About Us

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  • oversees the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa's writing intensive program (writing across the curriculum);
  • helps teachers design and effectively teach writing intensive (WI) classes;
  • places students into foundations writing courses (e.g., ENG 100)
  • conducts research projects on writing in the disciplines.


In 1987, writing-intensive courses became part of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa General Education Core Requirements. While we were phasing in the writing-intensive (WI) requirement, first-year students were required to take three WI courses in order to graduate. Today, students entering the University must take five WI courses and can choose from more than 400 WI classes each semester, in more than 70 departments. Courses designated as writing-intensive are labeled "WI" in the Schedule of Classes.

The Mānoa Writing Program oversees the designation of courses as writing-intensive and supports WI instruction. The Mānoa Writing Program has a Faculty Board--nine professors from different departments--that reviews professors’ requests for the WI designation. However, individual departments administer and evaluate the WI classes offered by their faculties.

WI instructors are invited to participate in a workshop on teaching with writing scheduled at the beginning of every semester. In addition, shorter customized workshops have been offered in individual departments, and for faculty members who teach sections of large courses. All instructors who will teach a WI class for the first time receive extensive support materials that describe writing assignments and teaching strategies that professors of WI courses at the University of Hawai‘i have found effective.


Most of our reports and papers listed below are available in hard copy. Please contact the Mānoa Writing Program if you would like something sent to you. Call (808) 956-6660 or email mwp@hawaii.edu.

Writing Matters

Writing Matters are two- to four-page handouts for teachers of writing-intensive classes. All issues are posted on this web site and can be accessed from the Writing Matters index.

National Publications

Brown, J.D., Hilgers, T., & Marsella, J. (1991).
Essay prompts and topics: Minimizing the effect of mean differences. Written Communication, 8, 533-556.
Marsella, J.M., Hilgers, T. L., and McClaren, C. (1992).
How students handle writing assignments: A study of eighteen responses in six disciplines. In C. Moran & A. Herrington (Eds.), Writing, teaching, and learning in the disciplines, pp. 174- 188. New York: Modern Language Association.
Despain, L., & Hilgers, T. (1992).
Readers' responses to the rating of non-uniform portfolios: Are there limits on portfolios' utility? WPA/Writing Program Administration, 16, 24-37.
Hilgers, T., & Bayer, A. S. (1993, July-August).
Student voices and the assessment of a new core writing requirement at the University of Hawai‘i. Assessment Update, 5, 4-5.
Hilgers, T., Bayer, A.S., Stitt-Bergh, M., & Taniguchi, M.
Doing More Than "Thinning Out the Herd": How Eighty-Two College Seniors Perceived Writing-Intensive Classes. Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 29, No. 1. February 1995.
Hilgers, T.L., Hussey, E.L., & Stitt-Bergh, M.
"As You're Writing, You Have These Epiphanies": What College Students Say About Writing and Learning in Their Majors. Written Communication, Vol. 16, No. 3. July 1999.

Reports for Teachers Series

Building Better Bridges from Hawai‘i High Schools to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa: What Mānoa-bound High School Graduates' Improved Essays Mean for High School and College Teachers.
Thomas Hilgers & Monica Stitt-Bergh. Mānoa Writing Program, 1993.

What High School Seniors and Their Teachers Say About Writing in DOE High Schools: A Preliminary Report.
Edna Hussey, Ann Bayer, & Thomas Hilgers. Mānoa Writing Program, 1994. (NOTE: Although the complete report is not available, we can send you a summary of the report.)

Technical reports:

  1. J.D. Brown. A Study of the Reliability and Validity of the 1987-1988 Mānoa Writing Program Placement Examination. 1988.
  2. J.D. Brown. A Study of the Reliability and Validity of the 1988-1989 Mānoa Writing Program Placement Examination. 1989.
  3. Thomas Hilgers (with Barbara Gearen). Not All that Weak, Not All that Ready: Distinguishing Features of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Students Identified in 1987 as Needing Special Entry-Level Instruction in Writing. 1990.
  4. LaRene Despain and Thomas Hilgers. Portfolios and the Assessment of Writing. 1990.
  5. J.D. Brown. A Study of the Validity and Reliability of the 1989-1990 Mānoa Writing Program Placement Examination. 1990.
  6. Joy Marsella. Placement Testing's Power: A Case Study of the Interaction between Placement and Pedagogy. 1990.
  7. Suzanne E. Jacobs. D and F in English 100: A Follow-up Study on Poor Academic Performance. June 1990.
  8. Thomas L. Hilgers. What College-Bound Student Essays Suggest About the Knowledge and Skills of Proficient and Less Proficient Writers. 1991.
  9. Louise Pagotto and Thomas L. Hilgers. Under prepared Freshmen in Writing Classes at UHM: Profiles and Perceptions. 1991.
  10. Thomas L. Hilgers, Ann Bayer, Megumi Makino, Monica Stitt. What Graduating Seniors Say About Writing-Intensive Classes at UH-Mānoa: A Report at the Mid-point of the Writing-Intensive Core Requirement's Schedule of Implementation. 1992.

National Conference Presentations on Results from Mānoa Writing Program Assessment Projects

  • Bringing student voices into program assessment. Panel and paper to be presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 1994.
  • Interviews as assessment. Panel and paper presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting, San Diego, March 1993.
  • Exit interviews: Why, how, and what we've learned. Paper presented at Seventh Annual American Association of Higher Education Conference on Assessment, Miami, June 1992.
  • Improving placement examination equitability, validity, and reliability. Paper presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, March 1992.
  • A large-scale, five-hour, two-essay writing placement examination: What we have learned from four years of experience with 8,000 students. Paper presented at National Testing Network in Writing Annual Conference on Writing Assessment, New York, November 1990.
  • The gap group: Needed interventions for unrecognized beneficiaries of changing admissions standards. Paper presented at annual meeting of American Educational Research Association, Boston, April 1990.
  • Evaluating evaluation through component analysis of a university-wide writing program. Paper presented at National Testing Network in Writing Seventh Annual Conference on Writing Assessment, Montreal, April 1989.

CCCC Position Statement on Writing Assessment

The CCCC Committee on Assessment wrote a position statement on writing assessment that was published in 1995. This document also contains a brief bibliography and other links.