Friday, May 6, 2016

Demystifying the UWC's "Dissertate in Eight" Program

As you know, Project Thesis NIU aims to keep you informed of updated and valuable information relating to all aspects of theses and dissertations. You may also know that we occasionally invite guest bloggers to contribute to Project Thesis on topics relevant to graduate students today. 

So today, we are happy to present you with a guest blog written by Gail Jacky, director of NIU’s University Writing Center. Please read her post below about a great summer opportunity, “Dissertate in Eight,” the UWC’s “Boot Camp” for Thesis and Dissertation Writers.

Pick a topic, write a proposal, defend the proposal, conduct the research, write up the findings, discuss the findings, defend the dissertation/thesis, format the dissertation/thesis, submit the dissertation/thesis to the Graduate School, and glide/stomp across the stage for hooding. How challenging can that be??????? Well, just as Dorothy and her friends ventured off to the Emerald City with trepidation, “Lions and tigers and bears – Oh My!,” the journey toward completion of a dissertation/thesis can also be fraught with unknowns and, yes, sometimes even a little fear.

Stevenson Towers B is Shown at Left
If you are seeking a way to demystify – okay, some would say “survive” – that process, please join the staff of the University Writing Center (UWC - Stevenson Towers B) for the 7th annual Dissertate in Eight boot camp June 15 to August 3, 2016. 

From 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. each Wednesday afternoon, speakers present some facet of the dissertation/thesis process per the following schedule:
  • Navigating the dissertation/thesis journey (6/15)
  • Determining what a dissertation/thesis looks like (6/22)
  • Understanding conflict resolution/negotiation strategies (6/29)
  • Employing graphics in your document (7/06)
  • Employing quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies (7/13)
  • Incorporating sources and maintaining your voice (7/20)
  • Meeting the Graduate School reader (7/27)
  • Preparing for the defense (8/3)

The discussions are conducted by the UWC staff and/or individuals who have completed their dissertations within the past academic year. The premise being – they made it, so can you!

Participants generally also take advantage of the rest of Wednesday afternoon, and sometimes the mornings as well, by working independently, connecting with the other participants, or scheduling sessions with the UWC writing coaches to discuss their ideas, organization, coding, etc. – you choose the focus, we provide the support.

Participants also often seek feedback on their writing and/or help finding sources. The UWC coaches love working with writers and are great sounding boards and resources. Many of this summer’s coaches are currently writing their own dissertations, so they can definitely support, and probably commiserate with, you.

Registration is required, and because of the size of the room the number of participants is limited to 30. The registration link is found on the UWC website . Applications are due by June 1. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or 815-753-6336. I am the person behind the curtain, and I am ready to help you!

If you cannot attend the boot camp, you are always welcome to use the UWC services at other times: summer hours are M-Th, 9 to 4:30.


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