Call for Applications – August Dissertation Retreat

Sponsored by The Writing Center and the Liberman Graduate Center

The Writing Center and the Liberman Graduate Center invite applications to participate in a dissertation writing retreat near the end of this summer.  All Ph.D. candidates at any stage in the dissertation process are eligible to apply.  Participants are required to commit to the entire retreat, pledge not to use the internet or email during retreat hours (unless necessary for their writing process), and have no other commitments during retreat hours.  For more information, see below.

To apply, send a brief, 1 page cover letter detailing your dissertation topic and a reflection on the writing process so far.  Please include: where you are in your process, your summer timeline for remaining work, and what you hope to accomplish during the retreat.  The deadline to apply is Monday, April 24.

Questions?  Contact Rob Patterson, director of The Writing Center at

Cost:  The retreat is free to participants.

What:  Twelve dissertation writers from across the university gathering in the Liberman Graduate Center for three weeks of concentrated dissertation-writing time in a supportive group setting:

  • Brief warm-up activities designed to jumpstart writing
  • Focused, sustained work on dissertations in scheduled blocks of writing time
  • Three Tuesday lunch discussions on issues and strategies related to dissertation writing (lunch provided)
  • Priority access to one-on-one dissertation consultations with Writing Center staff
  • Advice and support from recent PhDs
  • Free coffee, tea, and healthy snacks
  • Brief cool-down activities designed to facilitate the next day’s writing
  • Overnight storage for participants’ materials

When:  Mondays through Thursdays, August 1-17, 2017 (we begin on Tuesday in the first week of the retreat).  We begin each day at 9:00 and end at 4:00.  We break for lunch from 12:00 to 1:15.

Where:  The Liberman Graduate Center, Danforth University Center Suite 300

Why:  To help dissertation writers

  • Maintain their writing momentum from the summer into the fall semester, OR
  • Gain momentum from a less-than-productive summer and head into the fall semester having produced quality writing
  • Build supportive, interdisciplinary relationships among dissertation writers
  • Learn balanced and effective writing strategies and habits that continue post-degree
  • Learn how to provide productive feedback to peers

Dissertation After Dark:  The retreat leads in to The Liberman Center’s “Dissertation After Dark” program in which graduate students are invited to write among peers on Wednesday and Thursday evenings during the academic year.  Follow-up programming will include Writing Center staff offering workshops and discussions intermittently throughout the academic year, possibly offering mid-year mini-retreats during fall, winter, or spring break. Participation in Dissertation After Dark is not necessary to join the retreat, but it is a great way to maintain your productivity throughout the busy academic year!