Writing Groups

Writing is a significant part of our professional lives as faculty. We’re working on articles, grant proposals, books, teaching statements, blogs, or op-eds. Too often, however, we don’t have opportunities to talk about the process, our struggles, or to get feedback from readers outside (or even within) our own departments. It also can be difficult to find time to write given our other important commitments as teachers, mentors, and administrators.

The Faculty Write Program sponsors writing groups to enhance writing productivity, collegiality, and the exchange of ideas across disciplines. Writing group types include:

Feedback / writing exchange groups – each participant brings a short piece of writing to share for discussion.

Write-on-site –  participants meet at an agreed upon time and place to work on independent writing projects alongside other faculty.

Accountability or “check-in” groups – faculty set goals and share their progress with other faculty (can be in person or virtual). Participants report back on their progress, and reporting to a group of peers increases their accountability to meet the outlined goals.

Some groups form around specific topics (i.e. experiential education), type of writing (creative writing or public scholarship), or faculty cohort (new faculty, associate professors, women faculty). Writing groups form in September, December, and May. Please fill out this interest form if you’d like to participate in or lead a faculty writing group.

Want to learn more about what it’s like to be in a writing group? Read the Duke Today story From Brain to Paper about a writing feedback group and Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June about an online accountability group.


Fall Writing Groups

Additional groups form in mid-September.  Information Session Thursday, September 7, 1:30-3:00 in Perkins 218. 

WRITE-ON-SITE. Arrive with any materials you will need to work on your own writing. Please contact the faculty convener if you are interested in joining the group.

Tuesdays 9-11:30 in Perkins 413. Convener: Magda Silva (Romance Studies), mbcsilva@duke.edu. Begins August 29.

Thursdays 9-11:30am on the mezzanine (6th floor) of Environment Hall. Indoor and outdoor writing spaces.  Conveners: Charlotte Clark (Environment) and Dori Canelas (Chemistry). Begins August 31.

WRITING EXCHANGE GROUP: FIELD U (Faculty in Experiential Learning@Duke U). Civic Engagement scholarship discussion group. Group meets two-three times each semester to discuss  writing projects, publishing outlets, and current issues in the field.  Contact  jahern@duke.edu or jcliffor@duke.edu for more information. Cosponsored by Duke Service-Learning and the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

WRITING AND ACADEMIC WORK WORKING GROUP 2017-18.  Conveners: Sarah Beckwith (English); Toril Moi (Literature) and Cathy Shuman (English). This is the second year of the group, and the conveners welcome new and returning participants.

Invitation from conveners: We are delighted to invite anyone with an interest in writing to the first meeting of the Writing and Academic Work Working Group on Monday September 11th at 6pm in 314 Allen Building. At this meeting we will decide on our priorities for the year.  The project builds on several related convictions. Writing is thinking. Writing is integral to intellectual work, not a stylistic layer added on to pre-existing thought. But writing is also a craft. It is at once a central topic in literary studies and its essential medium. By paying attention to the craft of writing, we improve our own academic writing, and also learn to communicate to different kinds of non-academic audiences, not least to common readers who care about literature and culture. Last year we held a series of meetings in which we focused on the art of the essay and the memoir. This year, we are eager to make sure the group really helps us to do our own writing. Please contact Matia Guardabascio (matia.guardabascio@duke.edu) if interested.


Contact Jennifer Ahern-Dodson (jahern@duke.edu) to discuss organizing a writing group, workshop, or retreat for your department, school, or program.


IMAGE CREDIT: Pakmat, Coral detailCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons