Just Write: Writing Retreat for GSE and SAS Faculty

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820June 6, 2012


Stop what you’re doing, and just write. That’s what some University of Pennsylvania faculty will be doing the week of June 4.

Twenty faculty members from the Graduate School of Education and the School of Arts and Sciences will attend the first-ever Faculty Writing Retreat in the McNeil Building. 

The interdisciplinary retreat offers faculty an encouraging environment to jump-start their summer writing projects in a quiet, friendly space where everyone has come for only one reason: to write. 

When it concludes on June 8, the retreat will have offered 40 hours of writing time without distractions so that participants can focus on preparing articles, books, book chapters, introductions to edited volumes, grant applications and more in a collegial and motivated atmosphere.

“Just as it can be easier to exercise in a place where everyone else is exercising, it can be easier to write in a place where everyone else is writing,” says Penn GSE’s Jon Wallace, who is the week’s writing coach in residence.  “At other universities, writing retreats have been effective in helping faculty members be more productive and efficient.  We’re hoping to replicate that kind of success here.”

While the retreat is open to all SAS and GSE faculty, it is limited to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Janine Remillard, an associate professor in GSE, and Annette Lareau, a sociology professor, teamed up to organize the event.

“This writing retreat not only provides a productive and supportive space for participants to make progress on their writing, but also we’re hoping it will serve as a venue to encourage cross-disciplinary conversations among GSE and SAS faculty,” Remillard says.

Participants will engage in short-term goal setting and self-evaluation exercises in the beginning and at the end of each day.  They will discuss their writing with colleagues and brainstorm with others.  In addition, they will work one-on-one with Wallace, who will be an on-site writing consultant before, during and after the retreat.

"It's nice to get out of the office environment to write," says Jane Willenbring, an assistant professor in the Earth and Environmental Science Department. "I run a lab so usually there's a constant stream of people and I'm answering questions all day. I'm hoping that [the retreat] will help set a good tone for the rest of the summer."

Support for the retreat is provided by SAS and GSE.