Colorado State University-Pueblo offers numerous tutoring programs in order to assist its students throughout their college journey. Located in LARC 251 is one such tutoring service known as the Writing Room.
The room is focused on helping students improve their writing, which can include essays, resumes or creative musings.
Last semester, the Writing Room received a new head coordinator, Chad Pickering.
In order to learn more about Pickering and his vision for the Writing Room, the CSU-Pueblo Today sat down with the newcomer.
CSU-Pueblo Today: Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from?
Chad Pickering: Well, I’m from the wonderful island state of Hawaii. In fact, it’s the 50th state of the union. It’s funny because people tend to forget that. I recently went to the post office in order to mail something back to Hawaii, and the postman said, “International? That’s going to cost more.” I had to laugh at that. I said that Hawaii was still part of the union, and he said, “Oh, that’s right.” It’s kind of amusing to me. So, yeah, I’m from the island of Oahu.
What did you get your degree in?
Before this, I was earning my master’s degree from the English department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I specialized in a sub-discipline called composition and rhetoric. I’m really into the history of rhetoric and rhetorical theory in general. It also opened my eyes to more cultural studies-based approaches to studying language. While I was getting my master’s degree, I was also fortunate enough to earn one of those coveted graduate assistantships. It allowed me to join the faculty as a junior member. I worked as a teaching assistant and as a Writing Center tutor. Luckily, the director of that Writing Center also happened to be a professor of mine, and she soon asked me to become her assistant director. I was reminded that Writing Centers were great, and I enjoyed being in them. I enjoyed working in them. Before that I was getting my bachelor’s degree in English at the same university.
Is becoming a writing room coordinator something you always wanted to do? When you graduated, what did you want to do?
I can’t say that I always wanted to be the coordinator of a writing center for a college. That’s probably a more recent development of mine. I think, when I entered graduate-level courses, I thought to myself that I was going to be an English professor. I would join a faculty somewhere and teach courses. At some point, before I graduated with my master’s degree, I allowed some of my family to convince me of the virtues of seeking other career paths outside of academia. I don’t know why I let people convince me of that. Maybe it was because those kinds of job opportunities at the time were kind of crappy. Eventually, though, I reminded myself that I envisioned working at a college institution, and I refocused my attention on getting a job in academia again. I’d worked in Writing Centers a lot, so I started searching for those types of positions. One of the first job openings that came up was this one, so I immediately applied. It helped that Colorado was one of the states I wanted to move to. It was something that I eagerly and aggressively applied for.
How would you say your experience here has been so far?
I’m happy to say that it’s been very pleasant. The important thing is that everyone here has made me feel extremely welcome. I had such a warm reception.
As the Writing Room coordinator, what do you believe the mission of a Writing Room should be?
That’s a great question. I envision the Writing Room to be a place that promotes academic literacy among college students—a place that makes the conventions of academic and professional writing more explicit. Our mission is to assist students at this fine institution to become more confident and sophisticated writers and to help them meet the challenges posed by their classes. We also want to make it a warm environment for writers to share their work.
Do you have any future plans or projects you want to incorporate into the program?
That’s somewhat of a difficult questions to answer. We would really like to increase the training for our tutors. We want to give them a place where they can talk about their challenges, concerns, or hopes when it comes to craft of tutoring. I’d also like to increase the presence of the Writing Room on campus. I’d like people to know about us and about what we could do for them. So increasing our presence would be good.
The Writing Room is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students are recommended to make an appointment in order to ensure tutor availability, although walk-ins are also welcome.
LARC 251 also offers tutoring assistance in certain general education courses such as foreign languages and political science.
For those who don’t have time for a face-to-face session, the Writing Room has an online tutoring service. The Online Writing Lab, which is headed by coordinator Felicia Tapia, can be accessed through the Writing Room’s homepage via CSU-Pueblo’s website.
Once an assignment is submitted, a tutor will look over the student’s paper and make suggestions about how they can improve their writing. Submitted papers are returned within two business days.