Volunteers needed for focus groups

I am currently undertaking a small research project to explore postgraduate students’ motivations for attending or not attending professional development workshops and to explore which factors postgraduate students feel would facilitate participation and engagement with professional development. As part of this project, I am looking for volunteers to take part in one of three focus group interviews. These focus groups will form part of a study designed to explore motivations for attending PGR professional development workshops and scope out demand for future workshops both in terms of format and content. Your contribution will ensure that the needs of our PGR community continues to be met.
I am inviting all PGRs at University of Liverpool to participate, whether or not you have attended a workshop previously, or intend to sign up for one in the future.
Focus groups are scheduled to take place 12-2pm on the following dates:
Tuesday 21st November
Wednesday 29th November
Friday 1st December
To take part in the focus groups, please respond by email to saetnan@liverpool.ac.uk with your preferred date and time. Lunch will be provided during the focus group meetings.
More information about the study, and what is involved in participating, can be found in the participant information sheet. If you have any further questions about the project, or your participation in the survey, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you for your help!
Dr. Eli Saetnan

Developing your Academic Writing

Autumn is here and nights are drawing in. With wind and rain outside, this is a perfect time to get on with writing. Whether you are working on thesis chapters, annual reports, manuscripts for publication or any other academic writing, we have support available for you. Just follow the links below to book your place.

Overcoming Writer’s Block – 18 October
All writers have times when they get stuck, when the words don’t seem to flow and you feel frustrated. New on our programme this year, is a workshop to help you overcome this Writer’s Block. The workshop is led by Dr. Alan Greaves who has extensive experience both as a psychotherapist and an academic writer. The workshop offers solution based ideas and discussion in an informal and confidential setting, giving you the tools to overcome blocks and make progress on your writing.

Overcoming Writer’s Block with Dr. Alan Greaves – 18 October

Academic Writing Group – starting 16 October
Often we know we should be writing, but there just never seems to be a good time to do so. Too many other distractions get in the way. The Academic Writing Group sessions are designed to give you the time and space to further develop your writing practice in a supportive setting. Here a group of academic writers, from novice to expert, come together to share ideas and to write, providing peer support for each other. By being part of a community of academic writers, you can build your confidence as a writer. The group meetings are held twice per month, starting on 16th October.

First meeting – 16 October

BiteSize Thesis
If your PhD thesis is at the forefront of your mind, why not check out our BiteSize thesis writing sessions. Hosted by Dr. Eli Saetnan, this series of brief workshops will guide you through specific aspects of thesis writing including thesis structure, editing for clarity, making the most of your reading, and being a productive thesis writer. Workshops include brief presentations by Eli along with opportunities for you to practice some of the aspects discussed.

Thesis format and structure – 17 October
Edit for clarity – 19 October
Read, write, repeat – 24 October
Overcoming writer’s block – 26 October

Sometimes all you need is some advice and guidance to get started and a chance to discuss options with fellow PGRs. In that case, check out our upcoming webinars where Dr. Shirley Cooper discusses developing your writing practice from initial notes to final editing and advice on writing for publication. The webinars combine a brief presentation by Shirley with a chance to ask questions and discuss options with fellow participants.

Maintaining motivation for your writing – 20 November
Communicating your research effectively – 27 November

Thesis Writing for International Students
These sessions are hosted by the English Language Centre and include analysis of text as well as exercises designed to develop your vocabulary and grammatical accuracy. For more information on these sessions, get in touch with the English Language Centre.

Do you teach? Develop your practice and get recognition!

PGR in front of a class

Many postgraduate researchers get involved with teaching during their studies. You may have opportunities to work as a demonstrator in practical classes or as a tutor leading small group tutorials. Or maybe you have the opportunity to develop lectures for larger group, assist in marking and assessment or supervising junior research students.

New to teaching?

Taking on such responsibilities can be a daunting task for anyone, but you are not alone. There is a lot of support available, including a series of workshops delivered by the Academic Development team. We start the autumn term with workshops for new demonstrators (26th and 28th September) and a workshop on small group teaching (27th September). Details and booking can be found here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/cll/booking/

Experienced GTA?

For those of you with more teaching experience, we offer a scheme to help you develop your teaching skills further. Our GTA Recognition Scheme is aimed at PGRs with at least one year of teaching experience, and leads to recognition as Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Becoming an Associate Fellow of the HEA allows you to use the post-nominal letters AFHEA, and signals to potential future academic employers that you have some experience in teaching and that you approach your teaching in a research-informed and reflective manner. HEA Associate Fellowship is recognised throughout UK Higher Education, and may also be useful if you are planning to look for academic work within Europe. It is less well recognised further afield, but one of the key aims of this programme is that it helps you to become a better-informed and more reflective teacher, and this is likely to make you a more credible candidate for any role that involves teaching in Higher Education.

The GTA Recognition Scheme involves two compulsory workshops (4 October and 8 May) and a series of 5 monthly group meetings. For more information or to sign up for the scheme, get in touch with Dr. Eli Saetnan (saetnan@liverpool.ac.uk).
Deadline for registration on the GTA Recognition Scheme is 15th September.

