The Client-Based Program, created by the late Dr. Summer Smith Taylor, matches Clemson classes with local clients who need communication deliverables. Students in the classes work in teams to create the deliverables needed by the clients. Entire classes work with the same client on similar documents. The clients (non-profit agencies, public schools, corporations and university departments) publish and distribute the deliverables written by students to meet needs in their operations.
Since 2003, over 167 classes, 5,200 students, 30 faculty and 325 clients have been a part of the program. Students have produced over 1,006 deliverables, ranging from white papers and research reports to fact sheets and brochures, from poster presentations and instruction manuals to web sites, multimedia presentations, and radio, TV and print advertisements.
The program is designed to help students learn communication skills that will transfer to the workplace. Students are exposed to the complexities of actual audiences and actual needs, and they learn to solve problems through writing. The projects, and the enthusiastic involvement of the clients, demonstrate to students the value placed on communication in the workplace.
Our Amazing Clients
Clemson Area African American Museum
William Cunningham’s business writing courses worked with the Clemson
African American Museum through the CBP. This program has allowed Cunningham’s students to write a South Carolina Humanities Mini Grant for the museum. Two of his spring classes continued this project. His third business writing class for the spring worked with Dr. Rhondda Thomas and her project entitled ‘Call My Name.’ This class worked to write a South Carolina Humanities Major Grant for her project.
Clemson Emeritus College
Megan Lee Pietruszewski’s business writing classes partnered with the Clemson Emeritus College, which houses 748 retired faculty members and serves to help faculty stay engaged during retirement. In the fall, students helped gauge faculty interest in future events, developed a marketing plan for the college with recommendations of future events, campaigns, logos and student organization partnerships, as well as conducted a content evaluation with recommendations for weekly newsletters, blog posts and website content.
The Tiger & The Writing In the Disciplines Channel
Mike Pully’s Writing for News Media Class includes one section of 18 students who complete feature stories, news trend articles and data stories for The Tiger, Clemson’s student newspaper. Additionally, he teaches three sections of Science Writing and Communication, including 62 students, who work with the WID Channel. Students work in teams to complete instructional guides on how to complete common documents in the STEM fields for the WID Channel Website.
How can I get involved?
Who can be a client?
Clients may be non-profit agencies, companies, public schools or university entities. Clients should be based relatively close to Clemson so that students can visit the client’s site when needed.
Who does the work for the client?
The program matches business and technical writing classes with writing projects suggested by clients. Students work in teams to complete the writing projects during the semester while receiving focused instruction from their teachers.
Students in the business and technical writing classes are juniors and seniors. They receive intensive training in effective writing for workplace situations. Business writing students are generally business majors, while technical writing students are generally majors in engineering, science, and agriculture.
What kinds of deliverables can be produced?
The students can complete revision and editing projects. Some classes can produce videos and other deliverables requiring specialized technologies.
In addition, the students can write:
• Web sites
• Fact sheets
• Grant proposals
• Research-based reports
• Spec sheets
• Employee handbooks
• Form letters
• Training manuals
• Operations manuals
• Radio advertisement scripts
• And many other types of documents
What is the production time?
Production time depends on the type of document you request and the number of students who work on that document. We can work with you to determine the schedule that is appropriate for your document.
A single team of students can generally complete a shorter document (such as a one- or two-page fact sheet) in about a month, or a medium-length document (such as a brochure or instruction manual) in a month or two. A class is typically divided into four or five teams, each of which would need a similar project.
Long documents (such as research-based reports) generally require the collaboration of several teams within a class. The teams usually work on these extensive projects all semester, or about three months.
What would I do as a client?
Clients collaborate with the program coordinator, a writing teacher, and students. The collaboration generally follows these steps:
- Client and program coordinator meet to brainstorm about potential writing or editing projects.
- Coordinator matches client with a teacher and class for the upcoming semester.
- Client, teacher, and program coordinator develop the specific parameters of the project, including the type of document, production schedule, and number of students needed to complete the document.
- Once the semester begins, students become acquainted with client via email, guest visit to the classroom, and/or published information.
- Students learn about the operations and the communication needs of the client company or agency through a site visit.
- Students do necessary research and produce drafts. During this process, students learn relevant communication skills in the classroom and receive feedback from the client.
- Client and teacher evaluate the drafts, and the students revise them.
- Students deliver a document that meets the client’s needs.