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University Writing Program

Events, Research & News

Winter 2020 Faculty accomplishments

Pauline Reid taught "Rhetoric and Composition for Political Crisis," within the Writing Program's writing minor. The course used classical, postmodern, and non-Western/indigenous rhetorical methods to examine how crises of politics and crises of communication intersect and how writing can become an imperative and productive response to such crises.

Doug Hesse published a book chapter, "Writing as Practiced and Studied beyond 'Writing Studies,'" co-authored with Peggy O'Neill, in (Re)considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle (Utah State UP). Hesse and O'Neil argue that "writing studies" is an inaccurate name for a field that hasn't properly accounted for journalism and creative writing.

Hesse served as external reviewer and consultant for writing at Bentley University in Waltham, MA.

Hesse presented "Neglect and Abuse? Sure. But Maybe We Can Get Writing's Relationships Right This Time" at the Modern Language Association annual convention in Seattle, January 10. The talk, on a panel about relationships between literary studies and writing, reviewed the sorry history of composition within English departments but offered a rationale for better connections going forward.

Hesse served on the NCTE Task Force on Awards and authored the group's final report.

fall 2019 faculty accomplishments

Keith Rhodes published "Feeling It: Toward Style as Culturally Structured Intuition" in the December issue of College Composition and Communication. The article reports on the results of a broader study, funded by a CCCC grant, looking into the effects of direct, structural style instruction on student writing. In Rhodes' portion of the study, direct instruction itself apparently has few, if any, lasting impacts, and students learn more from simply thinking intuitively about style and using basic terms like concision, flow, and voice. To work on style in that more intuitive way, the article discusses how teachers can turn to translingual approaches like code-meshing and imitation of dialects, broadening students' perspectives on stylistic possibilities.

Blake Sanz was a 2019 finalist of the Flannery O'Connor fiction award for his book of 16 short stories, The Boundaries of Their Dwelling, and "¡Hablamos!" is an example one of the short stories in the collection.

This fall, Rob Gilmor published the article "Writing, Archives, and Exhibits: Piloting Partnerships between Special Collections and Writing Classes" with the librarians, Katherine Crowe, Curator of Special Collections and Archives, and Rebecca Macey, Manager of Exhibitions and Programs, in the journal Alexandria: The Journal of National and International Library and Information Issues. The article discusses the benefits and challenges of an interdisciplinary partnership between a first-year writing class and the library to exhibit student work while also teaching students about information literacy, museology, archival theory, and writing.

Richard Colby and Rebekah Shultz Colby published "Game Design Documentation: Four Perspectives from Independent Game Studios" in Communication Design Quarterly in May. They interviewed four independent game designers to examine how the game design document operates as a meta-genre within a reciprocal relationship to design.

In July, Libby Catchings published an article titled "Bodily Instruments: Somatic Metaphor in Prison-based Research" in Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric in which she uses a critical race framework to locate discourses of whiteness circulating between the texts of prison-based scholar-practitioners and their imprisoned counterparts, considering how those rhetorical economies risk marginalizing prisoners in an already vexed space. She also recently joined DU Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) as affiliate faculty advisory board member; DU PAI promotes access to therapeutic arts programs that improve prisoners' quality of life and prepares them to make positive changes in their communities upon release.

In September, Heather Martin addressed incoming students and their parents at the 2019 fall convocation. Here is a short video clip of the event featuring Martin:

winter 2019 faculty accomplishments

David Riche's article "Toward a Theory and Pedagogy of Rhetorical Vulnerability", which was published in Literacy in Composition Studies, won a place in the prestigious The Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2019 issue published annually by Parlor Press.

Kara Taczak was accepted to the Elon Seminar, Writing Beyond the University Research Seminar, that will be held for three consecutive summers at Elon University. They had 122 applications representing 16 countries and over a dozen disciplines; their acceptance rate was only 27%.

At the Conference on College Composition and Communication this March, Libby Catchings gave a presentation entitled "Prosthetic Performance: Digital Blackface and the Vexed Rhetorical Ethics of Teaching with GIFs," Keith Rhodes presented "Genre Roles as Rhetorical Actors' Studio: Anti-Paternalistic Stylistic Imitation," Richard Colby and Rebekah Shultz Colby presented "Performing Games/Performing Composition: Playing, Imagining, and Creating Embodied Rhetorics in the Writing Classroom," Rob Gilmor and April Chapman-Ludwig virtually presented "Embodied Archives: Writing Partnerships to Build Effective Transfer Student Community," Aubrey Schiavone presented "What's Social Media Got to Do with It? Students' Social Media Writing in and across Contexts," and Doug Hesse and John Tiedemann presented "Paper, Plates, and Tactile Performance." Juli Parrish facilitated a workshop on "Building and Running an Academic Journal: A-Behind-the-Scenes Workshop in Independent Publishing," Kara Taczak led a workshop titled "Performing Curriculum in the Classroom: Designing Teaching for Transfer (TFT) Courses for Diverse Campuses," and Richard Colby and Rebekah Shultz Colby ran a workshop entitled "Remix Performance in Games."

