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Distinction in Writing

The Distinction in Writing program encourages Writing majors to explore opportunities in addition to the regular curriculum. While the major prepares you with the fundamentals a you will need to succeed, we recognize that the most successful students pursue a wide variety of experiences and accomplishments. Often these out of class activities enrich our lives, shape us, help us to be the active, creative, humane people we aspire to be. The Distinction in Writing program recognizes those students who pursue and achieve excellence beyond the classroom.

This program may best be understood as an extended series of independent studies. The guidelines for how you must complete the program are specific, but a variety of activities and avenues are possible to complete the program. Many suggested activities in one component might fulfill the requirements for another component. So, while the framework is firm, the specifics are quite flexible.

Important Submission Deadlines

Your Distinction in Writing portfolio must be submitted to your advisor no later than the following dates:

  • Fall Graduation: November 1
  • Spring Graduation: March 15

Because your advisor is likely to have feedback for revision, you should get a solid draft to her well before those deadlines.


Any Writing major is eligible to participate in the program. There is no official “enrollment” required, but you must express the intent to pursue the program by submitting a form to a departmental advisor. Ideally, you will begin planning for this program in concert with your advisor in the sophomore year, and you should be able to complete all components in two years. Participation becomes officially recognized only upon completion, which is signaled by your submission of a final portfolio to the advisor. At that time, your GPA must be at least 3.0 in the Writing major.

Student's Responsibilities

This program is based entirely on the initiative of the student. Participation is encouraged, but not required. Therefore, it is your responsibility to seek and complete appropriate activities, retain any required documentation, and keep in regular contact with your advisor. We provide the framework, but you enact the program.

Role of the Advisor

When you express interest in the Distinction in Writing program, your advisor should encourage you by providing guidance towards activities might best suit that your writing skills, interests, and experience. You and your advisor should be comfortable enough with each other to discuss frankly the your strengths and weaknesses in a constructive working relationship. The advisor should act as a mentor, first to help understand your vision, and then to help guide you toward the realization of that vision.


Choose four of five program components to complete. In addition, you must also complete a final portfolio.

Each component allows you to apply your writing skills and talents to a specific and significant project. In order to receive credit for a component within the program, you must finish either one (1) Level A activity or two (2) Level B activities.

The activities listed under each component below are offered as suggestions. You and your advisor should not limit yourselves to the listings alone, but instead should use the activities as a guide toward tailoring the program and the specific activities to suit your writing skills and experience Many of the activities within the components will likely have a certain degree of overlap with one or more of the other components. You will work with your advisor to ensure you complete the program with a broad range of activities represented.

Time Commitment

The total time commitment should be roughly equivalent to two additional courses.

Typically, Level A activities require a semester-long commitment while Level B activities require a brief but still substantial commitment. Two Level B activities should be roughly “equal” to one Level A activity when considering time and the eventual product. The final designation is the responsibility of the advisor.


Those students who complete the program and meet all requirements will be honored at graduation with a notation in the program as well as a departmental Honor Cord. In order to be recognized at graduation, the program must be complete by the time your graduation audit is requested. Additionally, the Writing department will sponsor a luncheon honoring those students and their families, and the students’ names will be added to a plaque in the Writing department.