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Heidi Estrem

Director of the First-Year Writing Program 

(208) 426-7073 | LA-256D

Heidi Estrem came to Boise State in 2006. Throughout this time, she has served as Director of the First-Year Writing Program. In collaboration with colleagues in the First-Year Writing Program, she coordinates ongoing professional development, curriculum development and revisions, assessment processes, TA support, and faculty hiring.

The First-Year Writing Program encompasses over 250 sections of English 101, 101P, and 102 each year, which are taught by nearly 80 instructors. In 2015, the First-Year Writing Program received an Innovations Award from the Council of Basic Writing.

Dr. Estrem has always been interested in questions about how teaching and learning writing works in particular contexts. Years ago, she studied students making the transition from high school to college writing. More recent projects have her investigating new writing instructors, student writing across campus, and policies and practices that increase student persistence in college. She is currently serving as an elected member of the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

When she is not at work, Dr. Estrem likes to play volleyball, attempt yoga, and cheer on her kids at their endless sporting events. She also likes the idea of being a runner. Maybe Boise will make her one yet.


  • Ph.D.,Rhetoric and Composition, University of Nevada, Reno
  • M.A., Rhetoric and Composition, University of Nevada, Reno
  • B.A., English, California State University, Chico


First-year writing, writing pedagogy, writing program administration, writing and transfer

Recent Publications

  • “What is Retention?” (with Pegeen Reichert Powell and Dawn Shepherd). A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators 2nd Edition. Ed. Rita Malenczyk. Anderson, South Carolina: Parlor Press. forthcoming 2016.
  • “Long Thresholds and Sparse Outcomes: Keeping Student Learning in Focus in Higher Education Reform Efforts” Naming What We Know eds. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press 2015.
  • “What New Writing Teachers Talk About When They Talk About Teaching” (with E. Shelley Reid). Pedagogy. 12.3 (Fall 2012): 449-480. Reprinted in The Best of Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals. eds. Steve Parks and Morris Young. Parlor Press. Forthcoming 2015.
  • “Relentless Engagement with State Educational Reform: Collaborating to Change the Writing Placement Conversation” (with Dawn Shepherd and Lloyd Duman). WPA: Writing Program Administration (Fall 2014): 88-128.
  • “The Effects of Writing Pedagogy Education on Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Approaches to Teaching Composition” (with E. Shelley Reid and Marcia Belcheir). WPA: Writing Program Administration 36.1
    (Fall/Winter 2012): 30-73. Winner of the Ken Bruffee Award for Best WPA: Writing Program Administration article in 2012-13.