NC State Graduate School holds second Dissertation Institute

This past December 15-19, 2014, the Graduate School hosted its second Dissertation Institute, co-sponsored by the University Graduate Student Association. This event is a week-long intensive “bootcamp” for dissertation writing. Participants came from across the university, including chemistry, sociology, soil science, STEM education, and plant biology. 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.

Students map their dissertations using the Hunt Library Creativity Studio whiteboard walls
Students map their dissertations using the Hunt Library Creativity Studio whiteboard walls.

The Dissertation Institute combined a variety of activities into the week, all designed to help students make significant progress on their dissertation projects: large writing blocks, one-on-one sessions with a writing consultant, and short instructional seminars. Every morning and afternoon, doctoral candidates had between two and three and a half hours to write. They each had two personal sessions with Dissertation Writing Consultant Dr. Margy Horton to review their projects and talk about specific elements of their writing. Writing blocks and consultations were broken up with short instructional seminars, with topics ranging from writing research introductions to using sources effectively. Finally, the days ended with students reflecting on the work achieved that day and setting a goal for the next.

Doctoral candidates hard at work during a writing block
Doctoral candidates hard at work during a writing block.

Overall, participants praised the week’s schedule and the strong support it provided them as writers. Said one candidate, “It was invaluable and I hope this program continues to grow.” Yet another shared enthusiasm for the Institute, remarking, “I’ve already been recommending it to others. I wish I could do it again!”

Dr. Kittle Autry explains, “The Dissertation Institute is one of the Graduate School’s premier events for supporting doctoral candidates in their writing. Our number one goal is to help NC State’s students to finish their degrees. Already, we’ve seen great success from our first two Institutes, and we hope to continue to offer this programming for doctoral candidates twice per year. The Graduate School would like to thank UGSA and the NC State Libraries for their continued support of this important event.”

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