Shelley Hawthorne Smith, Sedona Heidinger, Alex Kemp1
Most graduate students share one summer goal – to get writing done. While the summer frequently provides writers with more time than during the academic year, summer is also often less structured. The demands and nature of summer increases the need for institutional writing resources for graduate students. Therefore, CGC members recently convened to discuss the question:
What strategies help graduate writers succeed over the summer?
Over 40 attendees joined the CGC Chat on April 30, 2021 to discuss how to support graduate writers over the summer. Our team from the University of Arizona began the conversation by describing two of our favorite summer writing programs offered to graduate students at our institution — the Summer Fellowship Application Development Program and Writing Efficiency Sessions. The brief presentation was followed by conversations in break-out rooms. Strategies that were discussed can be broken into four broad categories: (1) developing knowledge of best writing practices, (2) fostering a supportive writing community, (3) enhancing connections within a university, and (4) other ideas. Many of the ideas discussed are below, and we invite you to continue the conversation online.
Develop Knowledge of Best Writing Practices
- Synchronous, asynchronous, mini-series that can be mixed and matched, workshop series
- Individual meetings
- Guidebooks/sheets for information on writing
- Newsletters/email for sharing writing tips
- One on one writing consultations
- With a peer
- With a trained writing advisor
Foster a Supportive Writing Community
- Create space
- Physical space for writing
- Online space and time for writing
- Develop a structure
- A retreat or challenge that is held for a finite time
- Support writing or accountability groups
- Offer deadlines
- Create a positive environment
- Feature writing success stories
- Celebrate/share successes: use a tracker to share goals and progress
Enhance Connections within the University
- Create dialogues or cross-disciplinary conversations
- Faculty/leaders talk about writing topics
- Connect graduate writers to postdocs
- Identity-based conversations on writing
- Connect to library resources
- Embed writing instruction in graduate courses or visit graduate courses
- Present at graduate orientations
- Train faculty on approaches to supporting graduate writers
- Partner with other universities to co-offer programming
- Connect writing and career goals
While it is helpful to read a list of ideas, it is more helpful to see specific examples and discuss programs with others. We have created a google doc using the list above. We invite you to add to the list, put links to your programs, and connect to other people doing similar work.
Eager to discuss graduate communication? The next CGC Chat will be on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 12:00PM EST. MJ Curry, Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Curriculum, Warner Graduate School of Education & Human Development at the University of Rochester, along with Fangzhi He and Weijia Li, two of her graduate student co-authors of the recently published An A-W of academic literacy: Key concepts and practices for graduate students, will lead a discussion on Mentoring doctoral students through a collaborative publication. Please click here to register. We hope to chat with you soon!
Shelley Hawthorne Smith (University of Arizona)
Sedona Heidinger (University of Arizona)
Alex Kemp (University of Arizona)
- Because all authors contributed equally to the presentation, names are in alphabetical order.