GCAC Boot Camps and Writing Intensives

​​​​​​​The Graduate Centre for Academic Communication (GCAC) was formerly known as the Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS). GCAC Boot Camps and Intensive Courses are designed to give U of T graduate students a blend of expert guidance and dedicated writing time. We offer support in dissertation writing, proposal writing, and research article writing, at different points throughout the year. For more information on each, please see below. By combining opportunities for distraction-free writing with instruction on complex doctoral writing genres, we help graduate students to meet their writing goals, deepen their understanding of academic writing, and build a community of writers.

Dissertation Boot Camp: August 22 - 24, 2017

Why, What, Who, and How?

Why a Dissertation Boot Camp?

Writing a dissertation is a priority for doctoral students, but finding productive writing time is often a challenge. Despite its centrality, the dissertation is frequently neglected amidst all the obligations and distractions of everyday life. The Dissertation Boot Camp is a chance to step away from that routine and focus exclusively on dissertation writing for three days.

What is a Dissertation Boot Camp?

The Dissertation Boot Camp will give you dedicated blocks of writing time as well as the opportunity to learn about strategies for productive dissertation writing. You'll be required to ignore the Internet (lunch breaks excepted) and set aside other demands on your time for three days, giving you the opportunity to make significant progress in your writing. We will also discuss various productivity approaches to help you gain momentum in your writing that will last beyond our three days together.

Who is eligible to enrol in a Dissertation Boot Camp?

In order to sign up for the GCAC Dissertation Boot Camp, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You are actively engaged in writing a doctoral dissertation in any department at U of T; the boot camp is not open to Master's students.
  • You are finished with course work, qualifying exams, and primary research and/or data collection; the boot camp is designed for writing, not further reading and research.

How does the Dissertation Boot Camp work?

We provide a space conducive to the business of writing: distraction-free with places to plug in your laptop. The camp will be run by a facilitator knowledgeable about the many challenges associated with dissertation writing. We provide coffee, tea, and snacks each day. Participants will come prepared with their own laptops and all the materials they need to achieve their writing goals. Each day will begin at 9:00 am and conclude after 4:00 pm.​

How Do I Apply?

Dates: Tuesday, August 22–Thursday, August 24, 2017

Enrolment in the boot camp is limited to 20 students. To apply for a place, please email the following information to Dr. Rachael Cayley (rachael.cayley@utoronto.ca) by Thursday, August 3:

  • Your department and year of study
  • Your writing stage (i.e., where you are in the dissertation writing process)
  • Your reasons for wishing to participate in this three-day boot camp
  • Your confirmation that you will be available for the full three days

Once Rachael has assessed your eligibility for the boot camp, she will advise you whether or not you have been accepted. If you are accepted, you will be asked to formally register and pay a non-refundable fee of $20 to cover the incidental costs of the boot camp.

Applications must be received by Thursday, August 3. As GCAC is closed for the month of July, you may not receive notification that your application has been received until after August 1. All applicants will receive a response to their application by Tuesday, August 8. When you accept your spot in the boot camp, you will be asked to confirm that you will be available to attend for the full three days without exception.

Please note: Eligible applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have already participated in a GCAC or ELWS Dissertation Boot Camp, you will only be considered after applicants who are applying for the first time.​

Writing SSHRC Proposals: August 30 - 31, 2017

​​​​​Why, What, and How?

Why a SSHRC Writing Intensive Course?

For many years, GCAC has offered courses on Writing SSHRC Proposals to graduate students who are preparing to apply for Master's or doctoral awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Good SSHRC proposals are hard to write, and they are also hard to prepare during the busy beginning of term. The goal of this writing-intensive version of our SSHRC course is to encourage students to devote concentrated time to writing their SSHRC proposals before the business of term begins.

What is the difference between GCAC's regular SSHRC course and the Writing Intensive version of the course?

The writing-intensive version of the SSHRC course takes place over two days (9:30 – 4:30 on Wednesday, Aug. 30 and 9:30 - 12:30 on Thursday, Aug. 31, with breaks for lunch and coffee​). Students are required to attend both days to be eligible for GPS credit. This two-day course will include the same material covered in the regular course, but it will also include two blocks of silent, distraction-free writing each day. During that writing time, students will apply the concepts discussed in class to their own SSHRC proposals. One-on-one appointments will be available to students (dates to be scheduled). There will also be opportunities for peer-review and group discussions.

​Logistics

When: 9:30 – 4:30 on Wed., Aug 30 and 9:30 - 12:30 on Thurs., Aug 31.
The 3-hour morning and afternoon sessions will begin with lectures by the course teacher, Dr. Jane Freeman, followed by a break, 1 – 1.5 hours of distraction-free writing, and a discussion. You should bring everything with you that you need for productive proposal writing including your laptops and notes. Morning coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided, but students will be responsible for bringing their own lunch. We encourage you to eat together so you can meet your fellow grant-writers.

Eligibility & Registration Procedures

Eligibility

Enrolment is open to registered graduate students at the University of Toronto who are applying for Master's or doctoral SSHRC grants or for OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarships). Those applying for postdoctoral fellowships are not eligible to participate. Applicants must participate for the full 9 hours of this course to be eligible for GPS credit.

