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Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 May Term Dissertation Writing Retreat

The Center for Writing and The Graduate School's annual 3-week on-campus Dissertation Writing Retreat will be held this year from May 28th-June 13th, 2012. All dissertation-writing graduate students are invited to apply for one of the 15 open seats, which is a free opportunity for concentrated writing time in a supportive group setting. Applications due: April 8th by 5 p.m.

Dear Dissertator,
As you know, summer offers a unique opportunity for graduate students to work on their dissertations without having to divide their time between teaching and writing. Thanks to generous support from the Graduate School, the Center for Writing's Student Writing Support (SWS) program offers a free annual Dissertation Writing Retreat each
summer. In the retreat, fifteen dissertation writers from across the University gather in 15 Nicholson Hall for three weeks of concentrated dissertation-writing time in a supportive group setting. This year's retreat will be held Mondays through Thursdays, May 28-June 13 (no session on Monday, May 27, Memorial Day). The deadline for
applications is 5 p.m. on Monday, April 8. Please see application details later in this letter, or at writing.umn.edu/sws/dissretreat.
Retreat Expectations and Activities:
Participants in the retreat...
  • do focused, sustained work on their dissertations in scheduled blocks
  • of writing time
  • participate in optional meetings with experienced SWS consultants
  • participate in brief warm-up activities designed to facilitate writing
  • pledge not to use the internet or email during the hours of the retreat
  • participate in three Tuesday lunch discussions on issues and
  • strategies related to dissertation writing
  • 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 28-June 13 (no session on Monday, May 27, Memorial Day), from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in 15 Nicholson Hall, which also houses a computer lab. Coffee, tea, and healthy snacks will be available. We will break for lunch from 12:15-1:15 each day. On Tuesdays, participants will be provided with lunch during a discussion of dissertation writing issues and strategies. Participants must commit to the full 11-day retreat schedule.
How to Apply:
Applications must be emailed to Katie Levin at kslevin@umn.edu no earlier than Monday, March 25, and no later than Monday, April 8, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. The application consists of the following three parts:
From your advisor:
a brief email endorsing your participation in the retreat. This email
should be sent directly from your advisor to Katie Levin at kslevin@umn.edu.

From you:

  • a statement (no longer than one single-spaced page) describing
  • how participating in this 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?
  • an abstract of your dissertation (no longer than two single-spaced pages). Because so much of the retreat is devoted to sustained writing (rather than research) time, writers whose prospectuses have not yet been approved by their departments or who still need to complete fieldwork should wait until next year to apply.

Selection criteria:
Our goal is to accept fifteen participants from a wide variety of disciplines. Our first consideration will be the quality of each application; ultimately, in the event of numerous highly competitive applications, we will favor applications representing candidates from a diversity of disciplines to enrich the retreat. Applications from writers who have not won Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships in previous years will be favored over applications from those who have previously won Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships.
Interested? Questions?
To learn more and to hear from past participants, please visit
writing.umn.edu/sws/dissretreat. And, if you have further questions, please feel free to get in touch with me (kslevin@umn.edu; 612.624.7720).