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CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence

This award program, established in 2004, honors up to 20 writing programs a year. As a term, “programs” is intended to be capacious in its application and includes:

  • A first-year writing program or a coherent configuration of first-year courses.
  • A basic or developmental writing program.
  • An ESL writing program.
  • A configuration of writing instruction within an intensive-English program.  This instruction might be integrated into courses rather than appear in separate writing courses.
  • A vertical sequence of courses—e.g., a concentration, a certificate, a minor, a major.
  • A WAC or WID program.
  • A writing program within a writing center.
  • A writing program designed for a special group.

To be eligible for this award, programs must be able to demonstrate that:

i. The program imaginatively addresses the needs and opportunities of its students, instructors, institution, and locale.
ii. The program offers exemplary ongoing professional development for faculty of all ranks, including adjunct/contingent faculty.
iii. The program treats contingent faculty respectfully, humanely, and professionally.
iv. The program uses current best practices in the field.
v. The program administrator (chair, director, coordinator, etc.) has academic credentials in writing.
vi. The program uses effective, ongoing assessment.
vii. The program uses effective placement procedures.
viii. Class size is appropriate.
ix. The program models diversity and/or serves diverse communities.

In addition, programs may want to include other documentation showing that:

a. The program has conducted research that serves similar programs at other institutions.
b. The program exhibits coherence in terms of disciplinary expectations.
c. The program exhibits some distinctive feature(s) in the student and/or faculty experience. For instance, the program could have a strand, such as critical thinking or cultural awareness, that links courses. These links might appear within the context of learning communities.
d. The program effectively integrates theory and practice.
e. The program uses practices and materials that lead to desirable learning outcomes.
f. The program provides valuable and valued community service.
g. The program has established strategic alliances with campus units and/or initiatives (e.g., service learning, student retention).

Applications are due by August 31, 2024 (they must reach by/on this date). To apply:

A. Anyone in the program or outside the program may submit a letter nominating the program or indicating that the program is preparing a full application for an award. The purpose of the letter is to establish contact with a CCCC staff member, who will assist the writing program staff as they prepare the full application. Of course, applicants are not required to seek such assistance as they prepare application packets. Please send a short nominating email to, including the institution nominated and contact information for the person preparing the application.

B. The following is a list of items that the full application should include, limited to 30 total pages, including all attachments, appendices, and/or supplemental materials. Please send all materials, including the application and any supplemental items, to CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence,

  1. An introductory piece, which includes the following information: contact information, identified criteria from the aforementioned list, a list of materials submitted, a one-page abstract that could subsequently appear on the Website and perhaps in CCC.
  2. A description of program demographics: size of the program, size of sections, number of full-time and part-time instructors, number of TAs.
  3. A description of the principles underlying the program and the ways writing pedagogy grows out of those principles. Also in that document might be the history of various orientations toward writing at that institution and how the latest program (the one being considered for an award) grows out of or dramatically departs from the previous ones.
  4. Sample syllabi, including course learning goals.
  5. A description of in-house professional development for faculty and teaching assistants.
  6. A description of the context for the program within the department, college, and/or institution.
  7. DVDs, CDs, videos, or links to pages on the program’s Website that chronicle the program’s activities.
  8. Demonstrated success and the measures used to determine success.
  9. Direct evidence of innovation, as well as it implementation, institutionalization, and sustainability.
  10. Evidence of effective operation.

CCCC will announce the award in CCC, on the Website, at the annual meeting, and on appropriate listservs. Winners will also be recognized at the annual Awards Session at CCCC. At that time, the program will be presented with a certificate. CCCC also will assist in sending a press release to the campus media office, to appropriate campus administrators, and to local newspapers.

For additional information, please contact the CCCC Liaison at

Congratulations to the 2023–2024 Recipients!

California Polytechnic University Humboldt, First Year Composition Program
The California Polytechnic University Humboldt, First Year Composition Program is notable because despite a clear lack of institutional support for the WPA and a lack of secure faculty positions within the program, Humboldt has created a writing program ecosystem of excellence. Specifically, it has an amazingly robust assessment program; uses best practices to support students in innovative ways; and has impressive professional development for instructors. We recommend that Humboldt do more to support the writing program administratively and that the institution work toward hiring more fulltime, tenure-line faculty to support the program. Without these two improvements, the director is at risk of burn out and the sustainability of the program is in question.

Salisbury University, Writing Program
The Salisbury University, Writing Program is notable for its application’s strength and demonstrates impressive work in creating equity throughout the program(s), specifically via pay; via accommodation and general accessibility policies; via support of faculty through childcare, instructional preparation, and overall; via the use of innovative solutions to support students despite legislative restrictions; and via the significant expansion of the university’s writing center services, outreach, and tutor preparation. Overall, we find that the program is highly responsive to the needs of students, TAs, and faculty and that the application clearly demonstrates excellence across criteria.

