GSAS Writing Studio

Writing Studio

Please note that some of the information on this page has been updated because of the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The GSAS Writing Studio, which opened in September 2018, is dedicated to supporting Arts and Sciences doctoral students in the process of writing the dissertation.

The quiet writing stations in our newly renovated space on the third floor of Lehman Library are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis on weekdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Additional meeting rooms, including our downstairs Seminar Room (Room 321), are available by reservation for dissertation-related group work.

If you require accessibility accommodations, please contact us directly: gsas-writingstudio [at] columbia.edu.

All GSAS Writing Studio events, programs, spaces, and services are restricted for use to PhD and DMA students in these Arts and Sciences departments. Students from all other programs, departments, or schools are ineligible to use the GSAS Writing Studio or participate in its programs. A list of writing support resources available to doctoral students outside Arts and Sciences departments may be found here

Workshops

All workshops will be held remotely, using Zoom. Please see individual registration confirmation pages for meeting ID numbers.

Make a Semester Writing Plan
Set yourself up for dissertation-writing success this fall. In this one-hour workshop, you'll develop meaningful goals and set a plan for reaching them, including identifying support systems, safety nets, and other structures to help you succeed. This workshop is open to Arts & Sciences PhD students at any phase of the dissertation process, but is best suited to those who plan to write actively this semester.

Wednesday, September 2, 4:00-5:00pm

Friday, September 4, 1:00-2:00pm

 

Copyright Issues and the Dissertation
Rina Elster Pantalony, Director of Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries, will lead this 90-minute workshop on how to avoid potential last-minute, dissertation-related copyright issues. She will recommend resources and answer questions from students.

Thursday, September 3, 10-11:30am

Past Workshops
(If you'd be interested in our running another session, please let us know:  gsas-writingstudio [at] columbia.edu)

Write an Effective Dissertation Abstract
In this workshop, we tackle one of the trickiest, highest-impact writing tasks required of us as dissertation writers: the abstract. We'll offer strategies for developing a clear, concise, and exciting articulation of your work. Participants will leave with tools that they can use in developing dissertation abstracts for grants/fellowships, the job market, and the deposit.

Revision Strategies for the Dissertation
This workshop offers concrete methods for revising long, complex drafts. We’ll help you find simple, new ways to rethink structure, sharpen argument, and incorporate specific, high-stakes reader feedback. 

Zotero for the Dissertation
In this informal workshop, we will offer participants a first-hand look at using Zotero to aid the dissertation-writing process. We will discuss citation management as well as Zotero's more general database functionality, with a focus on using Zotero to manage large quantities of archival source material. Most useful to writers in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Scrivener 101
Scrivener's writer-designed interface makes it one of the most powerful tools available for drafting long, complex, researched works. In this informal workshop, we'll offer participants a first-hand look at how we use the program in our own writing: to organize sources and citations, create flexible chapter outlines, record ideas that are still under development, make deep cuts and radical revisions, and encourage a sustainable, steady writing practice.

LaTeX for the Dissertation
In this informal workshop, we'll offer participants a firsthand look at how we use LaTeX in our own dissertation writing. Note: While this workshop will discuss the GSAS dissertation template in LaTex, it is not designed as a tutorial.

Jumpstart Your Prospectus
This 90-minute workshop is designed for PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who would like to kickstart their prospectus/dissertation proposal this Fall. We will think together about how to structure a prospectus to fit your disciplinary needs, and talk about the different models you might follow. You will leave with an outline and a plan for executing your prospectus.

Archive Basics for Non-historians: Pandemic Edition
Does your dissertation require archival research, but you're not sure where to start? The Writing Studio's consultant-historians are here to help! In this hour-long workshop, we will cover basics: planning archival research; tips and tricks to make the most out of your research time; tools for organizing your research; and ideas for integrating your findings into your writing upon your return.  In light of the current impossibility of traveling to archives, we will also discuss strategies for doing archival research remotely. Participants will learn a variety of strategies and will have the opportunity to draft an individualized research plan.

Revise and Resubmit
In this informal workshop, we offer strategies for incorporating reader feedback into revisions. We'll discuss productive methods for working with in-text comments, tracked changes, and narrative feedback from faculty, peers, and reviewers. This workshop is ideal for dissertation writers who would like to approach the revision process with increased confidence.

