At its annual conference last month, the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) honored Bonnie Devet, English professor and director of the College of Charleston Writing Lab, with the prestigious SWCA Achievement Award. This award recognizes the outstanding, sustained body of work of a writing center director and his or her contributions to the writing center community at large.

“I am very honored to receive this distinction,” says Devet. “I feel privileged to represent the College in receiving this recognition.”

Staffed by trained paraprofessionals, the Writing Lab provides students with assistance in every stage of writing term papers, essays, letters, memos or book reviews. Consultants do not proofread papers; instead, they act as an audience, helping students review grammatical rules, principles of punctuation and the structure of sentences, paragraphs and essays. They also are trained to listen to students’ ideas and ask questions that empower students to make changes to their writing. In other words, they work with the writers, not necessarily with the writing.

“The SWCA Achievement Award validates the training that the Writing Lab consultants receive and the service the Writing Lab offers the students at the College,” says Devet. “It reflects the hard work of the consultants and the Writing Lab. It also shows that, in the field of writing center studies, the CofC Writing Lab is a leader.”

And, as the first writing center to be certified in the state, it always has been. And that’s largely because it’s been under Devet’s leadership.

“Dr. Devet has dedicated the bulk of her professional career to crafting, honing and maintaining excellence in peer-led writing support for the entire campus community,” says Lindy Coleman, director of the Center for Student Learning at the College. “That’s why it’s such an appropriate award for her. This recognition from Dr. Devet’s peers in the field echoes what we already know: The work of the Writing Lab is a win-win for the Center for Student Learning and for the College!”