Summer 2020 Virtual Dissertation Boot Camp

Dates:  Monday, June 1 - Friday, June 12

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, May 27 by 5:00 PM (Eastern) 

New for Summer 2020, we're adapting our program structure to go virtual and provide support to a greater number of students while we continue working remotely. This program is intended to help provide students with additional structure and motivation to overcome typical roadblocks in the dissertation process, by offering support and a virtual environment for focused writing time. Participants must attend orientation and commit to weekly writing group meetings and virtual co-writing sessions. 

Boot Camp is designed for students who have an approved dissertation proposal, have completed at least initial stages of their research, and who are actively working on drafts of a dissertation chapter or section. Participants should plan to spend at least two consecutive hours each day engaged in focused WRITING. If you are still reviewing literature or conducting analysis, you should not participate in the program at this time. Participants are expected to discuss their goals for the program with their dissertation advisor(s), who will be notified upon your successful completion of the program.

Program Structure and Details

This two-week program (June 1-12) will include the following:

  • Writing group meetings & check-ins: Students will be placed in small groups of 4-6 writers based on their responses to the registration form.These groups will meet for 30-45 minutes on Monday of each week to discuss goals, progress, and challenges in their writing process. Groups should also plan to check in with one another either via video chat or through MS Teams on Friday, June 5th.

  • Daily co-writing sessions: In addition to small group meetings, participants are expected to participate in at least one 2-hour virtual co-writing session each day. Virtual co-writing sessions are two hours and include a brief check-in at the start, followed by quiet writing as part of a supportive group of graduate student writers. Sessions are held each day from 9:00 -11:00 AM and 3:00 - 5:00 PM.

  • Optional extended writing sessions: un-moderated drop-in writing sessions will be available between 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM each day. These session are optional opportunities for participants to write together between scheduled sessions. These sessions will not be staffed but participants should observe program rules and norms regarding acceptable activities and discussion during the session. 

  • Orientation and writing consultations: We will have a brief orientation on Monday, June 1 from 9:00 - 10:00 AM, including a session on organization and writing offered by the Weingarten Learning Resources Center. We encourage students to attend one advising session with a WLC Advisor at some point before the boot camp or during the two weeks of Camp. Students can bring drafts of their work, discuss topic and structure, future publications and work, etc. Weingarten staff will remain available on an on-call basis throughout the program for additional appointments, to help students overcome any habits or problems standing in the way of success.

  • MS Teams site: Participants will be added to an MS Teams group to facilitate asynchronous conversations about writing practices, share resources and materials, and to reflect on their goals and experiences. The structure of this group is modeled on the Penn Weekly Writing Challenge (PWWC) team. Participants are expected to post goals and progress daily during the program and are encouraged to continue participating as part of the PWWC after completing boot camp. 

Unlike our regular boot camp, we will not be limiting the number of participants or requiring a program fee to help offset costs associated with staffing, food, and supplies. 

This program relies on mutual accountability and support among participants. For this reason, all participants are asked to make a serious commitment to the program and expected to participate in all required sessions and elements. Any extenuating circumstances must be documented in writing before the start of Camp. If your circumstances would cause too much disruption or modification of the program structure, we will remove you from the program.

We encourage participants to form small self-motivated writing groups, participate in our other writing support programs, and meet with advisors at the Weingarten Learning Resource Center to sustain any momentum and writing habits they build during Boot Camp.

Registration form

(link will only work during open application cycles)

Questions or concerns?

We are happy to explain our policies and discuss the program with you. Please contact us here or leave a message at 215-746-6868 and we will return your call.