Writing @ UNI


UNI regularly assesses its writing programs to ensure quality and rigor and to continuously improve instruction and student outcomes. Below, you will find results from our assessments so you will know what to expect from writing at UNI.

English 1005 Assessment

This assessment looked at 10 sections of English 1005 during Spring semester 2013. A total of 176 students submitted drafts, notes, and other evidence of their writing processes. This assessment documented that
* on average, students write three drafts for their research projects

Instructor Resource Guide - Part One

Please click on the link to view the first part of the LAC 1A Instructor Resource Guide in your web browser.

Welcome to UNI Writing

Mission & Purpose

The writing program at the University of Northern Iowa strives to support students, faculty, administration, departments and programs in effective teaching and learning about writing as a human activity. As such, we strive to focus on teaching writing at all levels of the curriculum, not just in the first year. We also aim to promote more than just grammatical understanding of written discourse, but a full and flexible understanding of writing in the 21st Century. This includes multimodal expression as well as traditional, print-based and/or academic texts. As such, the focus on writing, as one of the central components of a liberal arts education, is closely integrated with speaking, thinking, and learning.


Writing is much more than correct grammar. It is also more than literature like poems and novels. Effective writing is rhetorical, accounting for audience, purpose, context and the medium of expression. Good writing makes a difference in the world. In many ways, today's students need to know far more about writing than ever before because writing happens in a variety of situations and contexts. Indeed, most students are writing more than ever through social networking sites like Facebook, networked gaming sites, and instant messaging. Businesses, governments, and citizens are all linked through writing and knowing how to navigate this is crucial to 21st century success.

Writing is also the medium for learning in much of education today. The deep, sustained engagement with reading and writing that learning requires cannot occur solely in one-sentence bits on a computer. Writers grow and learn through exposure, interpretation, and communication with others about all kinds of texts -- from experience, to academic arguments, popular culture, history, artistic expression, and non-print media. Such texts form a basis for writing in rhetorical situations where students receive feedback from instructors, peers, and staff in order to reflect upon and revise their own writing process.

Of course, one semester of writing cannot provide the amount of practice and instruction all or even most students need. Rather, students often need a transition between the demands of writing in high school contexts and the demands in a university setting. Thus, part of the first-year requirement provides a basis for students to move between generalized writing contexts and more specialized academic and professional contexts. Beyond the first year, exposure to other situations for and different kinds of writing expands students' repertoire; challenges them to apply a rhetorical understanding of writing in new contexts; integrates writing with reading, critical thinking, oratory, and performance; and, hopefully, instills a lifelong love of the power of human communication.

First-Year Writing

The First-Year Writing Program at the University of Northern Iowa strives to introduce students to appropriate modes, styles, technologies, and habits of effective written communication. We believe a strong first-year writing course can be a key element for academic and life-long success. To that end, we provide high-quality instruction within small classes to fulfill the Liberal Arts Core requirement in an appropriate university context. We do so through three main courses: College Research & Writing, The Craft of Academic Writing, and Critical Writing About Literature.

Current Membership

University Writing Committee Members 2011-2012 Academic Year.