Writing Center hires new director with new ideas

Sept. 9, 2013

Monika Reinholz
[email protected]

The Writing Center has a new director.

“It’s a fun job, great community and people have been really welcoming to me,” said recently-hired Marilee Brooks-Gillies.

Hailing from Michigan, Brooks-Gillies obtained her Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing from Michigan State University. She also earned her master’s degree from Central Michigan University and volunteered at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College’s writing center during her master’s program.

She replaced Traci Freeman, who was director from 2005-2012. Freeman left UCCS to take a job as director of the Colket Center for Academic Excellence at Colorado College. “I had a great opportunity presented to me. I received an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Freeman said.

Brooks-Gillies said she loved writing centers because they connect so many different pieces of campus.

She added it’s wonderful to work with students who aren’t just in her first-year writing classes but also working on very different genres, thesis projects and dissertations. To her, that was exciting and the key of a writing center.

Brooks-Gillies relocated to UCCS because it seemed to be a more sustainable community. During her interview for the director position, she said she noticed a lot of good will toward the centers, and everyone knew what they were and understood how to use them to their advantage.

“Wow, that seems like a really cool community to be part of,” Brooks-Gillies recalled thinking at the time.

There are a few changes in the works, too, including different hours.

The Writing Center, located at Columbine Hall 316, is now open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is also open for Online Writing Lab, or OWL, appointments from 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. ORCA appointments can be made during any time during the previously mentioned hours.

Another change coming is the phasing out of the OWL this semester. In previous semesters, students could send their papers to the Writer Center via an online form. Responses were sent between 24-72 hours later, depending on the number of papers received.

Due to difficulty determining OWL’s fluctuating budget and staffing needs, it will be replaced by the Online Real-time Consultation, or ORCA, program.

Using Blackboard IM, students can share their desktop with the consultant so both parties can see and work on the paper together. Another change is to make the workshops and classroom presentations more interactive.

Currently, the Writer Center has 12 people on staff, two of which are also students that work at the center a few hours a week.

“I would love to have a bigger staff so if anyone is interested, you are encouraged to apply,” said Brooks-Gillies. In order to work at the center, one has to take ENGL 1310, 1410 and 4800. ENGL 4800 is currently called Peer Tutoring Across the Curriculum but will be renamed Writing Center Theory and Practice.