Further details

For more information on GTA training, including dates of all workshops for 2017-18 and details for the GTA Recognition Scheme, check out the current GTA handbook by following the link below or contacting Dr. Eli Saetnan (saetnan@liverpool.ac.uk).

GTA handbook 2017_18

Write that Thesis!

Are you writing your thesis?
Should you be writing your thesis?
Make some real progress with our Thesis Writing Afternoons.

coffee machines

Thesis Writing Afternoons at Zieferblat – with unlimited coffee/tea to fuel your writing

Writing your thesis can be a lonely and frustrating process, easily distracted and derailed by other responsibilities or tasks. The purpose of these writing afternoons is to let you focus fully on thesis writing, away from the usual distractions and to make real progress on your thesis.

We are meeting away from campus, away from interfering distractions, for a solid afternoon of writing. Join other PGRs for mutual support and a chance to pick up, or pass on tips and tricks for successful thesis writing. But most importantly, come and do some serious writing. We provide the lunch, teas/coffees and space – you do the writing.

These sessions are particularly targeted at final year PhD students, though any PGR ready to make real progress on writing their thesis is welcome to join us. In preparation for the session, gather the information you need and plan which section of your thesis you will be working on so that you are ready to sit down and write on the day.

We have two afternoons available, come to one or both. Just follow the links below for booking:

Tuesday 25th July 13:00 – 17:00

Wednesday 26th July 13:00 – 17:00

November is Academic Writing Month. Kick your academic writing into gear!

Do you have a thesis to write, but are daunted by the task?
Or do you find yourself procrastinating, doing everything but write?

Developing a regular writing practice is the key to writing success. But you don’t have to do this alone. Join other PGRs as we develop a writing strategy, and a regular writing habit. Come along for mutual support, and a chance to pick up or pass on tips and tricks for successful writing, whether that is for writing your thesis, a paper, a grant application or any other writing you want to get done. And who couldn’t do with a little peer support at times? Join our #AcWriMo writing group, every Monday throughout November. Or join the #suwtues crowd at 92DegreesCoffee on the first and third Tuesday every month.

First #AcWriMo meeting Monday 31st October
3:30pm in CPD room 4, CTH

Next “shut-up-and-write” Tuesday 15th November
10-11am @92DegreesCoffee

Writing that PhD

Writing is an integral part of your PhD. The end product of your hard work and research is the thesis, an extensive piece of writing. The thesis is a larger piece of writing than you will have ever done before and can be a daunting task for anyone. The key to success is to break it down into smaller, more manageable sections, and to work on it regularly throughout your PhD.

Do not wait until you have all of your data collected,
all of your references read, and your time nearly used up!

Writing regularly will not only add words to your thesis, but more importantly will let you develop your ideas and help you find your voice as an academic author. But how do you get motivation to keep writing week in and week out? This is where shut-up-and-write comes in….

Shut-Up-And-Write (#suwtues)

This idea originated in San Fransico, with a group of writers getting together to write regularly in a social setting. The idea is simple, writing does not have to be done in isolation. The writers meet and do as the title says – they shut up and write – for an hour, followed by a chat over coffee. This idea has been enthusiastically embraced by academics all over the world as a way to make regular progress on thesis writing, paper writing, book writing and more. The Thesis Whisperer gives a great explanation of how and why it works. There is now a large on-line Shut-Up-And-Write community on Twitter (#suwtues), which meets virtually on the first and third Tuesday every month to cheer each other on for an hour of writing. And many groups around the world meet in person, including here in Liverpool where we meet at 92DegreesCoffee, to join other #suwtues writers from 10-11. It is amazing how much writing you can get done in just an hour of dedicated writing time!

Next #suwtues meeting 15th November. We start writing at 10.
Please arrive at least 10 minutes before to get settled in.

Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo)

If you don’t know where or how to get started with your academic writing, you need some clear goals, or want some help drafting a writing strategy, why not join in with Academic Writing Month this year? Since 2011, the people behind PhD2Published have been promoting November as Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo). The idea is to commit to a specific writing goal, whether that is a chapter of your thesis completed or a certain amount of time spent writing or something else, and to declare that goal publicly. Make it a goal that stretches you a bit, and that helps you develop a regular writing practice. In support of #AcWriMo this year, we are setting up a weekly writing group meeting here at Liverpool. The first meeting will be Monday 31st October at 3:30-4:30pm where we will set goals and draft a writing strategy for the month. We will continue to meet every Monday at 3:30pm throughout November to keep each other on track. Why not join us and see how much you could get done in a month of regular writing, you might surprise yourself!

Dates and locations for #AcWriMo writing group meetings:
31/10  CPD room 4, CTH
07/11  room 116, 126 Mount Pleasant
14/11  room 303, 126 Mount Pleasant
21/11  CPD room 4, CTH
28/11  room 202, 126 Mount Pleasant
We always start at 3:30pm, please arrive 10 minutes early to get settled in.
And don’t forget to bring some writing to do!

So what is your excuse for not writing?
Get started today, and make it a regular habit.