NC State Graduate School holds first Dissertation Institute

The week of May 12-16, The Graduate School hosted NC State’s first Dissertation Institute for our university’s doctoral candidates. Fourteen students across a variety of disciplines, including electrical engineering, sociology, economics, and physics, came together for a week-long intensive “bootcamp” for their dissertations. The Institute was led by Dr. Meagan Kittle Autry, Director of Thesis and Dissertation Support Services, and took place in the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus.

The Dissertation Institute combined a variety of activities into the week, all designed to help students make significant progress on their dissertation projects. Mornings and afternoons included writing blocks two to three hours long. During these writing blocks, two writing consultants were also on hand to have individual sessions with students to help them work through issues with their dissertations. Days were broken up with mini-instructional sessions, with topics ranging from writing research introductions to managing dissertation writing while on the job market.Finally, each day ended with reflecting on the work achieved that day and a goal for the following one.

The Dissertation Institute culminated in a celebratory lunch, with special guest speaker Dr. Nick Taylor, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. Dr. Taylor spoke to the students about finishing the dissertation and offered some practical wisdom for maintaining a good relationship with writing once in your profession.

One participant reflected positively on the week at the Institute, saying, “It worked well for me. It was not only about the amount of time that we spent here… I got a good sense of what I need to do. While working with others, I collected many new ideas that are going to be helpful for me.” Another praised the one-on-one session times with the writing consultants, saying they were, “Very productive. I was able to reorganize my already written chapters based on some useful feedback.”

Dr. Kittle Autry explains, “Our goal is to facilitate great progress for students. Every student who participated this week was all in, worked hard, and is now significantly closer to finishing than before. We are so pleased with the week overall, and we thank the Hunt Library staff for helping us to make it happen.”

To view photos from the week, check out the Dissertation Institute album on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” TDSS on Facebook to receive regular updates about programming!

The Graduate School hopes to offer the Dissertation Institute on a regular basis. To learn more about this new office on campus, visit the Thesis and Dissertation Support Services website at:

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