How to Use the Word Template for your Dissertation Most Effectively
GSAS has devised a dissertation template for students in Word, based on the existing guidelines required for formal deposit. In this workshop, we will offer an overview, answer questions, and help writers get started. Please note: though GSAS also offers a template in LaTeX, this workshop will focus exclusively on the Word template.

Make the Most of a Chapter Meeting
Join us for a one-hour workshop that will help you approach chapter meetings confidently and productively!  We'll talk about how to schedule a committee meeting, set a productive agenda, and invite the feedback that will be most helpful to you. We'll also troubleshoot common stressors like elusive advisors and confusing revision directives. Participants will leave the workshop with a plan for how to structure and lead their next committee meeting.

This Is How I...Write an Effective Dissertation Abstract

In this workshop, we tackle one of the trickiest, highest-stakes writing tasks required of us as scholars: the abstract. We'll offer strategies for developing a clear, concise, and exciting articulation of your work. Participants will leave with tools that they can use in developing abstracts for conferences, grant applications, and dissertation deposit.

NEW: Virtual Mezzanine

Your virtual coffee shop, but way more comfy. Join fellow dissertation writers in the Studio’s new, online drop-in space. Co-working sessions begin weekdays at 9:00 am. If you’re looking for a no-strings accountability group, stop by #coworking, tell us what you’re doing today, and let us cheer you on. While you’re there, you can check out the Studio’s other channels to ask questions, find dissertation-related resources, get work-from-home tips, enjoy some #studio-pets and #good-vibes-only—even meet someone for lunch (#nous-café)!  

Dissertation-Writing Sprints

Dissertation-Writing Sprints (Remote-participation)

Join fellow Arts and Sciences dissertation writers for 3-hour blocks of accountability, light goal-setting structures, and focused writing time.

Morning Sprints: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00am-noon

Afternoon Sprints: Mondays, 3:00-6:00pm

Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. 

 

Dissertation-Writing Groups

*** Fall 2020 Dissertation-Writing Group registration is now OPEN! ***

Join fellow Arts and Sciences dissertation writers for mutual support, accountability, and reader feedback.

GROUPS BEGIN MEETING THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21, 2020.

Please be aware that belonging to a dissertation writing group requires that you be willing to make a commitment to the group's mutually agreed-upon expectations and procedures.

Registration deadline: Thursday, September 10.

 

 

Prospectus Club

**Prospectus Club registration is now open for Fall 2020!**
 

The Prospectus Club offers early-stage dissertation support for students in the Humanities or Social Sciences who are starting to work on their prospectus/proposal and who could benefit from an interdisciplinary group of peers.

What to Expect: By the end of 8 sessions, writers will have a working draft of their prospectus. Writers should expect a high level of participation and engagement, and will be expected to share their ideas and drafts with fellow group members.

Mondays & Wednesdays, 4:00-6:00pm for 4 weeks 

September Session: Monday, September 14 - Wednesday, October 7
October Session: Monday, October 12 - Wednesday, November 4
November Session: Monday, November 9 - Wednesday, December 2

All sessions will be held remotely, via Zoom.

Please be aware that belonging to a dissertation writing group requires that you be willing to make a commitment to the group's mutually agreed upon expectations and procedures.

One-on-One Consultations: New Appointment Scheduler

**All one-on-one writing consultations are now held remotely. Please make an appointment using our usual scheduler. A consultant will be in touch with a Zoom meeting ID.**

Dissertation writers in Arts and Sciences departments may schedule a forty-five-minute, one-on-one consultation with one of the Studio’s trained consultants. We can help you make a writing plan, organize a chapter, develop a concise articulation of a big idea, or revise an existing draft. Bring us whatever you're working on and we'll jump right in!

If you require accessibility accommodations, please contact us directly: gsas-writingstudio [at] columbia.edu

Dissertation-Writers' Retreats

There are no Dissertation-Writers' Retreats currently planned for Fall 2020.

Please check here again for information about our January 2021 Retreat.

Room Reservations

**All GSAS Writing Studio spaces are closed until further notice, following Columbia University policy.**

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The GSAS Writing Studio offers meeting space to PhD students in Arts and Sciences departments for dissertation-related group work. All rooms are equipped with whiteboards. Reservations are available until 10:00pm daily.

Please note that these rooms are to be used for dissertation work only. They may not be used for grading, by organizations, to make phone calls, or for meetings with people other than peers.

