HEERF funding bolsters writing support for undergraduate students

By Chloe Park |

Since the start of the pandemic, online learning and the impacts of COVID-19 have presented challenges for UCR students. With limited resources available to support student achievement and persistence, School of Education (SOE) advising staff noted flagging GPAs and higher student withdrawal rates were threatening to exacerbate gaps in educational opportunity and degree completion.

In order to lessen these challenges, the SOE sought support from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to strengthen the Undergraduate Writing Support Program which was launched in 2019.  The HEERF funding ($110K) allowed SOE to expand the Program, which initially had only one writing assistance coordinator, with more graduate and undergraduate student staff who serve as writing mentors and coordinate events and workshops. The grant is designed to bolster writing support systems encouraging Education Majors to enact more assertive help-seeking behaviors that enhance students’ sense of belonging, transfer pathway success, time-to-degree, and graduation rates.

According to the proposal led by Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert Ream, “We chose this central focus of writing because it is among the most important process skills that underlies all content areas—not only the ones our students will be addressing within the Education Major, but across all courses and disciplines. Writing improves the ability to think more clearly, communicate effectively, and share a wide range of perspectives that can be heard by others."

The Writing Support Program offers assistance to students through one-on-one appointments or workshops to help students learn APA formatting, how to correctly cite research, write strong sentences with supporting evidence, and even how to write about themselves for graduate school applications.

Find out more about the Writing Support Program here, and meet the team below:

Delaney Rood

Writing Support Coordinator Delaney Rood is a Master’s student in the SOE’s Higher Education Administration and Policy program. Delaney is a first-generation college student whose higher education journey began at College of the Desert (COD) in Palm Desert, California, where she graduated with an A.A. in English with highest honors. There, she began her career in student supportive services at the Tutoring and Academic Skills Center as an American Sign Language Tutor, and eventually, as a Writing Tutor. She also worked as Personal Writing Tutor to students in the Disabled Students Programs and Services center. After transferring to UCR, Delaney continued her work in student support as an Undergraduate Writing Tutor at the Academic Resource Center. 

Delaney graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCR in 2020 with a B.A. in English. In her graduate program, Delaney’s research focuses on issues of access and retention for marginalized, underserved, and nontraditional student groups, specifically in the area of developmental education and student supportive services. In addition to her years of experience in academia, Delaney also has a decade of experience in management and training coordinating in the food and beverage industry. Delaney joined the SOE Team in 2020 as the Writing Support Coordinator for the SOE Undergraduate Writing Support Program. Since, with the support of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant, SOE’s Writing Support Program has flourished and now includes Graduate Writing Mentors and Undergraduate Writing Assistants that support SOE undergraduates through every step of the writing process. Outside of work, Delaney is an amateur photographer and enjoys travel, hiking, weightlifting, and exploring Southern California. 

Eric Davidson

Writing Mentor Eric Davidson is a Ph.D. student in the SOE's Higher Education Administration & Policy Program. After finishing high school in his hometown of San Diego, California, he spent nine years living in Tucson, Arizona where he earned his B.A. in political science and M.A. in higher education from the University of Arizona. Eric brings years of mentoring experience to the Writing Support Program from his time spent as a teaching assistant, lecturer, and academic coach. In his academic life, he writes about higher education policy and economics, most notably on the subject of intercollegiate athletics as a member of UCR's Center for Athletes' Rights and Equity. In his free time, Eric enjoys many outdoor sports- snowboarding, skateboarding, cycling, rock climbing, and hiking. He is also a songwriter and record producer.

Nhi Bui


Student mentor Nhi Bui majors in English with a Psychology minor at UCR. Having published an academic article and an independent poetry collection, Nhi’s experience writing across curriculums and genres lends to a passion to share the literature arts with her peers. With a background in education, her training extends from teaching preschool to college age students. She hopes to attend graduate school and settle in a Southern California suburb after graduation. When not writing, Nhi can be found feeding her pet snake, playing Dungeons & Dragons, or forwarding astrology memes.

Natalie Gomez


Student mentor Natalie Gomez is an undergraduate student at UCR studying English and a supplemental instruction leader under the English department at Chaffey Community College. Natalie's goal is to take her reading and writing abilities to law school. She has a passion for helping others improve their writing skills and build confidence in their writing. In the Writing Program, Natalie can’t wait to build a welcoming and comfortable community at UCR through writing.




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