PULLMAN, Wash.—The Writing Program at Washington State University made its 10th appearance as one of the nation’s top academic programs in the “America’s Best Colleges 2012” report by U.S. News & World Report released this week.
Named an “Academic Program to Look For” in the “Writing in the Disciplines” category, the Writing Program puts WSU in the company of 17 other universities, including Harvard, Duke and Princeton. It is the only program from the PAC-12 to make the list.
“These colleges typically make the writing process a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum,” said the ranking page online. “Students are encouraged to produce and refine various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines.”
“WSU provides a writing-rich curriculum that spans the entire undergraduate experience,” said Diane Kelly-Riley, co-director of the Writing Program. “In addition to the first-year writing and 400 upper-division ‘Writing in the Majors’ courses, many general education courses have substantial writing components.
“A significant number of instructional faculty at WSU participate in the Writing Program—by assigning and evaluating writing in their courses, by approving course papers for submission for students’ Junior Writing Portfolios, and by serving as raters in the WSU Writing Assessment Program,” she said.
“The Writing Program is as much a faculty support enterprise as a student service unit,” said Writing Program co-director Lisa Johnson Shull. “Our hope is that faculty seeking to design effective writing assignments and compatible assessment criteria will invite us to help them.”
Elements of the Writing Program, a program in the University College at WSU, have existed for more than a quarter century at the university. The program took its current shape around 1991.
The WSU Writing Program has been on the list for 10 of the 11 years that the U.S. News & World Report “Academic Programs to Look For” list has been published.
“Writing in the Disciplines” is one of eight categories of academic programs that are believed to lead to student success, as identified by the magazine and education experts including staff at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
The magazine’s report listed WSU as the 57th best state university in the nation, down from 52nd last year, and 115th among universities nationally, a decline from its ranking of 111th one year ago.
The slip in ranking occurred despite an improvement in the university’s overall score, which increased from 40 last year to 45 this year, and its first-ever listing as one of the nation’s “Best A+ Schools for B Students.”
Several key indicators leading to WSU’s ranking also remained unchanged from the previous year. WSU’s academic reputation index score, which improved significantly last year, remained unchanged at 64, as did both the university’s freshman retention rate of 83 percent and overall graduation rate of 69 percent.

Diane Kelly-Riley, Writing Program, 509-335-1323, dokelly@wsu.edu
Lisa Johnson Shull, Writing Program, 509-335-7695, lisaj@wsu.edu

Media contact:
David Clarke, WSU University College, 509-335-8070, david.h.clarke@email.wsu.edu