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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dissertation Retreat 2010

The Center for Writing and the Graduate School are co-sponsoring a 3-week on-campus Dissertation Retreat from May 25-June 10, 2010. Students are encouraged to apply for one of 12 seats in the retreat, which is a free opportunity for concentrated writing time in a supportive group setting. Application deadline: May 10, 2010.

Dissertation Retreat 2010
As you know, summer offers a unique opportunity for dissertation-writers to work on their
dissertations without having to divide their time between teaching and writing. The Graduate
School and the Center for Writing would like to offer you an opportunity to begin this summer
with three weeks of concentrated dissertation-writing time in a supportive group setting. We
invite you to submit a short application for one of twelve seats in the second annual on-campus
dissertation writing retreat. This year's retreat will be held during May term (May 25-June 10,
2010), and the deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Monday, May 10. Please see application
details later in this email.
Retreat Expectations and Activities
Participants in the retreat...
• do focused, sustained work on their dissertations in scheduled blocks of writing time
and in optional meetings with experienced graduate writing consultants (all of whom
are from fields in the Humanities) from the Center for Writing
• participate in brief warm-up activities designed to facilitate writing
• pledge not to use the internet or email during the hours of the retreat (and therefore
bring either laptops or flash drives with their dissertation files on them)
• participate in three Tuesday lunches in-house, during which consultants from the Center
for Writing or the Graduate School will lead a discussion of a topic about dissertationwriting
• participate in two 15-minute assessments of the program during the course of the retreat
(to help make the retreat as useful as possible for current and future participants)
• have no other teaching or research responsibilities during May Term
Writing Retreat Location and Schedule
If you are selected, you will gather with other retreat participants Mondays through Thursdays,
May 25-June 10, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in 15 Nicholson Hall, the location for Student
Writing Support, which also houses a computer lab. (Please note that May 24 is Memorial Day
and we will not be in session.) Coffee, tea, and healthy snacks will be available. We will break
for lunch from 12-1 each day. On Tuesdays, participants will be provided with a lunch in-house
during a discussion of dissertation writing issues and strategies.
How to Apply
If this program sounds appealing to you, we encourage you to apply. Applications must be
emailed and received by Katie Levin at kslevin@umn.edu no later than Monday, May 10 at
5:00 p.m. The application consists of the following three parts:
• From your advisor: a brief email recommending you for the retreat
• From you:
‚àí An abstract of your dissertation
‚àí A statement, no longer than one page, describing how this structured dissertation
retreat will help you make progress on your dissertation. In other words, what
would you gain from this dissertation retreat that you couldn't do on your own?

Why participate in a Dissertation Writing Retreat?

Last year's participants have told us that the retreat was "invaluable":
[The retreat] got me excited about my project again after I'd hit a real burn-out and got me back to planning step-by-step instead of randomly doing whatever work occurred to me. It will,
without question, give me the focus and energy to FINISH!
[This retreat] has changed my ideas about writing and demystified a lot of the process. It is also good to be reminded that my work benefits so much from talking it over with people (besides my advisor).
When asked if they would recommend the retreat to other dissertators, participants told us:
Yes! Great to connect with other dissertators, great to get some fresh perspective on how writing gets done. Great to have access to writing consultants, and to discuss my work with people
outside my field.
Absolutely 100%! I wish I could do it again. In just 11 writing days I completed a chapter draft.
Literally 1/5 of my dissertation was drafted here!
Absolutely--I accomplished more in these three weeks than I had in the previous three months.
The discipline and the encouragement and feelings of community made an enormous difference.
I wish that all grad students had access to this kind of structured and supportive writing

Interested? Questions?

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to get in touch with me
(kslevin@umn.edu; 612.624.7720).