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Degree Programs

University Writing Program

Program Features

The University of Denver Writing Program has won the CCCC Certificate of Excellence, one of fewer than 1% of university programs. 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.

7 Points of Distinction

  1. Our students get extraordinary attention.
  2. Our writing faculty have exceptional expertise and focus.
  3. The DU Writing Center cultivates a strong culture of writing, both on campus and beyond.
  4. The Writing Program energizes writing across the whole campus.
  5. Our students master approaches that are vital for writing in school, work, and life.
  6. Our students write for a digital age.
  7. Our students write impressively.

For more information, please see our 7 Points of Distinction.


The Writing Program reports to the Provost of the University and is located in offices in the Anderson Academic Commons. Doug Hesse is Executive Director of Writing and Professor of English, Eliana Schonberg is Director of the University Writing Center, Jennifer Campbell and Juli Parrish are Assistant Directors, and Teresa Finn is the program's office manager. 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.