Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision and Mission

Land Acknowledgement

In the creation of this document, we acknowledge that our work takes place on the ancestral indigenous land of the Lenape people, in a country built on the labor of Black and Brown bodies -- a country with a history of othering groups that fall outside of the Eurocentric "norm." We also acknowledge that our effort serves as a critical intervention and disruption of the taken-for-granted, naturalized context of Eurocentric, white supremacist, and colonial practices that comprise the legacy of Western academia.

Vision Statement

Embedded in the etymology of the verb “to write” is both our warning and our invitation. Related to the words “carve, scratch, or cut,” the act of writing holds tremendous power. It can wound, deconstruct, and destroy. It can also shape, reconstruct, mark, and create. 

Through our teaching, scholarship, service, and advocacy--rooted in a mutual regard of care for self and others--the Rowan Writing Arts Department practices bold, creative, responsible, and mindful mark-making. For that reason, our mantra is now

Writing Arts: Making marks that shape the world.

Mission Statement


Integral to the work of higher education, the teaching of writing enacts the mission of the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts and the mission of Rowan University. Faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Writing Arts participate in multiple programs, initiatives, research and creative collaborations across campus including the first-year writing program; an undergraduate major with concentrations in creative writing, technical and professional writing, and publishing and writing for the public; a graduate program; and a writing center. 

The Department of Writing Arts holds writing to be one of humanity’s primary means for understanding itself and the world, and therefore writing must be studied, practiced, and critiqued.  As a primary way of understanding and intervening in an imperfect world, writing empowers and problematizes, critiques and repairs, connects and disconnects, oppresses and liberates. In turn, we commit to navigating these extremes to both nurture personal growth and create a sustainable, equitable, just, and life-giving world. Through our teaching, scholarly and creative activity, service, and advocacy, the Writing Arts department harnesses writing's power through consciously engaging anti-racist, anti-ableist practices.  We create spaces for students to acknowledge multiple writing traditions and to connect with and bear witness to complex narratives and differing experiences. In such spaces, students discover for themselves the connective power of writing and the freedom to make their marks within and beyond these traditions.

By acknowledging the diverse desires, commitments, and lived experiences of our students, we enact pedagogical approaches that are inclusive, challenging, and meaningful for both students and faculty. Respecting the perspectives of all those affected by our practices, we are guided by an ethic of care that holds us accountable to our students, our colleagues, our research partners, and our communities.


The Department of Writing Arts serves awide-ranging and diverse body of students: We teach students from high school seniors (through LEAP Academy) to graduate students, from all majors and campuses. Our students include first-year college writers, creative writers, multimodal designers and communicators, technical and professional writers, STEM majors writing in health and science fields, literacy educators, future editors and publishers, and future scholars of writing studies. Our classrooms, then, serve as laboratories, where students use language to question, discover, examine, analyze, tinker, mediate, compose, adapt, and remix meaning to harness its power to respond to and help form our world. 

The Department of Writing Arts affirms the inherent value of student voices. We value each of our students as individuals who bring with them important and relevant knowledge, experience, and skilled literacy and literary practices. At the same time, we cultivate writers with a sense of responsibility--not only to themselves--but to others, and we encourage students to embrace their roles as empathetic agents who make notable contributions to their families, relationships, communities, and the world. We assist students in learning to listen for complexity, difference, and congruence, empower them  to read contexts,  to appreciate the deep histories that led to particular language standards, and to understand when to meet, or when necessary, to challenge those standards, and to adapt flexibly to new writing situations when called or challenged to do so. We strive to help students flourish--to cultivate their own particular capacities--and we support them in intervening in the world in ways that are important and meaningful to them. This form of intervention is not only important in considering how or why we write, but it is also important in considering who we are writing for, and how it will expand our knowledge and purpose in writing. 

In order for students to have transformative, equitable, and responsible learning experiences, the department of Writing Arts is committed to teaching practices that: 

  • cultivate creativity and develop voice, as well as the willingness to take writerly risks with new writing styles
  • support students with different learning needs, abilities, and experiences
  • champion varied and diverse literacy and language practices
  • value writing beyond Standard American English, or White Mainstream English
  • actively oppose racism and other forms of oppression
  • acknowledge each student as a whole person whose well-being comes before academic performance
  • nurture both faculty and students to manage and maintain a work/life balance that leaves them supported and fulfilled 

Scholarly and Creative Activity:

As writers, from the creative to the scholarly, Writing Arts faculty produce work that opens up possibilities for more just, equitable, sustainable, and life-giving worlds. We are committed not only to advocating for and empowering our students, but also to advocating for and empowering the professional and public communities with whom we collaborate. We come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds--from creative writing, to rhetoric, to composition, to literature, to cultural studies. Through this diversity, our scholarship and creative activity contributes toward understanding and shaping the stories that enact our reality. 

As custodians and practitioners of language acts, some of us study how language works and how it can work to harm or oppress, and also how it can work to heal or resist oppression. Others craft new creative expressions, including narratives, lyricisms, and essays that bear witness to and make meaning from diverse human realities, and in turn, forge connections between writers and readers. Still, others study meaning-making beyond standard Englishes and alphabetic texts and promote democratic ways to circulate and perform meaning in accessible and innovative ways. Taken as a whole, our department’s scholarship and creative activity works to cultivate a more just, equitable, sustainable, and lifegiving world, one in which the humanity of every person is witnessed, affirmed, and honored. 

In order to produce creative and scholarly activity that cultivates a more just, equitable, and lifegiving world, we

  • craft innovative, imaginative, intelligent texts that educate, challenge, inspire, persuade, move and delight
  • celebrate collaboratively produced scholarship/creative work as equal in merit to "single-authored" work
  • champion scholarly and creative work that challenges traditional genres
  • offer opportunities for students and faculty to research, connect, and compose together
  • value open-access, freely accessible publishing mediums and venues
  • lead, participate in, and sustain professional and communal organizations

Service and Advocacy:

The Department of Writing Arts believes that service, community engagement, and advocacy are important avenues for social change within our department, college, institution, and beyond. As careful readers of texts and situations, we are trained to recognize how standard practices and policies operate to constrain possible actions and futures. Through this recognition, we seek to solve problems, address inequities, and imagine new futures by reframing policies, practices, and procedures. We advocate for vulnerable and marginalized voices to be recognized as stakeholders in community decision-making. Through our service and advocacy, we honor writing--not only as a practice and a process--but as a form of transformation.

In order to serve and advocate for our creative, intellectual, and neighborhood communities, we:

  • participate at all levels of university self-governance, at the department, college, and university levels
  • interrogate and revise existing policies to create more equity and inclusion for faculty and students 
  • prioritize equitable and transparent service assignments
  • invite service participation and leadership from all faculty members, regardless of status 
  • value community partnerships, whether with local schools, creative writing organizations, local nonprofits, or marginalized groups, and devote our expertise in learning and literacy to participate with and advise educational organizations beyond the university
  • lead and participate in our regional and national professional organizations as a team, rather than as individuals 
  • promote the work of local writers and provide publication and performance opportunities for all writers--from student writers to professionals
  • recruit and develop students through scholarship, academic, and creative opportunities that provide avenues for student self-expression
  • draw from our expertise to provide leadership in professional organizations at both the regional and national level 
  • cultivate relationships between the community and students to foster professional development