College of Arts and Humanities

This Clemson professor is helping Guardian Ad Litem volunteers to become better writers


A Clemson University professor is leading a training workshop to help Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) volunteers across South Carolina become more effective writers and better represent children in the state foster care system through court proceedings.

Jordan Frith, the Pearce Professor of Professional Communication, was contacted by the GAL training manager for the Children’s Law Center of South Carolina to host a special advocate training on court reports and professional writing for GALs and court-appointed special advocates (CASA). The webinar will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, April 19, and will focus on the best practices of technical and legal writing to produce effective court reports.

A guardian ad litem is an individual appointed by a court to represent “the best interests” of a child involved in a court proceeding, according to the South Carolina Bar. These volunteers work closely with foster children, the individuals or group homes fostering the children and the parents who have temporarily lost custody of their child. A GAL is tasked with writing court reports about the child’s well-being and the biological parents’ progress toward regaining custody.

Effective court reports can be difficult to write. But they are necessary so that a GAL can provide important information to a family court judge, who determines the next steps for a child’s future.

Frith’s expertise lies in various forms of professional writing as a technical communication professor. When he lived in Texas, Frith completed the 40-hour CASA training and served as guardian ad litem for a teenager in the foster care system for four years.

“Volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem for a teenage boy who had spent years moving from group home to group home was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Frith said. “I can barely comprehend what many of these children in the foster care system have gone through in their lives, and I’m happy to give back in any way I can.”

Jordan Frith is the Pearce Professor of Professional Communication at Clemson University. A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Frith came to Clemson in 2019 after spending six years as a professor in the Department of Technical Communication at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He earned his Ph.D. in communication, rhetoric and digital media from North Carolina State University in 2012. Frith has a deep interest in communication infrastructures. He is the author of six books, more than 40 journal articles and serves as the editor-in-chief of “Communication Design Quarterly.” Buy his most recent book on the history of the barcode here.

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