The Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City was the first creative writing degree program in a U. S. university. The workshop was made possible by the UI's decision early in the 20th century to grant academic thesis credit for creative work in the arts--another first in U. S. higher education. The Writers' Workshop has served as the blueprint for most of the other university-based creative writing programs, which have collectively transformed the terrain of American literary life. The program has produced a dozen winners of the Pulitzer Prize (most recently Jorie Graham in 1996), three recent U. S. Poet Laureates (Mark Strand,Mona Van Duyn and Rita Dove), and numerous winners of the National Book Award and other major literary honors.