Enabling scholarly identity formation through doctoral writing retreats

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During the past couple of decades, higher education institutions have been enhancing supervision practices and academic support for increasingly large and diverse cohorts of doctoral students (Andres et al, 2015). To help these students transition into scholarly writers and successfully complete their dissertations, writing centers frequently provide writing support, including writing retreats. Writing retreats for doctoral students usually stress either individual writing time or formal, generic training of writing skills isolated from the broader learning processes in which students develop their scholarly identity and autonomy.This paper presents a peer group approach to doctoral writing retreats aimed at strengthening students’ informal learning and identity development within a formal disciplinary context (Starke-Meyering, 2011). Developed and facilitated by the authors at Aarhus University in Denmark, the retreat combines formal and informal learning about sustainable writing habits in a community of practice that supports individual and collective identity development (Murray and Newton, 2009; Boud & Lee, 2005). We will discuss the development and results of three separate retreats run between 2017 and 2019, based on action research. The data includes facilitator experiences, observations and reflections, the writing retreat design, student answers to open-ended questions, and student evaluations. The retreat is innovative in actively using peer groups in the learning process and in being embedded within a formal research program consisting of several adjacent disciplines. The retreats focused on the writing process, (cross-)disciplinary negotiation of meaning through supervisor feedback and peer review, writing time, and individual and social development. The learning thus occurred at several intersections: in generic, cross-disciplinary, and disciplinary frameworks, as well as in formal and informal and individual and collective learning processes. Our findings indicate that the retreat helped strengthen students' confidence and skills as writers, their individual and collective identities as doctoral students and emerging scholars, and their institutional ties.
Udgivelsesår29 mar. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 29 mar. 2019
BegivenhedEATAW 2019: Academic writing at intersections – Interdisciplinarity, genre hybridization, multilingualism, digitalization, and interculturality​ ​ - Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sverige
Varighed: 2 jul. 20194 jul. 2019


KonferenceEATAW 2019
LokationChalmers University of Technology

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