Discerning Dissertating Learning Cohorts

The dissertation is known as the capstone of doctoral education, yet planning and writing one can be a confusing, stressful, and solitary endeavor. Indeed, for most students, the majority of time in grad school consists of the years after coursework and exams are completed - the protracted process of "dissertating" that can be exhilarating, exhausting, lonely, inscrutable, and profound - all at the same time.

In an effort to help you navigate this process, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning has created the Discerning Dissertating series to support and connect you with peers as you move through this new landscape together. In four linked seminars over time, we'll help you propose, begin, navigate, and complete your dissertation. Dissertating doesn't have to be quite so hard. Let's do it differently, together.

  • Discerning Dissertating – Navigating, for people in the middle of their dissertation projects, begins on Monday 4/8/24. We'll meet in person from 3:30-5pm at McGraw.

To learn more, register, or express interest in participating, please go to the Interest Form:

What is this series?

Discerning Dissertating entails four separate seminars, each with approximately six synchronous, virtual meetings complemented by online and asynchronous materials to scaffold your learning, create community, and ensure accountability between meetings. 

  • Planning: "Planning the Dissertation" is the first in the series. Here, we'll explore the transition from coursework to research; discuss choosing advisors and committee members; think through developing a prospectus; learn tools for effective project management; and much more. 
  • Launching: In this second seminar we discuss strategies to help you begin your independent research while also practicing habits to promote progress and well-being long-term.
  • Navigating: Here, we work on maintaining motivation for the long haul, sustaining communication with participants' mentors and advisors, and interpreting and implementing their feedback.
  • Completing: In "Completing the Dissertation" we work toward getting your theses ready to submit and defend,  discussing what "done" might mean, and looking ahead to life after grad school.