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Degree Programs

Events, Research & News

Program Research

In addition to conducting annual assessments of WRIT courses, by scoring and analyzing a random sample of some 120 student portfolios, the Writing Program conducts basic and applied research in writing.

View brief descriptions of selected research projects.

Buchtel Tower on the University of Denver campus

Assessing Student Writing and Writing Instruction

The Writing Program uses rich direct measures to assess the quality of student writing and writing instruction at the university. This assessment occurs at two levels: a portfolio of writings students complete during their first year, and a longitudinal study of approximately 125 students' writings throughout their entire undergraduate careers. The Program also has a comprehensive plan for assessing teaching.

PDF of how the Writing Program assesses student writing

2020-21 Writing Program Teaching Innovation Grants

The Writing Program made available Teaching Innovation Grants to anyone teaching WRIT courses in 2020-21.  Proposals consisted of a description of the project and its contributions to course design and pedagogy in WRIT courses; a timetable; and a description of the project deliverables.  Recipients received half their funding upon approval, half on completion of the deliverable.  $23,000, provided through university pandemic-related teaching funding, was distributed through this process. Following are recipients and the titles of their projects.

  • Brad Benz: Redesigning WRIT 1122 around the Global Climate Crisis
  • Russell Brakefield: Developing Resources for Writing for Public Audiences in WRIT 1133 
  • Jennifer Campbell: Presenting Rhetorical Concepts Rhetorically for Hybrid and Online Students 
  • Richard Colby: Teaching Writers with Microsoft Teams 
  • April Chapman-Ludwig: Creating Community Using Multiple Modalities in WRIT 1533 
  • David Daniels:  Visual Ethnography: Digital Photography in Qualitative Research 
  • Matt Hill: Replicating Material Classroom Practices Through Game Templates 
  • Sarah Hart Micke, Rob Gilmor, and Angie Sowa: Revising Community and Collaboration During COVID: Connecting Students through Peer Review and Small-group Engagement across Modalities 
  • Megan Kelly: Teaching Narrative Power Analysis in WRIT 1122 
  • Kamila Kinyon: Resource Development for Teaching Qualitative Research Online 
  • Heather Martin:  Intersections of WRIT and the Four-Dimensional (4D) Student Model 
  • Juli Parrish: Piloting Online Facilitated Peer Reviews for WRIT (and ASEM) Courses  
  • Keith Rhodes: A course-framing argument for focusing on Berthoff's concept of "forming imagination" 
  • Casey Rountree:  Tools and techniques to enhance student engagement in asynchronous online WRIT courses
  • Blake Sanz: Using Kaltura Effectively in a Hybrid, Synchronous Writing Classroom 
  • Aubrey Schiavone: WRIT 1133 Instructional Videos: Analyzing Qualitative Interview and Quantitive Survey Data 
  • Rebekah Shultz Colby: Social Media Information Literacy Campaign 
  • Dan Singer: Rhetorical Futures & Life-Purposeful Writing in COVID Times 
  • Geoff Stacks: Effective Online Peer Review 
  • Kara Taczak: Social Media: Helping to Craft 21st Century Writerly Identities? 


A four-year longitudinal study of 10% of the class of 2010 began in spring 2007, when we began collecting data from a group of first year students at the University of Denver whose writing, writing experiences, and writing attitudes we would follow and interpret until graduation. Our goals were fairly open-ended: describe the amounts and kinds of writing and writing experiences of DU undergrads and interpret the effects and implications of what we learned. From all the students enrolled in WRIT 1133, the spring-quarter required writing course, we randomly selected 130 students whom we invited to participate in the study.