Fairfield’s Core Writing Program Garners Top Recognition

Fairfield’s Core Writing Program Garners Top Recognition

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Core Writing program has been honored with a CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence.

Media Contact: Robby Piazzaroli, rpiazzaroli@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4000 x2597

The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) — an independent organization run by the National Council of Teachers of English, and committed to supporting the agency, power, and potential of diverse communicators inside and outside of postsecondary classrooms — has selected the Fairfield University Core Writing Program to receive a CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence.

The Core Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences was chosen for its integrated approach to first-year writing, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) throughout the student lifespan. The committee noted that it 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 development of communities of experts 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.

Fairfield English Department Chair Nels Pearson, PhD, commented on the prestigious award:

“This highly competitive annual award is a true mark of distinction for a Writing Program, and we were thrilled to hear the news as it validates the extraordinary efforts of all those who have worked to create, sustain, and enhance Core Writing, WAC and WID at Fairfield,” Dr. Pearson said. He also noted that Fairfield is only the second Jesuit school to ever receive this award and the only private institution of the institution’s respective size to be featured on the roster this year as well.

Kim Gunter, PhD, associate professor of English and director of the core writing program, has led the program since its inception under the Magis Core. WAC and WID courses are a signature element of the Magis Core and each have a number of distinct learning goals to prepare students with the communication skills they need to excel in any given field post-graduation.

“CCCC is the flagship organization in the field,” said Dr. Gunter. “Its Certificate of Excellence is awarded only to exemplary programs and is given only after a vetting process that is competitive and peer-reviewed.”

Dr. Gunter explained that "every facet of Core Writing at Fairfield has been redesigned over the last five years," from the new first-year composition course, to three additional WAC- and WID-designated required courses, to the growth in WAC/WID options — approximately 200 current courses — which students engage with across their entire Fairfield career. 

“A hearty congratulations to Kim for her tireless leadership of Core Writing, WAC and WID,” Dr. Pearson said. “Also, this could not have happened without the vision of Drs. Beth Boquet and Betsy Bowen who were instrumental in creating a foundation for the program, as well as Provost Christine Siegel and Dean Richard Greenwald, who had the confidence to invest in the program and its full-time faculty from the get-go."

Posted On: January 23, 2023

Volume: 54 Number: 68

Fairfield University is the modern Jesuit University, rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states, 47 foreign countries, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are enrolled in the University’s five schools.  In the spirit of rigorous and sympathetic inquiry into all dimensions of human experience, Fairfield welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to share ideas and engage in open conversations. The University is located in the heart of a region where the future takes shape, on a stunning campus on the Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.