Changes in Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)


The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) announced at summer’s start the release of the 2010 revised classification code for instructional programs in the United States, which will be used to report institutional data to the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS). The new CIP code includes revisions and additions for rhetoric and composition/writing studies that will allow our programs for the first time to be represented and reported accurately in educational statistics. It is important for us to make sure that this change is properly implemented on campuses.

As many of you know, Syracuse University’s Louise Phelps has worked tirelessly to ensure that Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies stand out as a visible discipline within academe and that students in programs within our discipline be recognized and counted in the national statistics. In 2008, she was joined by a CCCC Task Force (Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Kay Halasek, Gail Hawisher, Doug Hesse, Krista Ratcliffe, and David Russell) to draw up proposals to petition NCES for changes in the CIP code. Because these efforts were successful, we now need to work proactively to assure that existing degree programs are reclassified for next year’s reports and that new degree programs are assigned the new codes.

New Classification

All degree completions after July 1, 2009 will be reported under the new CIP codes. That means we can and should be requesting from our universities reclassification of all undergraduate and graduate programs offering degrees or certificates in Rhetoric and Composition, Writing Studies, and/or Professional/Tech Communication.

The following codes are available under the new 4-digit series:

23.13 Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies

23.1301 Writing, General
23.1302 Creative Writing
23.1303 Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing
23.1304 Rhetoric and Composition
23.1399 Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies, Other.


Steps to Take Now

Contact your university IPEDS “keyholder,” who resides in different places on different campuses (e.g., registrar’s office, institutional research, provost’s office, and/or grad school). All of us on the Task Force found these colleagues to be enormously helpful, and it is their responsibility to report graduation data to NCES. Provide the keyholder with the code that best matches your program. With everyone’s help, we should be able to ensure the appropriate classification or reclassification of degrees in our field so that they are recorded accurately in government databases as part of Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies.


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