Getting the (Pencil) Lead Out: Writer’s Retreat Motivates Graduate Students

The first College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Writer’s Retreat was held on Saturday, February 25 at George’s in the Johnson Center. More than 20 graduate students gathered for an all-day retreat where they publicly committed to a day of high productivity. The retreat was open to CEHD graduate students only and provided an opportunity for students to make significant progress on conference proposals, theses, class assignments, portfolios, and dissertations as well as to form bonds with other graduate students currently “in the struggle.” The Writer’s Retreat started with a warm-up activity where students were encouraged to set realistic, achievable goals for the day. For example, one master’s student was determined to complete a literature review for a counseling and development class assignment, while another table of doctoral students were all determined to craft polished essays for their portfolio assignment. 

Students also had the opportunity to participate in two, hour-length workshops during the retreat. The first workshop, “Conquering the Writing Process”, was facilitated by Dr. Ivory Berry, Director of Student Success for the College of Education and Human Development. During this workshop, Dr. Berry shared 10 tips he learned as a graduate student that could help current students better understand and conquer the academic writing process. Dr. Berry encouraged students to “find the passion in their purpose,” “know their audience,” and “find the writing groove and ride it out.” The second workshop was led by Dr. Erin Peters-Burton, the Donna R. and David E. Sterling Endowed Professor in Science Education and Director of the Educational Psychology, Research Methods, and Education Policy Division. Her workshop was titled “Strategies for Becoming a Productive Academic Writer,” and students were provided with a variety of strategies to help them convert their research idea into a publication.

Consultants from the Writing Center were also on hand for the retreat. Students were able to schedule 30-minute one-on-one sessions with a consultant to get feedback on their writing as well as brainstorm projects.

Are you a CEHD graduate student seeking group accountability among peers when it comes to your writing? Stay tuned! Planning for the next CEHD Writer’s Retreat is currently underway.