The Miller Writing Center: A Brief History

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”  Joss Whedon

man speaking at graduation

Auburn University’s Office of the Provost formed the Writing Initiative Task Force in 2008 in order to improve writing on campus. After surveying faculty and students in every college, attending conferences to learn more about how others were teaching writing in the disciplines, and inviting experts to consult with them, the Task Force recommended, among other things, that the English Center be expanded to a university-wide Writing Center capable of serving all students in all courses.

The expanded writing center, named after John C. H. “Jack” Miller, Jr. (pictured to the right), the Board of Trustees member who championed attention to writing, opened in the fall semester of 2009. The staff of this newly expanded writing center consisted of both graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines who initially helped students with writing assignments coming from Auburn’s core curriculum. By summer 2010, the center was serving all students in all courses and helping with any kind of writing, whether it originated in a course assignment or not.

Since it began in 2009, the Miller Writing Center has worked to expand the support it offers student writers, including adding tutoring to support students in distance courses, adding locations to be closer to where students are working, and creating programs specifically for graduate students (WriteFest and Thesis and Dissertation Bootcamps). Under the direction of Dr. Travis Adams (2011-2013) and then Dr. James Truman, the Miller Writing Center has also provided leadership opportunities and professional development for its peer writing consultants by encouraging consultants to join the regional and national discussions about writing and writing centers happening in journals and conferences.

By Haley Petcher, Special Projects Intern