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Summer Writing Group Program will provide support to faculty during summer months

Summer is different for everyone. For some, it is a time to relax after the stressful academic year. For others, it is a time to travel abroad and experience the world. 

And for some, it is a time to work, research and be productive.

For faculty members with a working mindset, the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities have come together to create a program to support faculty in the research and writing process through the Summer Writing Group Program. 

Participants are divided into groups depending on their interests and preferences, and the groups are given the freedom to decide how to approach the program and their own goals, said journalism professor Debashis Aikat. 

Eric Muller, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, created the program. 

After nearly eight months of planning, the program was launched the summer of 2013. 

“It was very successful. It drew close to 70 faculty and this year the number was similar," said Maria Wisdom, executive director of the Institute of Arts and Humanities. 

"(This was) something (Muller) wanted to do for some time to see if he could put together some writing groups for faculty.”

Aikat said some groups decide to meet once a week to write together, while others communicate electronically. The group members are not necessarily from the same department or field of study. 

This causes the group members to be more supportive and less evaluative of each others’ research, which may also cause the program to be attractive, Wisdom said.

Muller said the groups serve multiple purposes, one of which is support. 

“The groups, by and large, are more about providing support for the writing process than they are about doing deep readings of each other’s writing," he said. "(They) are more about the writing process, how to support one another, how to set goals." 

Aikat said he recommends future participants of the program to set and keep to deadlines, as he found this to be one of the most helpful parts of the program. 

Muller said another attractive part of the program is the connections that faculty members gain through participation. 

“A secondary purpose (to the program) is to enable faculty members to connect with faculty members in ways they might not have been able to do otherwise," he said. 

Muller said he would love for it to continue to grow. 

"I think both of our units are very pleased to have partnered very effectively to bring to existence something that didn't exist before and that is helping faculty members to grow," he said.

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