Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

5th annual Writing Retreat gives faculty dedicated time to focus on scholarship

February 23rd, 2017

In what has become a StFX tradtiion during the university reading week, a number of faculty members gathered Feb. 20-24 to participate in the 5th annual Writing Retreat, which provides dedicated time to focus on scholarship.

This year, modern languages professor Dr. Wojciech Tokarz, with the support of StFX VP Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Richard Isnor, organized the retreat for faculty members interested in writing and doing research together. At the same time, Dr. Mark Leeming from the Writing Centre organized a Writing Retreat for senior students working on their thesis.

“Writing retreats are a popular mode of professional development that provide protected time during which participants must engage in writing in a sustained way. The first retreat at StFX was organized in 2012 by Dr. Rachel Hurst who was inspired by Barbara Grant’s article “Writing in the Company of Others,” Dr. Tokarz says.

“This is the second time I have had the pleasure to organize the Writing Retreat, and the third time I am a participant. It is a wonderful opportunity not only to have some research done, but also to connect professionally with my colleagues from around the campus, and learn about their newest research projects,” he says.

“I look forward to the writing retreat all winter,” agrees English professor Dr. Kailin Wright.

“It is a very productive event that enables me to work on my research and connect with other colleagues from different departments. This week, I am revising an article on popular yet political theatre audiences, forthcoming in "Theatre Journal," the top journal in theatre studies, this June. I am also working on a new paper on slavery and pregnancy loss, which I will be presenting at a conference at the University of Dublin in April. In short, I am very appreciative of this writing retreat, of Wojciech for organizing this event, and of StFX for funding it.”

The rules of a writing retreat are very simple, Dr. Tokarz says. During the event, participants do not engage in course prep, marking, or administrative/service responsibilities, and focus solely on research and grant application writing.

“We have a rather strict schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a break for lunch, which also gives us the opportunity to share our research progress, frustrations, observations, and hopes with the rest of the group.”

This year, the retreat had 11 participants registered representing faculty from across the campus: Jaqueline Van Wijlen (Nursing), Dr. Melanie Lam (Human Kinetics), Dr. Clare Fawcett (Anthropology), Dr. Erin Austen (Psychology), Dr. Laura Gougeon (Human Nutrition), Dr. Lisa Pasolli (History), Dr. Charlene Weaving (Human Kinetics), Dr. Ronald Charles (Religious Studies), Dr. Kailin Wright (English), Dr. Nancy Forestell (Women’s and Gender Studies), and Dr. Tokarz (Modern Languages), as well as six students interested in working on their thesis. Both groups worked in Immaculata Hall. 

This research is, in part, made possible by the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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