University of Minnesota
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Student Writing Support.Center for Writing's home page.

How to apply for the Dissertation Writing Retreat

lightbulbs

Applications, which involve both the writer and their advisor(s), are due in two stages:

  1. By 11:59 pm Central time on Friday, February 19, writer submits online application in InfoReady (available Tuesday, January 19). Upon submission, the application will generate an automatic email request to the writer's advisor. No late applications will be considered.
  2. By 11:59 pm Central time on Friday, February 26, advisor completes and uploads a form indicating whether they endorse the writer's participation in the 2021 Dissertation Writing Retreat. (This step takes no more than 5 minutes; no letter is required.) No applications with missing or late advisor forms will be accepted.

To be considered, applicants must commit to participating in all 11 days of the retreat.

Advisors are not responsible for writing recommendations or assessing writers' fitness for the retreat—indeed, we ask that advisors NOT provide any written recommendations because we believe that writers are their own best advocates.

What the endorsement form asks of the advisor

  • Their first name, last name, and UMN x500; the writer's UMN x500; and a "yes" or "no" endorsement. Advisors must complete this form themselves; we will not accept submissions from writers on behalf of/at the behest of their advisors.

What the InfoReady Application asks of the writer

  • Their first name, last name, UMN x500, home department(s), and college that houses the department(s); the writer's commitment to participating in all 11 days of the retreat (Mondays through Thursdays, May 24 through June 10 [no session on Monday, May 31, Memorial Day]); information about the writer's DDF or IDF status; and two longer texts:
  1. an abstract of their dissertation (9,000 characters, including spaces, which amounts to about two single-spaced pages with additional room for references in whatever style is appropriate in the writer's discipline). (The review committee would like an overall sense of each writer's project. Accordingly, even if the writer is early their process, we ask that the writer please share an abstract that reflects what they currently plan for their dissertation to look like.)
  2. a statement (3,500 characters, including spaces, which amounts to about one single-spaced page) in response to the following question: During this retreat, you will be participating in a structured community of dissertators from across the disciplines, with access to support from writing consultants. How might this be different from your current writing practice, and how might it contribute to your making progress on your dissertation?

Confidentiality

Neither advisors nor writers will see each other’s responses. Writers may contact Katie at kslevin@umn.edu to ask whether a submission is complete, but she will not initiate communications about completeness with writers, and she will not share application status information with advisors.

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.
  • Historically, applications that took full advantage of the space allotment for the 3,500-character statement were more successful than those that did not. Evaluators look for full answers to the questions that are asked.
  • Applicants who have not yet won IDFs or DDFs will receive preference over applicants who have already won IDFs or DDFs.

Interested? Questions?

All applicants will be notified of their status by 5 pm Central time on Friday, March 5. Given the large number of applications we receive, the review committee is unable to provide feedback on individual submissions. If you have any other questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to get in touch with Katie Levin.

Light bulb photo by Kat Clay, used with permission under a creative commons license via flickr. See more of this photographer's work here.