An initiative led by the Graduate and Postdoc Academic Success program at Vanderbilt is helping graduate students and postdoctoral scholars develop a daily writing practice that will boost their success in their academic careers and beyond.
Write On!, a collaboration of the Graduate School, Writing Studio, Center for Student Wellbeing and the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, assigns graduate students and postdocs to a writing accountability group, provides guided programming and helps them set weekly and monthly progress goals.
The program is accepting applications through Aug. 25 for the fall 2023 semester. Apply now.
Write On! started in spring 2023 with about 80 participants in a successful pilot program. It was developed after graduate students and postdocs collectively asked for strategies, methods for accountability and opportunities to connect with peers during the challenging writing process. Write On! is designed to provide a support system to help participants set realistic goals, establish routines and meet deadlines.
“As my colleagues in the Writing Studio, Center for Student Wellbeing and Vanderbilt libraries and I met with students, we would consistently hear how isolating the writing process could be and how that plays a huge role in feelings of being ‘stuck,’” said Stacey Satchell, director of the Graduate and Postdoc Academic Success program. “We wanted to build on resources already available at the university to provide a space for students and postdocs to connect and support each other toward their goals.”
The program includes:
- Writing accountability groups of fellow graduate students and postdocs from the university and from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Applicants are asked questions about their academic discipline, year in program, preferences for meeting and goals for participating. The pilot program found that groups meeting weekly were most successful in achieving their goals.
- Guided programming webinars from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. In addition, campus resources from the Writing Studio, Vanderbilt libraries and Peak Performance (from GPAS and the Student Care Network) provide support throughout the semester.
- Weekly and monthly goals. Participants can lean into their groups for valuable feedback and accountability.
“Write On! speaks to the collaborative nature of Vanderbilt and the creative ways in which we seek to support student scholarship,” said André Christie-Mizell, vice provost for graduate education, dean of the Graduate School and director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. “By blending resources and strategies from several campus partners, this program launched in its pilot year with an overwhelming response. I am proud of the program and look forward to seeing how it will evolve and expand in year two.”
If interested in participating in Write On!, complete the application form by Aug. 25. Once accepted to the program, participants should claim their free NCFDD account through Vanderbilt’s institutional membership and watch two assigned webinars, then attend a kickoff meeting in September.
For more information, email GPAS@vanderbilt.edu.
Feedback from Write On! participants
“The Write On! program … provided me with a designated time and place to focus on my own writing, which forced me to prioritize my progress instead of putting it on the back burner. The program provided me with tools to create structure within my writing practice, as well as an incredibly supportive community of cross-disciplinary colleagues seeking to accomplish similar writing goals. I benefited immensely from input and feedback from graduate students in different fields than my own. Over the course of the program, I made significant progress on my prospectus (which I hope to defend this August) and began developing Wenner-Gren and NSF dissertation grant proposals, which I am planning to submit in the fall. I’m extremely glad I participated in 2022–23 and intend to participate again in the coming academic year.”
“Write On! was critical for me in writing my research proposal for my qualifying exam. Having a set time, place and group of fellow graduate students helped immensely with my writing consistency and focus. I also appreciated having regular support and check-ins from the GPAS staff, and I enjoyed getting to know my fellow graduate students in other departments and disciplines.”
“Through the Write On! program, I connected with graduate students from other departments. These weekly meetings provided accountability as well as the opportunity to build professional relationships. One of my writing group colleagues and I joined our research interests and were awarded an internal grant. Without GPAS, I would not have met my co-PI, as we are from very different fields.”
“Write On! was an incredibly helpful resource throughout the semester. It was a tool to keep me focused on my writing tasks every week and provided a tremendous amount of accountability through having regular meetings with peers across different disciplines. I look forward to joining the program again this year.”