Groups of 2-8: Reserve a room in the Studio’s upstairs mezzanine space (319M Lehman Library). Room A seats eight and is equipped with a media screen.

Groups of 9-16: Reserve the Studio’s downstairs Seminar Room (321 Lehman Library), which is equipped with a media screen. This room is wheelchair accessible.

Dissertation and Writing Life Resources

Dissertation Templates

GSAS has developed dissertation templates in Word and LaTeX, based on the existing guidelines required for formal deposit.

 

Dissertation Copyright Information

Columbia Copyright Advisory Services offers information on how to navigate copyright issues surrounding dissertation research and related publication.

Copyright Advisory Services: Dissertation Resources

Director of Copyright Advisory Services, Rina Elster Pantalony, has put together a series of short, informal videos to address frequently-asked questions around copyright and the dissertation.

For other copyright resources, including the Fair Use Checklist, please visit the Copyright Advisory Services website, linked above.

 

Peer Dissertation-Writing Groups

The GSAS Writing Studio offers facilitated dissertation-writing groups to current dissertation-stage students in Arts & Sciences departments.

For all students wishing to start their own peer-feedback or accountability writing groups, the Studio offers these resources:

Our Dissertation Writing Group Checklist takes you step-by-step through the questions to consider when setting up a new group.

Our Peer-Feedback Guides offer tips for getting the most out of working with fellow writers:

 

Goal-setting and Time Management

For both groups and individuals, developing and stating specific goals at the start of a writing session can help structure and frame the time effectively.

GSAS Writing Studio Worksheets:

Other resources:

Columbia Mental Health Services offers semesterly workshops on managing procrastination.

 

Work-from-Home and Wellness

The Columbia Office of Work/Life has compiled an excellent collection of resources related to working remotely and maintaining physical and mental health.

 

Hours

From 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday, the GSAS Writing Studio is restricted for use by PhD students in Arts and Sciences departments who are already in the dissertation phase of their program.

Policies
  • The GSAS Writing Studio's events, programs, spaces, and services are restricted for use by PhD students in these Arts and Sciences departments who are already in the dissertation phase of their program.
  • Students from all other programs, departments, or schools are ineligible to use the GSAS Writing Studio or to participate in its programs. A list of writing support resources available to doctoral students outside Arts and Sciences departments may be found here.

Room Use Policies 

  • Arts and Sciences dissertation writers may reserve meeting room space for one to four hours at a time, in hour-long blocks.
  • Arts and Sciences dissertation-writing groups may reserve space for up to four hours per day, and up to ten hours per week.
  • Registrants will be emailed promptly by email of the status of their reservation request.
  • GSAS Writing Studio spaces may be used for dissertation-writing only. They may not be used as classrooms, recitation rooms, lecture rooms, or TA grading rooms; for office hours; or as venues for social gatherings or student organization meetings.

One-on-one Consultation Policies

  • Arts and Sciences dissertation writers may make appointments for one-on-one consultations with trained Studio consultants.
  • Writers are limited to two appointments per week (1 scheduled appointment + 1 drop-in OR scheduled appointment, if available); no more than one visit per day; and no more than eight visits total per semester.

No-show and Lateness Policies 

  • A writer or group is considered a no-show if they have not arrived or communicated with us by 15 minutes after the start of the appointment, room booking, or event, according to Studio clocks.
  • Writers who miss two one-on-one appointments without canceling in advance lose their appointment-making privileges for the remainder of the semester. They are still welcome to make use of drop-in appointments, when available.
  • Writers who no-show three times for events, appointments, or room bookings will not be considered for a GSAS Writing Studio Dissertation-Writers' Retreat and may be automatically placed on the waitlist for other events.
Contact

Please write to Kate Daloz, Director of the GSAS Writing Studio, with any questions or suggestions at gsas-writingstudio [at] columbia.edu.

How to Find Us

Click here to view a map of Lehman Library.

  • The Studio’s mezzanine space is located on the west side of Lehman Library, in 319M (West Reading Room). Once you pass through Lehman Library’s main turnstile, turn right. The stairs up to the mezzanine level are located at the near end of the reading room.
  • The GSAS Writing Studio Seminar Room is located on east side of the library, in 321 Lehman. Once you pass through Lehman Library’s main turnstile, turn left. This room is available by reservation only; the keys may be obtained from Lehman’s circulation-desk librarians after you have reserved the room online (see above). This room is wheelchair accessible.