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Dissertation Writing Retreat

The Dissertation Writing Retreat provides participants with space, time, and encouragement to make progress on their doctoral dissertations in the company of other writers.The retreat is made possible with the resources and support of the Graduate School, Sheridan Center, and Libraries, and is lead by Charles Carroll, Interim Program Manager, Writing Center.   

The retreat stems from a Graduate Student Council (GSC) request to the Graduate School for increased writing support at the Center, beyond one-on-one 60-minute conferences.

Here’s what some participants of the Summer 2018 retreat said about their experience:

"Having a support group of returning retreaters was a great incentive and writing community. The participants were positive, supportive and committed." – Amy Kerner, PhD Candidate in History

"The writing retreat truly exceeded all of my expectations. The sense of community I felt and learning that my struggles are commonly experienced by my peers has helped me to feel less afraid to just get started on writing. I feel energized and more confident to in my ability to write productively." – Retreat participant

"I really appreciated the wide variety of tips and techniques presented to us to try out, because nothing works for everyone, but a few things will really work for each of us. I also liked having a really collegial and dedicated group that was enthusiastic about checking-in and totally motivated to stay on task when it was time for writing. Stacy's enthusiasm was infectious as well!" – Josie Johnson, PhD Candidate in the History of Art and Architecture

What's a useful tip you learned from the retreat.
"I will recognize that even "organizing" activities (like getting my citations in order) are important steps in the process and I should count that as productive work. This puts me in a more positive frame of mind that helps me feel like I'm making progress and can tackle the writing step when I get to it." – Retreat participant

"I enjoy taking a quick assessment of where I am before and after a writing session. This helps me to focus on my goals and to notice my achievements." –  Emily Monty, PhD Candidate in the History of Art and Architecture

How did the retreat help you achieve your writing goals?

"The excellent structure helped me break down my chapter development goals into manageable pieces which led to sustainable progress at a faster rate than usual." – Sam Caldis, PhD Candidate in Ancient History

When: Monday, January 13 - Friday, January 17

Who can participate?
All doctoral students who are in the process of writing their dissertations, that is students who have had their dissertation proposals accepted and have sufficient research completed and/or data collected to proceed with writing.

What is the format?
New participants will meet in room 520 of the Sciences Library in the morning to set writing goals over coffee and tea, followed by two hours of writing time and a break for lunch, which is often accompanied by informal discussions and info-sessions. In the afternoon, participants spend three hours writing, with one-on-one support available from Writing Associates and Research Librarians and then close the day by regrouping to check-in about writing goals.

Where: 5th Floor, Science Library * (any changes to location, if any, will be announced in advance of the retreat).

Register nowPlease register early as space is limited. The retreat can host up to 20 new participants and include returning participants as space allows.

Dissertation Retreat participants are expected to

  • Attend all five days of the retreat (9:30am - 4:00pm, Mon.-Fri.) and participate in all morning and afternoon group meetings.
  • Bring a laptop and any books, articles, and other materials needed for writing. If music stimulates writing productivity, bring and use your headphones.
  • Take breaks as needed.
  • Agree to turn off or silence cell phone and other noise-making devices.
  • Keep what happens during the retreat at the retreat.

For questions, contact Kirk Robinson, Manager of Student Development, Graduate School.