Virtual summer writing retreats bringing faculty together for ‘Thoughtful Thursdays’
June 24, 2020
The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is offering a series of two-hour mini writing retreats through July for faculty interested in working with colleagues across the campus on scholarly ventures, teaching materials, or creative or personal writing projects.
“Thoughtful Thursdays” provide faculty with weekly sessions that include check-ins with colleagues and directed writing time to work on particular areas of personal or professional interest. The program is designed to help provide online connections and support to faculty as scholars, regardless of the current university environment or level of operations. It also provides an opportunity for them to develop a network of peers outside of their home department or college.
“I’m pleased to see that despite the current restrictions on gathering in-person, the summer writing retreats are able to continue to support faculty in a virtual format,” said Rachel Gabriele, assistant provost for faculty initiatives and policies and organizer of the retreat program. “Not only have these retreats allowed faculty an opportunity to carve out some time to focus on their scholarly work, I have also been particularly excited to see new connections and collaborations being made among the participants, even in a virtual format.”
Some of the projects and activities faculty have taken part in during the early summer sessions include revisions to manuscripts, research and writing draft of book chapters, writing and editing case studies, and finalizing of footnotes and transitions on a near-finished journal articles. Writing activities take place in the form of “Pomodoros” – 25-minute blocks in which a writer can focus on a specific task, followed by a five-minute break to check-in, stretch and offer accountability. Participants are able to come and go during the retreats to accommodate their particular needs and schedules.
Originally planned as a three-day event scheduled for July at the Inn at Virginia Tech, the Faculty Affairs team was able to quickly transition the writing retreat to the virtual “Thoughtful Thursdays” format, still giving faculty an opportunity to take a break from their summer schedules for dedicated time to work on writing.
“Thoughtful Thursdays” follows a successful virtual writing retreat held in April. That writing retreat, originally scheduled during spring break, in addition to a retreat for faculty in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, both had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In their place, a series of four, three-hour virtual retreats, led by Monique Dufour, collegiate assistant professor of history, were held via Zoom and allowed faculty from all locations an opportunity to come together for targeted writing time.
“Thoughtful Thursdays” will continue through the end of July and will take place in alternating morning/afternoon sessions. Faculty who would like to participate are asked to register online and indicate the days they plan to attend. For more information, please contact Rachel Gabriele, assistant provost for faculty initiatives and policies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.