Libby Catchings joined the DU PAI (Prison Arts Initiative) as affiliated faculty. That project will both promote a shared culture of writing between DU and participating prisons, and with other PAI faculty interested in collaborative design of writing, reflection, and assessment practices.

April Chapman-Ludwig was invited to join the Courseware Faculty Advisory Board through OTL. The board provides faculty input on policy and issues related to the university's learning management system and other instructional technologies. She will be making recommendations and evaluating new instructional technology applications that integrate with LMS (e.g. VeriCite, Kaltura, Design Tools, NBC Learn, Respondus, etc.) She will be joined by Michael Myers (Business and Marketing), Barb Hurtt (Biological Sciences), Michael Keables (Geography and Environment), Kathy Kearns (OTL), and Susan Lutz (IT).

events & Faculty News

Professor Libby Catchings was recently awarded the 2016 Best New Scholar award for her article "Sponsoring True Feeling: Literacy, Parrhesia, and Civic Mythos in the Writings of Detained Youth." The award is given to a scholar whose first major research publication has been published in Written Communication, which is one of our field's most important journals known for publishing rigorous research. The award will be announced in the April 2017 issue of the journal. Congratulations, Libby!

 Juli Parrish, Doug Hesse, and Geoffrey Bateman published a study of writing across the curriculum in DU's Advanced Seminar program. "Assessing a General Education Writing Capstone: Research as Faculty Development" appears in Across the Discipline.

videos of past events

The DU Youtube page has videos of past events dating back to 2007, including lectures by Patricia Roberts-Miller, Cheryl Glenn, Victor Villanueva, and Ted Conover. For complete listing and access visit here.  

Past Faculty news

Two Writing Program Faculty Deliver All Campus Lectures Each year during Discoveries Orientation, all incoming students pick from six lectures to attend. These lectures revolve around a central theme of the University, and this year the theme was storytelling. It is an honor to be selected to give one of these lectures, and this year two Writing Program faculty members were chosen: Heather Martin and John Tiedemann. Congratulations to them both on this tremendous achievement! Links to both talks can be found below.

Shelter Stories by John Tiedemann

The Anatomy of a Story by Heather Martin

 Congratulations to Dr. Carol Samson, award-winning director of the play "The Tie That Binds." In October 2015, Carol adapted Kent Haruf's novel The Tie That Binds for stage performance at The SteamPlant Theatre in Salida, Colorado. The adaptation was nominated for multiple awards by the Colorado Community Theatre Coalition and Carol was awarded Best Director. 

carol tie that binds


Outstanding FSEM Instructor of the Year!

megan kelly
Congratulations to Writing Program faculty member Megan Kelly on winning Outstanding FSEM Instructor of the Year - a student nominated award for excellence in First Year Seminar instruction.


Heather Martin DU Writing Program Faculty Professor Heather Martin received the University of Denver’s award for “Service Learning Faculty Member of the Year,” joining her colleague Liz Drogin, who received that same award two years ago.  The entire Writing Program received the Community-Engaged Department of the Year Award in 2012.


Kara TaczakDr. Kara Taczak, Writing Program Lecturer, was recently announced to be the winner of the  Conference on College Composition and Communication  2015 Research Impact Award for the book she co-authored:   "Writing across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Sites of Writing."   Dr. Taczak will be honored at the CCCC Convention in Tampa in March. Congratulations Kara for this outstanding achievement and contribution to the professional work in the composition field!

David Daniels Kate Tufts Discovery Award Finalist

Congratulations to Writing Program Lecturer David J. Daniels for being a finalist for the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award! This award is given annually to poets that show great promise and is one of the most distinguished awards in the field. David's first book "Clean" is a top five first book finalist. Congratulations David!


Department Newsletters

A list of current and archives of past events and newsletters.


Department Events

Short History of Student Writing Exhibit

Please join the us in celebrating A Short History of the Long History of Student Writing at DU, a showcase of the diverse writing of DU students (and a few faculty members) from 1882 to 2015. Highlights include full issues as well as curated stories from DU's three student newspapers, protest flyers and other ephemera from "Woodstock West," selections from student yearbooks, among many other artifacts. The event will begin with a food and beverage service, to be followed by a short presentation about the exhibit and ending with a tour of the exhibits on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

What: A Short History of the Long History of DU Student Writing Opening Reception
When: Wednesday November 9, 2016, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Special Events Room (290 AAC)

Refreshments will be served.