University Writing Program


The mission of the DU Writing Program is to create a robust culture of writing on campus by helping students develop the complex writing abilities needed in contemporary academic, professional and civic life, by helping faculty develop the knowledge and practices they need to support students in this development, and by providing nationally-recognized models for colleges and universities seeking exemplary practices in teaching and supporting writing.

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



A thriving writing culture. The Program will facilitate a deep, diverse, and collaborative culture of writing and composing on campus.

Campus-wide understanding of writing. All campus colleagues will understand writing as a multi-faceted set of rhetorical ideas and thoughtful processes.

Recognized expertise. Campus colleagues will value Program faculty as generative partners in scholarly, programmatic, and outreach initiatives. Colleagues in the profession will value the Program and its faculty as sources of knowledge and best practices in the teaching of writing.

Rhetorically versatile students. In their writing and composing, students will use versatile, innovative rhetorical thinking to engage effectively with larger networks in academic, professional, and civic life. Students will also ground researched writing and composing in diverse epistemologies, research methods, and genres.

Responsible writing and research practices. Writers and researchers in the University of Denver community will use ethical writing and research practices to engage diverse communities.


Seven Points of Distinction

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

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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.

Writing Minor

Open to all undergraduates, this 20-credit sequence develops writing proficiencies and knowledge at a time when employers assert that writing abilities are paramount, when writing shapes civic thought and action, when writing is a means of personal development and social interaction, when writing is inflected by evolving technologies.


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.




The Writing Program reports to the Provost of the University and is located in offices in the Anderson Academic Commons. Sheila Carter-Tod is Executive Director of Writing and Professor of English, Juli Parrish is Director of the University Writing Center, Megan Kelly is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center, Richard Colby is the Assistant Director of First Year Writing, and Joe Ponce is the program's Office Manager. The program has 29 teaching faculty, all with professional and academic expertise and experience in the teaching of writing.