About the Foundations Writing Program

Our Mission

As part of a land-grant institution situated in a diverse region, the Foundations Writing Program is committed to serving the university and intersecting communities through a learning community composed of effective initiatives, engaged faculty, and motivated students.

  • Small classes create opportunities for students to develop writing creativity, craft and credibility while reflectively and critically thinking and talking about writing processes.
  • Community and civic engagement in writing project initiatives place our students, faculty, and program in active partnerships that enhance life and learning for the people of Arizona and the world.
  • Professional development support encourages leadership and collaborations among Writing Program faculty from diverse academic backgrounds.
  • Research on writing instruction theories and practices advances the knowledge and expertise in the field and in the program.

Awards & Publications

UA Writing Program Awarded for Excellence

The UA Writing Program, received the 2017-2018 Writing Program Certificate of Excellence from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. According to Susan Miller-Cochran, director of the Writing Program, this is the most prestigious award a writing program can earn. The program was one of nine across the country acknowledged for excellence in writing instruction. Read the news story about the award.

Students' Guide to Foundations Writing

The Students’ Guide to Foundations Writing is the textbook created and published by the UA Foundations Writing Program. Students in Foundations Writing courses use the Guide as an introduction to writing at the university and beyond. For the 2019-2020 school year, the Guide is in its 40th edition. The current editors are Lauren Harvey (Graduate Associate in Teaching) and Joel Smith (Lecturer).

Research & Projects

2017-2019 – Faculty Seed Grant (University of Arizona), $10,000 for “Understanding writing development and identifying needs for second language STEM writers: from first year writing to engineering writing.” Prof. Shelley Staples (PI), Prof. Christine Tardy and Vignesh Subbian (Engineering).

2017-2019 – Humanities Without Walls (Mellon Funded Project) Changing Climate Grant, $142,000 for “Crow: the Corpus & Repository of Writing” Prof. Shelley Staples, Consultant; with Bradley Dilger, Purdue University, and Bill Hart Davidson, Michigan State University.

Research Initiative Grant (Conference on College Composition and Communication) – $5874 for "Great Expectations: Discovering First-Year Writing Students’ Backgrounds and Assumptions about Online Writing Instruction.” Catrina Mitchum (UA-PI), with Marcela Hebbard, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Janine Morris (Nova Southeastern University).

2019-2021 – Center for University Education Scholarship (University of Arizona) $39,991.80 for “Engaging Language in Foundations Writing: Harnessing Computational Models to Advance Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment of Writing” Prof. Shelley Staples (PI).

2019-2020 – American Council of Learned Societies Digital Extension Grant $149,633 for “Expanding the Corpus and Repository of Writing: An Archive of Multilingual Writing in English” Prof. Shelley Staples (PI); with Bradley Dilger, Purdue University

Difference & Inequality

The Difference & Inequality (D&I) Committee recognizes that lived differences create inequitable social relations in our personal and professional lives. These inequities are real and contribute to larger world problems of war, poverty, hunger, exploitation, and prejudice that happen on a daily basis. Mindful of these injustices, the D&I Committee strives to promote faculty, staff, and student awareness of diversity issues and the inequities that can come with diversity. The Committee works to support the Foundations Writing Program in sustaining critical dialogues, supporting academic freedom, and further developing our classrooms, offices, and shared workspaces to understand and value diverse experiences, beliefs, lifestyles, and attitudes. Read more about Committee Practices and Guidelines.