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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, 2023 (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 2022–2023 Recipients!

College of DuPage, Writing Studies Program
The College of DuPage Writing Studies Program is notable for its blend of rhetoric, professional writing, and writing studies into a clear program for students at the two-year college level. The philosophy of the program is centered on the value that the study of rhetoric holds for students’ personal, civic, and professional lives. We admired the program’s attention to developing achievable outcomes that will allow students to build on the work that they complete at DuPage in various ways. One option, the transfer from an a B.A. in Writing Studies or a related field, provides students with several guaranteed options to continue their path of study through articulation agreements. Additionally, the program offers a Professional Writing Certificate, which in 2020 was awarded the Diana Hacker TYCA Outstanding Programs in English Award for Two-Year Colleges and Teachers. The committee was impressed by DuPage’s clear commitment to writing as a mode of engagement with stakeholders beyond the classroom with courses such as Digital Writing and Writing for NonProfits.

Fairfield University, Core Writing Program
The Fairfield University Core Writing Program is notable for its integrated approach to first-year writing, WAC, and WID throughout the student lifespan. The committee was impressed by the Program’s advocacy for a shift toward a consistent and coherent culture of writing at Fairfield University. This shift has entailed a significant overhaul of the entire curriculum, a renewed commitment to assessment, and developing communities of expertise among instructors in WAC/WID courses. The committee also appreciated that this shift was accompanied by the institution of more equitable labor practices, particularly its hiring of cohorts of full-time Professors of the Practice and the reassignment of course time for these faculty to complete professional development.

Michigan State University, First-Year Writing Program
The Michigan State University First-Year Writing Program is a strong model of pedagogical and labor leadership. Built with transfer and diversity learning goals, the writing courses ask students to consider their literacy practices in critical, rhetorical contexts. MSU has recently developed a Directed Self Placement metric to further support student agency within DEI efforts. Training and professional development prioritize faculty and GTA knowledge and input, while program practices demonstrate humane labor practices.

University of Central Florida, First-Year Composition Program
The University of Central Florida First-Year Composition Program is an impressive representation of a writing program that is dedicated to authentic improvement based on student needs. Over the past few years, UCF has assessed and improved its programmatic goals and practices based on its diverse student population. After earning its Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) status, UCF endeavored to be explicit about valuing the linguistic and racial diversity of its students while still valuing the former transfer-focused writing goals. Achieving this goal included identifying and revising curriculum and training to support BIPOC, Latinx, and first-generation students. Additional successes emerging out of the UCF first-year composition program include its undergraduate journal, its early alert system for early student intervention, and its robust instructor professional development.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs, First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program
The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs First-Year Rhetoric and Writing program is recognized for excellence in curriculum and assessment, its respectful, humane, and professional treatment of faculty, in its professional development opportunities for all faculty. Curriculum includes multiple options for students, including a six-credit course stretched over two semesters, a four-credit course with supplemental instruction, and a traditional three-credit course, as well as themed courses to fit students’ interests. This curriculum is also deeply informed by disciplinary knowledge and best practices in composition studies. Ongoing assessment indicates positive outcomes for studies and faculty, and the program has recently implemented a Directed Self-Placement model. The First-Year Rhetoric and Writing program hires full-time faculty exclusively, maintains equitable working and learning conditions through courses capped at 19 students and 4/4 teaching loads, and compensates faculty for participation in assessment. Additional professional development include group professional development workshops, faculty-led workshops, alliances with other campus units.

University of Massachusetts Boston, Composition Program
The University of Massachusetts Boston Composition Program is notable for implementing a program that focuses on students’ declarative knowledge about writing and reflective practices toward developing metacognition. In addition to “mainstream” first-year courses, the program also offers four cohorted experiences, including an English as a Second Language (ESL) Program, a program for Continuing and Professional Studies Program, Pathways Program for students who are not fully admitted to a degree program; and for the Honors College. This program also supports several opportunities for public outreach and audiences, including Undercurrents: A Journal of Undergraduate Student Composition, and  an annual, university-wide celebration of the National Day on Writing. The committee also appreciated that the program’s curriculum and its various experiences are responsive to student population and needs, supported by professional development focused on linguistic justice and on-demand support. Instructors in the program have produced significant contributions to research about writing development and instruction.

University of Nevada, Reno, Core Writing Program
The University of Nevada, Reno Core Writing Program (CWP) is recognized for excellence in curriculum, administration and assessment, and professional treatment and opportunities for development. Over the last few years, the CWP revised their curriculum to emphasize language diversity, and to encourage students to recognize their knowledge about writing from prior experience and instruction, test that knowledge against their FYW experiences at UNR, and to anticipate applications of this knowledge to writing situations in their majors and fields. The CWP has begun to use Directed Self-Placement alongside several other placement methods and has found evidence students remain successful under this placement method. The CWP also eliminated a non-credit basic writing course in favor of a corequisite class with supplementary writing-focused and reading-focused labs. The committee was also impressed by ongoing assessment projects that furnish evidence of positive student response to the curriculum. Finally, the CWP demonstrates respectful, humane, and professional treatment of faculty, has advocated successfully for smaller class sizes, and has implemented a portfolio model of teaching evaluation, in which invites faculty may include reflections, self-assessments, contextualized summaries of student evaluations and faculty observations, and other materials.

University of Texas at El Paso, First-Year Composition Program
The University of Texas, El Paso First-Year Composition Program is recognized for its commitment to linguistic diversity, emphasis on and engagement with racial and social justice, and attention to its local context. Since it was last awarded a Certificate of Excellence in 2012, UTEP’s First-Year Composition Program has undergone a curricular redesign that increases students’ rhetorical and writing knowledge, as well as their awareness of social and racial justice. The committee was impressed by the program’s expansive and outward-facing vision of writing, as well as the variety of course experiences and partnerships. The program’s relationships with El Paso and its surrounding communities is informed by collaborative partnerships with community non-profits. The committee also appreciated the collaborative research on multilingual writers and the U.S.-Mexico border context produced by faculty and graduate students within the program.

Writing Program Certificate of Excellence Winners


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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