and theoretical approaches to better equip students for a changing workplace. The book has a wealth of practical ideas for structuring classrooms, making assignments, and choosing materials that will help students make the transition from school to work.

    Keywords: English education, high school, college, professional writing, business writing.
  • Writing at Work: Professional Writing Skills for People on the Job
    Bernhardt, Stephen A.; Edward L. Smith
    Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company, a division of McGraw-Hill, 1997.

    Writing at Work is for people who do or will write while on the job whether the writing be an interoffice memo, e-mail, a status report, a lab report, marketing materials, or a letter to a customer. The philosophy behind Writing at Work is that such writing needn't be stale and unoriginal but can instead be a sophisticated piece of work that positively reflects the competence of its composer to all who read it. Rather than dwell on picky, little "rules" that you must adhere to when writing, Writing at Work focuses on the real rules of grammar and aspects of style that you really need to know in order to write with confidence. Using examples realistically drawn from work settings, Writing at Work presents each topic in a manner that is at once accessible and inviting. Spread throughout the text are exercises that provide you with ample opportunity to write, revise, and correct the kinds of written tasks typically encountered at work. You can immediately gauge your progress by checking your work against the answers listed at the end of each chapter.

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