Doug Hesse

Douglas D. Hesse


  • Faculty

What I do

Executive Director of Writing and Professor of English

Professional Biography

Doug Hesse is founding Executive Director of the Writing Program at the University of Denver and Professor of English.  He is a former President of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, 30,000 members), former Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC, 8000 members), former President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, former editor of WPA: Writing Program Administration, and former chair of the Executive Committee of the MLA Division on Teaching.  Hesse is author of over 80 essays, essays, and book chapters.  He is co-author of four books, including Creating Nonfiction, co-authored with Becky Bradway (Bedford/St. Martin's) and the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers (with Lynn Troyka).  He's presented over 140 readings, talks, and conference papers, more than 40 of them as keynote speaker. His scholarly interests are creative nonfiction, writing pedagogy and administration, and national literacy efforts. The DU Writing Program has received the prestigious CCCC Certificate of Excellence. The University of Denver has named him University Distinguished Scholar, and in 2015, the Monterey Young Rhetoricians Conference named him Rhetorician of the Year.  Hesse was founding coordinator of the Norman Mailer/NCTE National High School and College Writing Awards in Creative Nonfiction. Hesse previously taught at Illinois State University, where he received the university's Outstanding Researcher Award and the Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award.  There, he directed the Honors Program, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, the graduate program in English studies, and the writing program.  Hesse was happily educated in rural Iowa schools. His PhD is from The University of Iowa, where he wrote and wrote about nonfiction. He sings semi-professionally with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus and enjoys hiking and photography.


  • Ph.D., English, The University of Iowa, 1986
  • MA, English, The University of Iowa, 1980
  • BA, English, The University of Iowa, 1978
  • Certificate, German, The University of Vienna, 1978

Professional Affiliations

  • National Council of Teachers of English


I write and write about creative nonfiction. I also research composition theory and pedagogy, the rhetoric of narrative, writing program administration, literary, and professional issues in writing and English studies.

Featured Publications

Bradway, B., & Hesse, D. D. (2009). Creating Nonfiction. New York, NY, USA: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Hesse, D. D. (2017). What Arts of Language Matter Now? Research in the Teaching of English, 51(3), 361-379.
Hesse, D. D. (2018). What if the Common Core Standards Actually Work?. In S. W. Logan & W. H. Slater (Eds.), Academic and Professional Writing in an Age of Accountability (pp. 275-91). Southern Illinois University Press.
Hesse, D. D. (2018). Redefining Disciplinarity in the Current Context of Higher Education. In S. Mill-Cochran, R. Malenczyk, E. Wardle, & K. Blake Yancey (Eds.), Composition, Rhetoric, and Disciplinarity (pp. 287-302). Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.
Hesse, D. D. (2005). Who Owns Writing? College Composition and Communication, 57(2), 335-357.


  • Distinguished Scholar Award, University of Denver
  • University Outstanding Researcher. Research Initiative Award, Illinois State University
  • Fellowship in Nonfiction Prose Writing. $5000, Illinois Arts Council