Last weekend, nine newer assistant professors from the college met on the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus to work on their writing and learn about ways to increase scholarly productivity, enhance their writing skill, seek grant opportunities, and make connections with colleagues. While writing retreats as a concept are not new, pulling together assistant professors in a college of education for a writing retreat could be unique.
The workshop was facilitated by college Research Development Coordinator Laura Girardeau, myself, and Dean A.G. Rud. Those in attendance were:
Olusola Adesope, Educational Psychology
Chad Lochmiller, Educational leadership
Kristin Huggins, Educational leadership
Eric Johnson, Bilingual education
Kristin Leissig, Mathematics Education
Sarah Newcomber, Literacy
Kelly Puzio, Literacy
Yong-chae Rhee, Sport Management
Sara Ullrich-French, Kinesiology
Faculty were asked to bring one or more writing projects to work on. Book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, a grant proposal to NSF, and a dissertation were some of the projects people brought. Some reported entire sections of a manuscript were completed during this time. Yong-chae Rhee completed, submitted, and had accepted an expert column on the U.S. Open tennis tournament in the top Korean portal site, “Daum.” The column is titled “The U.S. Open, the festival for tennis-crazed fans.” The daily traffic for this portal is approximately 3,650,000 people. This column could have quite an impact.
We spent time discussing challenges to writing, ways to overcome them, and each offered to the group, something they would work on or incorporate into their writing routine.
Time was also spent on seeking grant opportunities, strategies for developing ideas, building collaborations, and ways to promote projects.
We also had some fun in the evening. Assistant Vice Chancellor Liza Nagel had us over to her place for a wonderful dinner and social gathering.
As we broke on Sunday afternoon, one faculty member mentioned to me that while it was understood that improvement of writing was the main outcome for the retreat, getting to know colleagues and making connections that might not be easily done without the retreat, was also a key outcome.
We obtained feedback on what worked well and what could be improved. Planning is already under way for another retreat next year with a different group of faculty.