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Jeffrey Walker, Chair PAR 3, Mailcode B5500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6109

Mission & Values

Our Mission

The Department of Rhetoric and Writing (DRW) was established to provide excellent writing instruction for undergraduates at UT-Austin. That core mission has not changed, but, as the unit has matured, other complementary goals have emerged:

  • To provide superb training and support for all assistant instructors -- graduate students who teach our writing courses.
  • To provide best-in-the nation professional preparation for future scholars, administrators, teachers, and professionals in rhetoric/composition and writing-related fields.
  • To be a national leader in mapping and transforming the relationships among writing, rhetoric, and technology.
  • To be a national leader in raising standards for public and professional discourse, reaching out in particular to teachers in elementary and secondary education.

Our Values

The DRW is proud of being an independent writing program with a national profile. As a unit within a research institution, we appreciate the opportunities we enjoy and the expectations that follow. We hire, tenure, and promote faculty on the basis of outstanding scholarship, teaching, and service. We staff our courses primarily with regular faculty and fully trained graduate students, a circumstance increasingly rare in American higher education. As a faculty, we affirm the following professional values:

  • Rhetoric and instruction in writing belong within the liberal arts tradition.
  • Teaching writing effectively requires professional status and disciplinary training.
  • Writing can be taught well using a variety of methods, theories, and technologies. There is no one right way.
  • Professional issues need to be discussed frequently and fairly -- and without acrimony or repercussions.
  • Policies of the DRW should be set by a well-informed, engaged faculty following established procedures.
  • A strong sense of community is desirable among all working in the DRW -- regular faculty, assistant instructors, staff, and students.
  • Faculty should design and teach courses that reflect their professional interests and strengths.
  • We have a responsibility to offer routinely any courses our students will need in an RHE minor or major.
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