Teaching Writing Certificate Program - Graduate - 2015 University Catalog

The Graduate Certificate Program in Teaching Writing is designed to familiarize students with the guiding research, theory, and practice of composition studies, a discipline devoted to developing successful pedagogical practices for teaching writing across age, background, and ability. As many new teachers discover when they enter the classroom, English teachers are often under-exposed to theories and practices of writing instruction as part of their graduate or teacher preparatory programs.  This certificate program aims to address this gap in teacher preparation at a time when national and state mandates for effective writing instruction are at an all-time high.  The curriculum for the program bridges the secondary and college divide, responding to persistent calls for better communication between secondary and higher education faculty, and greater support for students transitioning from high school to college.

Consonant with recent thinking in the field, the program holds the following objectives:

  • Students will learn techniques for teaching planning, drafting, revision, and editing
  • Students will learn how to conduct one-on-one conferences and implement peer review models in the classroom
  • Students will understand and apply various methodologies for teacher research on writing and writing processes
  • Students will explore the challenges of marginalized writers and learn how to facilitate their writing development
  • Students will study methods of evaluation and assessment of writing
  • Students will gain a foundational understanding of rhetorical theories and their impact on writing techniques and pedagogies
  • Students will have the opportunity to design research projects and teaching materials that are in alignment with the Common Core Standards in Writing, as adopted by the state of New Jersey.

Teachers and prospective teachers of middle school, high school, and college are especially invited to apply for this program. The faculty who teach the required courses are engaged with work at these levels, and have designed courses for which the interchange between college, high school, and middle school teachers enables greater understanding of where our individual students have been, and also to where they need to go. For interested school districts, documentation towards professional development hours for program participants is available.


While we would like the program to be accessible to interested students, we are committed to a thoughtful admissions process.  Certificate students should be active participants in our graduate courses, capable of sophisticated reading and thinking. Accordingly, we will require prospective students to submit the following materials to be eligible for admission: undergraduate transcript; a writing sample (either a paper written for a college-level course or a teaching philosophy statement); one recommendation letter from a professional familiar with their intellectual abilities.  GRE scores, if available, may be submitted, but are not required.



Complete the following 2 requirement(s):


    Complete for 3 semester hours.

    ENWR 586 Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing (3 lecture hours) 3

    Complete 3 courses for 9 semester hours from the following list.

    ENWR 583 Teaching Writing Through Literature (3 hours lecture) 3
    ENWR 585 Theory and Practice of Writing Centers (3 hours of lecture) 3
    ENWR 588 Research in Writing Studies (3 lecture hours) 3
    ENWR 590 Graduate Writing Seminar (3 hours seminar) 3
    ENWR 598 Rhetorical Theories and the Teaching of Writing (3 hours lecture) 3
    ENWR 600 Seminar in Writing Studies (3 hours lecture) 3

Course Descriptions:

ENWR583: Teaching Writing Through Literature (3 hours lecture)

The course considers the best theories and practices for teaching writing through literature. Students will also examine the social and historical intersection of literary studies and writing pedagogy. 3 sh.

ENWR585: Theory and Practice of Writing Centers (3 hours of lecture)

This course will focus on teaching writing through one-on-one instruction in the context of university writing centers. Students will learn how to conduct one-on-one conferences-a standard instructional model in writing centers-face to face and online, informed by readings of current scholarship on writing centers, learning styles, collaboration and language and literary acquisition. The course will begin with a review of the revolution in Writing Studies that occurred in the late 1970s through 1980s in the US and the relevant composing models, emergence of writing centers, and theories of individualized writing instruction that subsequently followed. The course will equip students with a range of instructional strategies suited to the particular needs of struggling writers, such as second-language learners, through the study of scholarship on cognitive and social forces that enable and inhibit writing development, as well as best writing center tutorial practices for maximizing individual potential. Students will complete a major research project on a key issue in individualized instruction and writing centers, as well as statement of their philosophy of teaching and learning, along with other writing assignments (such as essays, journal entries, blogs, digital presentations, research papers, among others) intended for reflection, research, and practice. 3 sh.

ENWR586: Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing (3 lecture hours)

This course explores the social, educational, and linguistic foundations of writing instruction, including various models of composing and approaches to writing pedagogy. Students will learn how to respond to writing, identifying strengths and strategies for improvement, and explore ways to encourage revision. Practicing and prospective teachers will examine the theory, research, and practice of writing instruction through a process of inquiry, workshops, and analysis of their own writing. 3 sh.

ENWR588: Research in Writing Studies (3 lecture hours)

An introduction to representative empirical research in composition pedagogy and writing studies. In the first half of the semester students will be introduced to a range of methodologies used in research in writing and composition studies. Inquiry models will include survey, ethnography, case study, the interview. In the second half of the semester students will explore a research question using one or more of the methodologies taught. 3 sh.

ENWR590: Graduate Writing Seminar (3 hours seminar)

Writing in one or more of the following: essay, scholarly research, autobiography, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama, screenwriting. May be repeated three times for a maximum of 12.0 credits as long as the topic is different. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

ENWR598: Rhetorical Theories and the Teaching of Writing (3 hours lecture)

An inquiry into the rhetorical and theoretical roots of current questions, methods and practices of writing instruction--to investigate the possibility that both teaching writing and writing itself are deeply constructed endeavors, rooted in structures of language, perception, knowing and being that are often discussed in theoretical discourse. 3 sh.

ENWR600: Seminar in Writing Studies (3 hours lecture)

Advanced study of a topic, issue or theory in the field of Writing Studies. See current announcement for specific topic. Students may repeat the Writing Studies Seminar up to 2 times for a total of 9 credits as long as the topic is different each time. 3 sh.