Texas Woman’s University, First-Year Composition Program
The Texas Woman’s University, First-Year Composition Program does impressive work in addressing a variety of concerns and programmatic challenges in ways that both support best practices and demonstrate access to success for students. Further, the program has done an excellent job of standardizing professional development and training instructors given the unequal levels of faculty preparation across ranks—opportunities for professional development are truly impressive. Overall, the committee was impressed with the sustainability of best practices put in place as well as with the excellent job the program does of removing barriers for students and negotiating legitimate workarounds for legislative barriers.

Writing Program Certificate of Excellence Winners


California Polytechnic University Humboldt, First Year Composition Program
Salisbury University, Writing Program
Texas Woman’s University, First-Year Composition Program


College of DuPage, Writing Studies Program
Fairfield University, Core Writing Program
Michigan State University, First-Year Writing Program
University of Central Florida, First-Year Composition Program
University of Colorado Colorado Springs, First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program
University of Massachusetts Boston, Composition Program
University of Nevada, Reno, Core Writing Program
University of Texas at El Paso, First-Year Composition Program


Georgia Institute of Technology, Writing and Communication Program
Lehman College, CUNY, Writing Across the Curriculum Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication Program
Miami University, Howe Center for Writing Excellence
Moravian University, Writing at Moravian Program
North Central Texas College, First-Year Composition Textbook and Common Read Project
Rowan University, First-Year Writing Program
Salt Lake Community College, Writing Across the College Program


Syracuse University, Writing Across the Curriculum
Thomas Jefferson University, Writing Program
University of New Haven, Writing Across the Curriculum Program
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, First Year Writing Program


University of Washington — Seattle, Expository Writing Program


Indiana University, Composition Program
National University of Singapore, Writing and Critical Thinking Programme, University Scholars Programme
Temple University, First Year Writing Program
Texas A&M University – Commerce, Writing Program


Dickinson College, Writing Program
George Washington University, Writing Program
University of Arizona, Writing Program
University of Maine, College Composition
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University Writing Program
University of Oklahoma, First-Year Composition Program
University of Oklahoma, Writing Center
University of Pennsylvania, Critical Writing Program
Winston-Salem State University, Writing in the Majors Program


Boston University, College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Writing Program
Salt Lake Community College, English Department
University of Maryland, Writing Programs: Academic Writing, Professional Writing, Writing Center
University of Wisconsin Colleges, Writing Program

Oakland University, Major in Writing and Rhetoric
Roger Williams University, Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition

Community College of Baltimore County, Developmental Writing Program
Illinois State University, Writing Program
Northeastern University, Writing Program
University of Alberta, Writing Studies 101: Exploring Writing

Montclair State University, Center for Writing Excellence
St. John’s University, University Writing Center & Writing Across the Curriculum Program
University of Colorado at Boulder, Program for Writing and Rhetoric
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, First-Year Writing Program

Emerson College, First-Year Writing Program
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, First-Year Composition Program
Oakland University, Department of Writing and Rhetoric
Pennsylvania State University, Rhetoric and Writing Program
University of California, Santa Barbara, Writing Program
University of Central Florida, First-Year Composition Program
University of Colorado, Boulder, McNeill Writing Program


Appalachian State University, Vertical Writing Curriculum
Montclair State University, First-Year Writing Program
St. Louis Community College, ESL Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Undergraduate Rhetoric Program
University of South Florida, First-Year Writing Composition Program
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Writing Program
The University of Texas at El Paso, First-Year Composition


Binghamton University, State University of New York, First-Year Writing
University of Connecticut, University Writing Center
Wheaton College, Writing Across the Curriculum Program


Louisiana State University, Communication across the Curriculum Program


North Carolina State University, First-Year Writing Program
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Writing Program
Washington State University, Writing Program


The University of Denver, Writing Program
University of Toronto Scarborough, Writing Centre


Ball State University, Writing Program
Michigan Technological University, Writing Center
Purdue University, Introductory Composition
Swarthmore College, Writing Associates Program
University of Toronto, Office of English Language and Writing Support


Duke University, University Writing Program
Eastern Michigan University, First-Year Writing Program
Marquette University, First-Year English Program

Winter 2005

Carleton College, Writing Program
The Ohio State University, First-Year Writing Program

Fall 2004

Central European University, Center for Academic Writing
Clemson University, The Advanced Writing Program
Michigan Technological University, Department of Humanities Writing Program
Michigan Technological University, Scientific and Technical Communication Program
Purdue University, Writing Lab
Rowan University, Department of Composition and Rhetoric
Saint Joseph College, Writing Portfolio Program
Salt Lake Community College, Community Writing Center
San Francisco State University, Technical and Professional Writing Program
University of Missouri, Campus Writing Program
University of Washington, Engineering Communication Program

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