In collaboration with the Rackham Graduate School, the Sweetland Center for Writing coordinates several student-led writing groups for graduate students writing their dissertations or theses. These interdisciplinary writing groups* provide structured, peer-facilitated support to aid writers through long-term projects.

Dissertation Writing Groups (DWG) place writers from various disciplines but in similar stages of their dissertation projects together to share work in-progress, provide interdisciplinary feedback, and encourage ongoing writing production.  Writing Groups typically consist of four members including a group leader. Participants must be in the writing phase of their dissertations or theses and be available to meet eight times per semester to workshop group members’ writing on a rotating basis. Every participant attends the first introductory orientation at the beginning of the semester. At that meeting, each group will convene and determine meeting schedules and expectations.

If you think that a traditional writing group would not work for you, either because it is too broad or because you experience learning and neurodevelopmental differences, please consider applying to a specifically created group that targets these issues.  If this group seems the right one for you, you do not need to provide a different application. Just express your desire to contribute to this group in your general application, in answer to the question “DWGs provide Structure and Accountability, Peer Review, and Write-Together sessions. Please describe your interest in contributing to these features.”

Those interested in becoming group Leaders must provide additional information with their applications. Group leaders attend a facilitator training workshop and mentor meetings through the term.

Sweetland DWG homepage

*Our note on the value of interdisciplinary writing groups

Along with the structure, routine, and support a Dissertation Writing Group can provide, one of the guiding principles of the program is the value of interdisciplinary workshop groups.  We believe working with writers from other fields of study benefits dissertation writers 1) by helping the writer gain a greater awareness of audience and the concerns of their readers; 2) by making disciplinary norms and expectations more visible; 3) and by helping to clarify the writer’s “moves” and arguments.  While we do place writers working in related fields or projects or stages as best we can, you will be in a group with writers from various fields of study.  Group members may feel uncomfortable at first, not yet ready to provide feedback on material outside of their own fields of study.  As workshops begin, however, your value as a reader will help the group focus on the writing itself.  Our DWGs stress the value of having good outside readers reading and responding to our work, the importance of writers gathering to discuss writing, and how, in our role as group members and readers, we can provide observations and questions that can matter to writers.

Read more about Dissertation Writing Groups from former participants:

Our Team

April Conway

I am a Lecturer and I hold a Ph.D. in English with a specialization in Rhetoric & Writing and a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Certificate from Bowling Green State University.

My research interests include community literacies, writing research methods and methodologies, composition pedagogy, and space and place studies.

More about April on Sweetland’s website
email: arconway[at]umich.edu

Louis Cicciarelli

I am a Lecturer in the Sweetland Center for Writing and the Department of English Language and Literature.  I first came to Michigan to earn an MFA in fiction writing.  Now, as a teacher of writing, I enjoy discussing and working with writers on all kinds of projects.  I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with first-year writers, upper-level writers, transfer student writers, graduate student teachers of writing, and dissertation writers.  I helped found the Dissertation Writing Institute in 2003 and continue to co-direct the program with my colleague Paul Barron.  In 2015, I was honored to be named the Charles Baxter Collegiate Lecturer.

More about Louis on Sweetland’s website
email: lcicciar[at]umich.edu

Stephanie Moody

I am a Lecturer in the Sweetland Center for Writing and the Department of English Language and Literature. I earned a Ph.D. in English and Education with a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Michigan. 

My research interests include writing pedagogy, rhetorical genre studies, literacy studies, feminist theory, and romance fiction studies.

More about Stephanie on Sweetland’s website
email: slmoody[at]umich.edu