PhD Dissertation Workshop

"A mother's vision includes tough nurturance, survival love, a demanding state of grace. It is a vision slowly forming from the body of work created by women. I imagine a wide and encompassing room filled with women lost in concentration. They are absorbed in the creation of an emotional tapestry, an intellectual quilt."      --- Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay's Dance  

Held on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Gender Institute's PhD Dissertation Workshop provides a supportive, rigorous structure for PhD students who are writing dissertations on topics related to women, gender, and/or sexuality. Participants make steady, demonstrable progress each week by meeting to write, discuss their work, and report on their progress. Each workshop begins with two hours of writing followed by discussion over lunch (provided by the institute). The workshop is free, but space is limited and registration is required. Staunch commitment to the weekly meetings is required for participation; more than two missed sessions will result in dismissal from the workshop.

The Fall 2018 workshop will run on Mondays from September 10 - December 3, 2018. 

Register here

For more information contact the workshop's facilitator, Anne Marie Butler

Dissertation Workshop participants
Workshop participants

Testimonials from Participants

"I appreciated how accountability works in a collective environment. There is a friendly and supportive atmosphere at the GI. We can work individually but we also get peer feedback on our writing. Especially this last element is very helpful. We tend to think we write clearly and convincingly (most of the time) but it is difficult for us to gauge how well our messages come across. The comments are always encouraging, constructive, and insightful and help us to make our writing more layered and accessible for an audience." 
Patricia Chaudron, English 

"I find it useful to be surrounded by students who are in similar situation as mine. It serves as a motivation and making me feel less alienated in graduate studies, particularly when I am no longer taking coursework and not meeting classmates as much as I used to. The workshop also provides me with a structure, that is I feel required to make substantial progress every Monday and I make clear goals on what I want to achieve that day. The discussions that we have are also immensely useful as they range from "basic" problems such as managing time, proposal writing, and just how to remain motivated throughout the process. It is helpful that the group consists of students who are at various stages in the dissertation writing, so that those who are almost finished can give input to those who are just starting."
Asri Saraswati, Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

"The Gender Institute's dissertation writing workshop provided me with a unique space to unplug and focus on my work. As a teaching instructor it is hard for me to find the mental distance to really be able to focus on my dissertation, and the workshop managed to do just that. Just as important as having the scheduled time and space to work on my dissertation was the fellowship with other women working on their dissertations. From conversations about dissertation writing strategies to fellowship applications to how to deal with teaching problems, a healthy life-work balance, and the constant need for chocolate and caffeine, the community of women that the dissertation writing workshop provided really made a difference in my life. It certainly started out the week on a positive note and gave me energy to get through the rest of it!"
Tanja Aho, American Studies


Inaugurated in January 2013 the Dissertation Workshop has met every semester and for two sessions each summer. Participants have included dozens of doctoral students from 14 countries of origin and ten academic fields in four UB schools (Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Social Work, and Graduate School of Education).