Writing instructor provides students the tools to succeed
"RCC is the best school I have ever taught at PERIOD,” declares Humanities instructor Chip Phillips. “It's a true community college, dedicated to making southern Oregon a better place."
Phillips, who has taught at San Diego State University, Mt. San Antonio College, Chaffey College, San Diego Mesa College, and Southern Oregon University, joined RCC’s faculty in 2000, teaching composition and literature classes.
"I love the dedicated, driven students here at RCC,” Phillips said. “They're not afraid to ask big questions, to seek new knowledge or to share their unique, often-inspiring personal stories. What more could an instructor ask for?"
Phillips helped RCC student Tommy Gulino build his writing skills, a subject Gulino had always avoided. Now Phillips instruction training is coming in handy for Gulino’s new career as a fire fighter.
“I’d never been good at writing, and Chip Phillips’ teaching style really helped,” Gulino said. “You’d write an essay and he’d put corrections on it and give you the opportunity to fix mistakes and turn it in for a better grade. It’s a more progressive approach and helped me learn to be a better writer,” Gulino said.
“Chip’s very approachable and laid back, and he remembers details about people’s lives and families,” Gulino added.
Phillips holds a bachelor’s in English from University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in American literature from San Diego State University. Phillips earned a doctorate in American literature from Claremont Graduate University.
RCC helped Tommy Gulino discover a new career
As soon as the alarm sounds at the Rural/Metro Fire Department station near Wilderville, Tommy Gulino grabs his turnout gear and jumps aboard the fire truck.
It roars off – lights blazing, siren blaring – heading out to fight a fire at a Cave Junction grocery store.
“There’s always something new and exciting to learn in this job. It’s never the same,” said Gulino, who is close to completing his Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Science at Rogue Community College. “It’s also an opportunity to help serve the community.”
The insights and skills Gulino gained at RCC have helped him clarify and reach his personal and professional goals, he says.
“RCC has helped me discover what I want to do and who I want to be,” he explained. “I came here with a plan (to study physical therapy), then that changed (to mechanical engineering), and now I have a different goal.”
Gulino, who grew up in Tucson, Ariz., moved to Grants Pass in 2008 when his wife Sarah graduated from University of Arizona’s pharmacy program and took a job at Three Rivers Community Hospital. Gulino had never attended college, and it took him a while to check out Rogue, but once there, he took to it right away.
“The Redwood Campus setting is park like. And the instructors are friendly and are there to help,” he explained. “It seems like they really enjoy their jobs.” Several instructors helped Gulino build skills in areas he’d previously avoided but come in handy in his new career.
“I’d never been good at writing, and Chip Phillips’ teaching style really helped,” Gulino said. “You’d write an essay, and he’d put corrections on it and give you the opportunity to fix mistakes and turn it in for a better grad. It’s a more progressive approach and helped me learn to be a better writer,” he added.
Bobbi Kidder’s public speaking class also was an asset, according to Gulino.
“It’s something I was really weak at, and was starting from scratch. I still don’t like public speaking, but now I can do it with confidence,” he explained. The class served him well as a student government senator when Gulino travelled to Salem with the Oregon Community College Student Association to lobby state legislators.
“We wanted to let them know there are faces behind the papers they sign,” he said.
“I’m not really a political person, so it was cool to see the nuts-and-bolts of the process.”
Now 28, Gulino started his previous career as a heavy equipment mechanic right out of high school.
“Then I started chasing the dollar. Paychecks made it hard to leave,” he said. But after earning a Fire Fighter I certification, Gulino was hired at Rural/Metro. Now he looks forward to his duty shifts.
“I work with good people, and you can’t beat the job,” he said. “I feel fortunate to have had this chance for change,” he added. “I would recommend RCC for anyone looking for education.”
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