​Registration Procedures

​Please read the ​Registration Instructions ​and Attendance Policies carefully before registering.​

SSHRC Writing Intensive: Aug. 30 (9:30 – 4:30) and Aug 31 (9:30 - 12:30) - Dr. Jane Freeman     REGISTER​


Writing NSERC Proposals: August 30 - 31, 2017

​​Why, What, and How?

Why an NSERC Writing Intensive Course?

For many years, GCAC has offered courses on​​ Writing NSERC Proposals to graduate students who are preparing to apply for Master's or doctoral awards from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Writing a good NSERC proposal is both challenging and time consuming; during the busy beginning of term, it can be difficult to find the time and space to start the writing process. The goal of this writing-intensive version of our NSERC course is to encourage students to devote concentrated time to writing their NSERC proposals before the business of term begins.

​What is the difference between GCAC's regular NSERC course and the Writing Intensive version of the course?

The writing-intensive version of the NSERC course takes place over two days (9:30 – 4:30 on Wednesday, Aug. 30 and 9:30 - 12:30 on Thursday, Aug. 31, with breaks for lunch and coffee). Students are required to attend both days to be eligible for GPS credit. This two-day course will include the same material covered in the regular course, but it will also include blocks of silent, distraction-free writing each day. During that writing time, students will apply the concepts discussed in class to their own NSERC proposals, with the objective of completing at least a first draft (and perhaps a more polished version). One-on-one appointments will be available to students enrolled in the writing intensive (dates to be scheduled). There will also be opportunities for peer-review and group discussions.

Logistics

When: 9:30 – 4:30 on Wed., Aug 30 and 9:30 - 12:30 on Thurs., Aug 31.
The 3-hour morning and afternoon sessions will begin with lectures and analysis of sample proposals by the course teacher, Alan Chong, followed by a break, 1 – 1.5 hours of distraction-free writing, and a discussion. You should bring everything with you that you need for productive proposal writing including your laptops and notes. Morning coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided, but students will be responsible for bringing their own lunch. We encourage you to eat together so you can meet your fellow grant-writers.

Eligibility & Registration Procedures

Eligibility

Enrolment is open to registered graduate students at the University of Toronto who are applying for Master's or doctoral NSERC grants or for OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarships). Those applying for postdoctoral fellowships are not eligible to participate. Applicants must participate for the full 9 hours of this course to be eligible for GPS credit.

​Registration Procedures

Please read the ​Registration Instructions ​and Attendance Policies​ carefully before registering.

NSERC Writing Intensive: Aug. 30 (9:30 – 4:30) and Aug 31 (9:30 - 12:30) - Dr. Alan Chong     REGIST​ER​​​​​

Research Article Boot Camp: Fall 2017

Why, What, Who, and How?

Why a Writing Boot Camp?

Getting your research published is a priority for graduate students, but finding uninterrupted time for writing is often challenging. Most of us have been in the position of having completed our research and then feeling the pressure to get it down on paper. Yet prioritizing your writing and scheduling structured writing time seems impossible amidst all the obligations and distractions of everyday living. In short, your research is just sitting there and you need something to get you moving, something to get you closer to being able to press “submit.” 

What is a Writing Boot Camp?

The GCAC Research Article Writing Boot Camp is designed to provide U of T graduate students with a dedicated time and space for intensive writing. By providing you with a writing regimen in a distraction-free environment, as well as expert support and advice, we can help you to reach your writing objectives, namely, finishing your manuscript so you can submit your article for publication.

In this camp, you'll be asked to declare your writing goals and then be given dedicated blocks of writing time, free from all the regular distractions and demands on your time. You'll be asked to abandon the Internet and email for the two days (lunch breaks excepted), giving you the opportunity to get some writing done and to consider and discuss the process of writing with other graduate students facing the same challenges as you. 

Importantly, this “Camp” offers a way to rediscover the positive aspects of writing and move away from the stress and guilt that's often associated with it. What you will actually write depends on where you currently are in the writing process—whether you need to start, make progress on or complete your research article will be decided by you.

Who Should Sign Up?

In order to sign up for the GCAC Research Article Writing Boot Camp, the following conditions apply:

  • ​Your research and data collection must be finished, i.e. you need to be at a point where the only logical thing to do is write. Boot Camp is for writing, not further reading and research. 

  • You are willing to set goals and strive to reach them, to commit to a two-day program and to realize your potential for self-disciplined writing.

What Are the Logistics of the GCAC Research Article Boot Camp?

The GCAC Research Article Writing Boot Camp takes place on two consecutive days, from 9:00 to 4:30 each day. We provide a space conducive to thinking about, discussing and getting down to the business of writing—distraction-free with places to plug in your laptop. The camp is run by a facilitator knowledgeable about the ins and outs of writing research articles. We provide morning coffee, snacks, and lunch each day of the camp. You come prepared with your laptop and all the materials (e.g., research notes, lab results) you'll need to achieve your writing goals.

How Do I Apply?

Please check back for enrolment instructions in Fall 2017.