Clemson Libraries; College of Arts and Humanities

Clemson Writing Lab celebrates 40 years of helping students connect, communicate


The Clemson Writing Lab marked its 40th anniversary on September 26 with a celebration in Cooper Library.

“We’re excited to mark the 40th anniversary of the Writing Lab at Clemson and celebrate the many contributions of Writing Fellows, graduate assistants, graduate writing consultants, assistant directors and directors throughout the years,” said Chelsea Murdock, director of the Writing Lab and a lecturer in the Department of English. “We’re not only celebrating where we’ve been but also where we are going.”

The Department of English established the Writing Lab in 1983 as a program designed to support students in their ENGL 1030 courses, also known as first-year composition. Since then, it has expanded its services to support both undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty writers across the full breadth of courses and disciplines offered at Clemson University.

As the Writing Lab grew over the years, it also changed locations from its original home in Daniel Hall to the Academic Success Center in 2012, to the 3rd floor of Cooper Library in August 2022.

“The new space is the largest we have ever had,” Murdock said. “It allows us to host events such as workshops and write-ins, and it allows us to support many more students for appointments.”

Writing is a skill that takes shape over a lifetime. There are few skills more important to develop, no matter what career or industry you are in.

Nicholas Vazsonyi, Founding Dean, College of Arts and humanities

Both space and technology have helped the Writing Lab increase its impact, as it now supports writers with a combination of in-person appointments, Zoom appointments, and email feedback.

Over the past decade, the writing lab has hosted over 25,000 appointments and supported over 10,000 writers. During just the 2022-2023 school year, the lab held a total of 1,441 student appointments and supported 892 undergraduate and graduate student writers representing every undergraduate program and eight graduate programs. 75 percent of their appointments supported students on course assignments, and 25 percent engaged with communication such as emails, application materials and creative writing. A survey of students who had used the Writing Lab indicated that 90 percent would return.

“Writing is a skill that takes shape over a lifetime. There are few skills more important to develop, no matter what career or industry you are in,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, founding dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “Writing is one of the core pillars of our new College and the most important discipline we bring to the entire academic enterprise of Clemson. The Writing Lab is at the heart of this initiative, and we are so proud of its history and the quality of its contribution.”

Writing Lab director Chelsea Murdock (far left) and Writing Fellows celebrate with the Tiger Cub at the lab’s 40th anniversary.

In August 2023, the Writing Lab received Center Recognition and Certification of Excellence from the Southeastern Writing Center Association. This certification was crafted for writing centers by writing centers and evaluates writing support based on a series of factors including appointments, programming, professional development and community impact.

In 2023, the Writing Lab developed a new strategic plan, “Constellate,” to align its future with Clemson Elevate, the University’s own bold strategic plan.

“The Constellate plan signals our dedication to providing high-quality writing support, facilitating expansive undergraduate and graduate programming, and empowering Clemson writers to achieve their fullest potential. We just celebrated the first 40 years of the Clemson Writing Lab’s impact. Now, we look forward to what we can do next.”

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