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Degree Programs

University Writing Program

Program Features

In fall 2006, the University of Denver launched a comprehensive new writing program. Its mission: create a robust culture of writing on campus; develop strong student abilities through multiple writing experiences; develop the complex rhetorical skills needed in academic, professional, and civic life; teach according to the best research and pedagogy. A further mission is to provide a national model for colleges and universities seeking exemplary practices in teaching writing.


The Writing Program reports to the Provost of the University and is located in offices in the Anderson Academic Commons. Its Director, Doug Hesse, holds tenure as a professor of English. Working with Hesse is the Director of the University Writing Center, Eliana Schonberg, PhD. The program's office manager is Teresa Finn. The program has 25 lecturers, all with professional and academic expertise and experience in the teaching of writing.

Program Components

  • First-Year Writing Sequence. After new students complete the first-year seminar, a fall term seminar taught by a faculty member on a subject of his or her passion, they enroll in a two-course sequence in winter and spring terms, in classes of 15. The Program also provides support for writing in the first-year seminar.
  • Writing Center. Located in the Shopneck Family Writing Center in Anderson Academic Commons, the University Writing Center promotes and supports effective student writing by providing consultations to undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty. The Center is staffed by trained students (grad and undergrad) and offers scheduled and drop-in consultations, workshops, and more.
  • ASEM. Students must complete a writing-intensive Advanced Seminar Course. The ASEM Committee reviews proposals and approves ASEM courses. The Writing Program provides faculty development and support for these classes.
  • Writing in the Disciplines. The Program offers development opportunities and support for faculty in every department, from informal consultations to extended workshops. The goal is to teach students the ways of writing vital to specific disciplines and professions by helping faculty develop efficient, effective, and thoughtful strategies for assigning and supporting writing.
  • Assessment and Research. Through both focused and longitudinal studies of student writing, the Program regularly assesses its effectiveness and contributes to the professional literature in rhetoric and composition studies. A four-year longitudinal study of 10% of the class of 2010 began in spring 2007.