Penn Awarded 2017-18 CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) announced that The University of Pennsylvania was a recipient of the CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence on March 16 during its 2018 Annual Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) is a constituent organization of the NCTE, the professional organization of educators of English and the language arts. Established in 2004, the award honors up to 20 writing programs a year. Penn was one of nine recipients this year.

To earn the award, writing programs must demonstrate best practices in writing instruction, exemplary professional development and treatment of faculty, creative response to student, instructor, institutional, and local needs, attention to diversity, and administrative staff with academic credentials and publications in the field of writing studies. Other criteria can be found online.

The Committee pointed to the "many strengths" of Penn's program, including its "focus on agency for students as readers, writers, and speakers," and a philosophy that promotes student agency "through various modes of program design, including development of a common vocabulary, curriculum that is grounded in threshold concepts, and assessment practices that engage and are transparent to students. The program also highlights innovative practices such as self-sponsored writing and best practices related to teaching genre and rhetoric-very current in the field (e.g. students write in genres that are "situated in real-world activity systems"). Indeed, the committee appreciates the curricular emphasis on "a curriculum that positions students as authentic participants in generative knowledge practices, using authentic genres and writing to real audiences."

The Committee also remarked on the labor practices of the program, which "can be used as a model for other programs: they've moved to lecturer positions with a 5-year renewable contract and newly developed possibilities for advancing to senior lecturer. The program provides comprehensive and extensive offerings for professional development. Additionally, class sizes are excellent (some at 12 for special populations, others at 16)."

The Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania is an innovative independent writing in the disciplines program staffed by full-time lecturers who are extensively trained in rhetoric and writing pedagogy and hold PhDs or terminal degrees in a wide range of disciplines.