There can be a big difference between the skill set of a gifted early childhood professional and that of a successful graduate student. Some students need a hand strengthening the writing skills necessary to succeed in our master’s degree programs. Erikson offers an important academic resource for those students: the Kathy and Grant Pick Writing Program.
“I was in the program for my first year. It was probably the best thing that Erikson could have ever offered me.”
The program was named for a couple whose work exemplifies both talent and discipline — photographer and Erikson trustee Kathy Richland Pick and late Chicago journalist Grant Pick. Richland Pick’s compelling photographs grace this web site, Erikson’s lobby and common areas, and our printed materials. A taste of Grant Pick’s work can be found here.
“It really kept me focused, on task. It improved my writing. And it helped me understand theorists like Stern, or how to tie things together. I’d say to my tutor, ‘Hey, I’m just not understanding this guy, can you help me summarize this?’”
To ensure that every student who needs support gets into the program, all new master’s program students take a writing assessment after they are admitted. A completed writing assessment is required before you can register for your first semester courses. The assessment is offered online and takes approximately three hours to complete. If, on the basis of the assessment, you’re assigned to a writing tutor, you are required to attend.
“When I first was told that I would be assigned to a writing tutor, I thought, ‘I’m already being labeled, and I haven’t even started yet. Am I not smart enough?’ It was the complete opposite. I felt like I made a friend. And it wasn’t that I had to do more work than other people just to be at this school: I was getting help and working on papers that I had to write for classes.”
Once you’re in the program, you’ll attend weekly writing tutorials, consisting of one to four students and a writing tutor. The tutors are Erikson alumni; they know the content and they know the expectations, so they can help you understand readings as well as write course papers. Tutorials last approximately one hour and meet throughout the academic year.
“My adviser was just phenomenal. After the first year, she said, ‘You’ve got this, you know what you have to do, and I have nothing but trust in you. If you have any questions, call me at any time.’ From that point on, I was on my own.”
For some students, the program consists of working with their tutor throughout the academic year. Other students get a head start on the master’s program by taking a five-week summer writing seminar, Academic Writing Preparation. At the end of the seminar, the instructor evaluates each participant’s readiness to begin the master’s degree program.
In very rare instances when a student does not demonstrate the minimum writing skills needed, she or he will be asked to leave the master’s program at this point. The great majority of students, however, continue with the master’s program and start weekly meetings with a writing tutor.
We don’t charge students for the writing program, but students who miss tutorials without adequate notification are responsible for the hourly fee that writing tutors receive.