For Summer 2024, we will be offering a virtual retreat in June and an in-person retreat later in the summer. 

June virtual retreat dates: June 17-June 27, 9am-12pm

August in-person retreat dates: August 5-August 16, 9am-3pm

All PhD candidates at any stage in the dissertation process are eligible to participate.  For more information, see below.

To request a spot:  Email Rob Patterson, director of The Writing Center at  Please include information regarding your program, where you are in the dissertation process, and a timeline for the work you hope to complete this summer.  Please be sure to indicate whether you’re applying for the virtual retreat in June, the in-person retreat later in the summer, or both. 

Deadlines to apply: The deadline to apply for the June retreat is April 30. The deadline to apply for the August retreat is June 30.

Cost:  The retreat is free to participants.

What:  Dissertation writers from across the university coming together for two weeks of concentrated dissertation-writing time each morning in a supportive group setting:

  • Morning meeting with brief warm-up activities designed to jump start writing
  • Focused, sustained work on dissertations in scheduled blocks of writing time
  • Two workshop discussions on issues and strategies related to dissertation writing (each Wednesday around lunchtime)
  • Priority access to one-on-one dissertation consultations with Writing Center staff
  • Advice and support from fellow graduate students
  • Brief cool-down activities designed to facilitate the next day’s writing
  • Goal-setting and supportive accountability

Why:  To help dissertation writers

  • Maintain their writing momentum over the summer, OR
  • Gain momentum from a less-than-productive spring and head into the summer 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

Virtual Retreat in June:  Monday, June 17-Thursday, June 27 (except Saturday and Sunday).  We begin each day at 9 a.m. central time and end at noon.  One-on-one support available each afternoon.  This option will take place online via Zoom.

In-person Retreat in August: Monday, August 5-Friday, August 16 (except Saturday and Sunday). We begin each day at 9 a.m., break for lunch, and resume for afternoon writing sessions until 3 p.m..  One-on-one support is also available each afternoon.  This option will take place in The Writing Center on the lower level of Mallinckrodt.

Questions:  Email