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Summer Writing Programs

Simmons Faculty Writing Retreat

The Center for Excellence in Teaching, with the support of the Provost's office, organizes a private writing retreat each year for Simmons' faculty members. Support for a variety of types of writing can support the development of disciplinary expertise, encourage research and publication on teaching effectiveness, create more flexibility for teaching innovation, and foster positive relationships among faculty across disciplinary lines.

How It Works

Held each May, the writing retreat is an opportunity to carve out time to jump-start summer scholarship. Participants have plenty of dedicated, quiet, distraction-free time for individual writing.

Participants also occasionally gather as a group for peer feedback, inspiration, and mutual support; CET staff members are on-site for individual manuscript reviews and writing coaching. CET also provides specialized support for those working on the scholarship of teaching during the retreat.

All writing projects are welcome: participants can develop a work-in-progress, revise a conference presentation for publication, incorporate feedback before submitting an article to a refereed journal, polish a grant application, or perhaps revisit a rejected manuscript.

Faculty Writing Retreat, Cedar Hills Retreat Center

The faculty writing retreat is a three day, two night residential writing retreat held at a private retreat center with plenty of indoor and outdoor space to work. Cedar Hills Retreat Center is just north of Plymouth, MA, and about 45 minutes south of Boston.

Features of the property include:

  • Wireless Internet access
  • Fully-equipped kitchen
  • Walking trail leading to a private beach
  • Single beds in shared rooms; linens and towels provided
  • Dining space for communal meals

The retreat is open to full-time and part-time faculty from all disciplines. There is no cost to attend. Lodging, meals, and supplies will be provided.

The Prolific Scholar: Increase Productivity and Publications

Partially based on Tara Gray's Publish and Flourish, this workshop will help participants become more productive scholars. Analyze the efficacy of your current writing habits, discuss Gray's 12-step model for increasing writing production, and learn about the gift of accountability and resources for continued writing support through the CET and your peers, including the On-Campus Writing Days, the Writing Coaching Program, and Summer Writing Groups.

Don't Go It Alone: Summer Writing Groups

It "takes a village" to publish—so join one! CET supports the formation of Summer Writing Groups. These are groups of 3-4 faculty members who are working on writing projects over the summer who keep each other on track through mutual accountability and peer feedback. Groups are formed by both career stage and by discipline (humanities, social sciences, STEM).

Option 1:  Online 30-Day Challenge

Modeled after the Academic Ladder's Academic Writing Club, this asynchronous, online, one-month writing group challenges participants to write at least 15 minutes per day during the challenge. After one in-person "kick-off" meeting facilitated by the CET, participants will "check in" online at least once each week to log their writing time (and how it went), post updated drafts, and provide feedback on others' drafts (as requested). There will also be discussion forums to share process challenges, provide support, and keep each other accountable. CET staff will be in touch weekly about your progress, and optional one-on-one writing coaching will also be available.

The model works: writers following this model produce an average of 157 pages per year, compared to the 17 pages written on average by those who just write occasionally. This is a great program for those who are traveling, prefer a virtual writing group, or have less time to devote to scholarship this summer.

Option 2:  Summer Writing Group

Based on the models in Tara Gray's Publish and Flourish, the summer-long writing groups will meet for 1-2 hours once every week for eight weeks to provide constructive feedback on drafts and projects in process. The first hour will follow the "few pages" peer review model, in which a few pages of each group member's writing is read and commented on by the group each week. The second optional hour will follow the "full manuscript" model (when full drafts are ready), in which the author sends a manuscript to the group a few days prior to the meeting.  Each group member spends up to an hour with the manuscript to prepare for "feedback rounds" during the in-person meeting. CET will coordinate the formation of groups, meeting locations and times, and will provide orientation at the first "kick-off" meeting.

CET's Summer Writing Coaching Program

What is Writing Coaching?  Writing coaches are experts in writing and process who provide encouragement, developmental editing (feedback), resources, and support during all stages of the writing process.

CET writing coaches can:

  • Help you identify and overcome any ineffective writing habits
  • Check in regularly on your progress to help you stay on track
  • Provide support and encouragement
  • Help you brainstorm an idea or give feedback on a research plan
  • Read and comment on drafts of your work (as a non-expert on your content), including feedback on logic and focus, organization, voice, and sentence-level clarity
  • Answer questions about documentation styles, including APA and MLA
  • Provide feedback on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) from the perspective of an experienced journal peer reviewer
  • Recommend journals for publishing SoTL research

Writing Coaches:

CET director Jennifer Herman has been working as a private writing coach for the last 10 years and has taught writing since 2002. Her expertise is in helping faculty members who are publishing in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and in the social sciences; she also has expertise in APA style.  She reviews manuscripts for multiple peer-reviewed SoTL and education journals and has published in a number of formats.

CET associate director Tricia Elam Walker has taught expository writing and creative writing for 15 years to high school and college students, as well as to adult learners. She has also been a freelance commentator, book reviewer and writer for many years and is widely published. Additionally she has edited essays, stories and novels for other writers working towards publication.

Terry Müller, Director of the Writing Center & Academic Resources, is partnering with CET as a writing coach. She has taught writing at the community education, undergrad and graduate levels for nearly 20 years. Much of her work has been with adults. Over the past 7 years, she has also worked extensively as a writing coach and editor and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals.