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The Thompson Writing Program promotes excellence in teaching with a focus on active learning and writing as a means of critical inquiry.  It is widely acknowledged to be one of the premier academic writing programs in the country.  Our instructional model is imitated and the leadership of the program are in demand as consultants for writing and general education curricula.

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Duke students in Writing 101: Can Chimps Have Culture? celebrated #lemurweek with a trip to the Duke Lemur Center! For their final project, students in this course write proposals for research they would like to conduct on an aspect of culture that may be shared with other primates. At the Duke Lemur Center, they learned about lemur research and conservation.

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Composing Knowledge in the Digital Age

The Thompson Writing Program Digital Writing + Pedagogy Lab presents a series of talks and rountables on April 16 & 17, 2014

Critical pedagogues Jesse Stommel and Pete Rorabaugh will join the Duke community to lead campus-wide conversations focused on Composing Knowledge in the Digital Age. Find details and registration for these events here.

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Critical Ink 2014

Critical Ink 2014 will take place on Wednesday, April 16 from 9:30am – 4:00 pm. The venue is the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) at Smith Warehouse, Bay 4.

The keynote address, “Critical Pedagogy, Organic Writing, and the Changing Nature of Scholarship” by Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel, will be presented from 10:30 – 11:30am in FHI’s Garage.

About the Conference:

Critical Ink is an annual TWP-sponsored conference that showcases the writing of Duke first-year students. The conference offers students an opportunity to publicize and discuss the academic writing and scholarly inquiry they have undertaken early in their college careers.

Watch a one-minute video summary of the conference by its Chair, Aria Chernik or click here to visit the conference website.

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Duke-Durham Writes Studio Reception

Come celebrate the Duke-Durham Writes Studio pilot projects exploring the Thompson Writing Program’s partnership with three Durham Public Schools:

The reception will take place on Tuesday, May 6 from 7-9pm. Please click here for full event details.

The TWP LAMP Initiative

The Bacca Foundation has given Duke a $5 million gift to fund a new undergraduate program focused on building strong, contemporary communication skills in our students. The program, called Language Arts and Media Program (LAMP), will engage every first-year student in learning a broad range of communications skills for traditional and new media.

The Thompson Writing Program will be at the center of this effort, given our strong commitment to undergraduate education, our history of innovation in writing pedagogy, and our interdisciplinary expertise that includes faculty teaching and scholarship related to new media, public scholarship, and oral communication.

To learn more about our program's leadership, please click here.

Thompson Writing Program Annual Events

The Thompson Writing Program (TWP) helps students develop as writers from their first through senior years at Duke, and supports faculty who teach writing in a wide range of courses across the curriculum.   We do this in several ways:

Critical Ink: A Conference of Undergraduate Student Writing (April 16) is an annual multidisciplinary conference that features the best student writing and undergraduate research produced in Duke’s TWP. Reflecting the wide range of the program’s faculty specialties, the conference includes multimodal presentations and posters in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. This initiative provides an invaluable forum for students to share their ideas with their peers and contribute to campus intellectual life. Critical Ink emulates academic conferences, including a competitive selection process and expert respondents to the various presentation formats.


Deliberations, the TWP's journal of first-year writing published every October, features original student essays from the previous year's first-year writing classes. During Family Weekend, the authors discuss their projects at a reception honoring their work.


National Day on Writing (October 20) is a day to celebrate writing in all its diverse forms. Campuses around the country are finding ways to recognize how we write, when we write, why we write, and what we write. The TWP at Duke University is also finding ways to encourage people to talk about their writing and writing practices, as well as provide opportunities for people to write on that day.


The Duke Writes Symposium gives upper class students a unique opportunity to practice applying their academic writing skills to new situations beyond conventional course work.  All Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are eligible and attendance is free of charge. 

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Click here to read the second issue of Duke Writes, with articles including:

  • Director's Note about the LAMP Initiative
  • Overview of the Duke Reader Project
  • Towards a Legible Anthropology
  • Fresh Voices: The Family Story Project
  • 2013 Deliberations Colloquium
  • Top 10 Considerations for Public Scholarship

First-Year Writing

Writing 101 (20): Academic Writing is a one-semester course taken during the first year by all Duke University undergraduate students. 

Writing Studio

The Writing Studio offers Duke University undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to meet with trained writing tutors to discuss individual writing concerns.

Writing in the Disciplines

The primary aim of the Writing in the Disciplines program is to support our faculty in all aspects of their work with student writing, from consulting on assignment design or developing a new W-coded course to offering workshops on giving feedback and grading.

Faculty Write Program

The Faculty Write Program focuses on faculty-as-writers and aims to reinvigorate commitments to writing and teaching writing at Duke. The program emphasizes cultivating multidisciplinary communities of writers to advance faculty writing and conversations about writing and research across the curriculum.

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TWP faculty writing together