University of Tennessee Names Its Writing Center After Alumna and Supporter Judith Herbert

The University of Tennessee is honoring a long-time supporter with the naming of the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Writing Center has existed in some capacity at the university since it was launched as the English Laboratory in 1937. Today it is a nationally recognized writing program that serves nearly 18,000 students yearly from every college on campus.

The center offers students free and individualized help throughout the writing process. Trained tutors read and discuss student writing in one-to-one conversations and offer constructive feedback. The center teaches students how to think about their written work from the brainstorming stage to final revisions. Most services are offered on a walk-in first-come, first-served basis.

Herbert and her husband, Jim, set up the Jim and Judi Herbert Excellence in Writing Endowment in 2017 to support undergraduate tutoring, services to upper-division students who are not English majors, and the development of workshops for faculty across academic disciplines to discuss best practices for designing and assessing writing assignments.

“It makes no difference what students are doing — nuclear physics, business, science, agriculture — they still need to be able to express it,” Herbert said. “It’s one thing to know it, but to be able to communicate it to someone else is very important.”

Herbert graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963.

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