University of Wisconsin-Madison launching Center for Teaching and Research in Writing

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is launching the Center for Teaching and Research in Writing. The CTRW harnesses the intellectual power of its constituent programs, and opens up those programs as research sites to researchers and teachers on the UW-Madison campus with an interest in writing and writing pedagogy.  It serves as a research home to faculty, instructional staff, and graduate students who wish to affiliate with the CTRW and conduct research using the intellectual resources found in its constituent units. 

 The CTRW serves as a resource for programs on the UW-Madison campus whose mission is the teaching of writing, including the departments of English, Communication Arts, and Life Sciences Communications, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and programs in Engineering Communication and Business Writing.  The CTRW intends over time to secure resources needed to create post-doctoral research positions and one-and two-semester fellowships for visiting faculty and instructional staff so they can conduct research at UW-Madison and in the CTRW’s writing programs.   

All of the CTRW’s constituent units – the Writing Center, the Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing  Fellows program, the program in English as a Second Language, English 100 (the department’s first-year writing course), English 201 (the department’s intermediate writing course), and the Greater Madison Writing Project (a National Writing Project site) – are woven into the UW-Madison’s culture of community engagement and outreach consistent with the Wisconsin Idea.  The Center will continue and amplify that mission, giving its research and teaching efforts a visibility and significance that other writing studies centers do not have.  To provide just a few examples, instructors in the CTRW’s component programs have won HEX grants through the Center for  the Humanities; the Writing Center’s Madison Writing Assistance program provides free one-on-one tutoring and writing assistance to community members at different locations around the city of Madison; the Greater Madison Writing Project has for over a decade run writing programs for youth and K-12 teachers statewide, including an award winning program for homeless youth; and the ESL program maintains ongoing  partnerships with the Literacy Network and Catholic Multicultural Center to provide English language instruction to the multilingual immigrant and refugee community in Madison and Dane County, and has partnerships with Cultural Linguistic Services.  The CTRW’s engagement with the community is consistent with all its component programs’ ongoing and deepening commitments to diversity, accessibility, and equity. 

 The CTRW’s goal is to serve as a hub for the various research activities that take place on and beyond the campus whose goal is to understand the theory, practice – and the teaching – of writing, its complexity, its interdisciplinary uses and their consequences.  It will serve as a resource for faculty, staff, and graduate students to understand – for example — how best practices among second language learning and international Englishes interanimate one another; the relation of the teaching of expository writing and technical writing; the relation among written and visual persuasion; how different disciplines shape writing (and how writing shapes those disciplines); and how classroom instruction and individual writing support foster a culture of writing.   

For questions about the CTRW, or about upcoming activities and events, please visit or contact Michael Bernard-Donals, CTRW Executive Director, at

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