Writing Groups

two women talking

Writing is a significant part of our professional lives as faculty. We’re working on articles, grant proposals, books, teaching statements, blogs, or op-eds.

Too often, however, we don’t have opportunities to talk about the process, our struggles, or to get feedback from readers outside (or even within) our own departments. It also can be difficult to find time to write given our other important commitments as teachers, mentors, and administrators.

The Faculty Write Program sponsors writing groups to enhance writing productivity, collegiality, and the exchange of ideas across disciplines. Writing group types include:

participants in writing group

Feedback/writing exchange groups – each participant brings a short piece of writing to share for discussion. Groups typically include 3-5 writers and meet either monthly or weekly. 

Side-by-side/Write-on-site – participants meet at an agreed upon time and place to work on independent writing projects alongside other faculty. Arrive with any materials you will need to work on your own writing, and write in good company with other faculty. Stay as long as your schedule allows. Coffee and snacks provided to fuel your efforts. 

Accountability or “check-in” groups – faculty set goals and share their progress with other faculty (can be in person or virtual). Participants report back on their progress, and reporting to a group of peers increases their accountability to meet the outlined goals.

Some groups form around specific topics (i.e. experiential education), type of writing (creative writing or public scholarship), or faculty cohort (new faculty, associate professors, women faculty). Writing groups form in September, December, and May. 

Spring 2021 Multidisciplinary "Side-by-Side" Writing Groups | Online

Meet online with other faculty and write side-by-side in good company. Open to faculty in any discipline.

For Faculty Write writing retreat alumni and returning writing group participants. If you’d like to join either or both of these groups, please contact Melissa Simmermeyer:  

  • Mondays 10-1, Convener – Cecilia Márquez (History)
  • Fridays 10-1, Convener – Melissa Simmermeyer (Romance Studies)

NEW writing groups open to new and returning participants. If  you have not participated in a Faculty Write Program writing retreat or writing group before, then these are the groups for you!  Early February meetings will include writer introductions and brief overview of side-by-side writing guidelines. If you’d like to join either or both of these groups, please contact the faculty convener:  

9 members of May 1 writing group on Zoom

Contact Jennifer Ahern-Dodson (jahern@duke.edu) to discuss organizing a writing group, workshop, or retreat for your department, school, or program.

Participant Feedback


"Every group member indicated that the gathering was instrumental in finishing writing over the course of the semester. The collective energy and commitment device combined to ensure productivity, and not one of us thought we could have done it on our own" – Lisa Griffin, Professor of Law, writing group convener


"Convening for the write-on-site meetings has been a key factor to keep me on task with my writing. It keeps me in motion. It is a special time reserved for the one thing that easily gets lost in the middle of a hundred other jobs with more pressing deadlines. I have come to enjoy writing again." – Magda Silva, Director of Duke’s Portuguese Language Program


"Since I began the write-on-site groups and retreats, my writing output has changed drastically. Primarily a choreographer and performer, I am now presenting papers at scholarly conferences much more frequently and submitted an article to a peer-reviewed journal. It was accepted, revised and resubmitted, and appears in Dance Chronicle. I am already working on another article." – Barbara Dickinson, Professor of the Practice of Dance


"I’ve been amazed at how much I can get done by setting aside a few hours a week.  Slow and steady, but it accumulates!  It’s enabled me to finally come up for promotion" – Charlotte Sussman, Associate Professor of English