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What Alumni Say About the Dissertation Success Program

"I experienced a profound change in my ability to put words to the screen during the 12 week program."

"After a friend encouraged me to register for the Dissertation Success Program, organized by the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, I found myself amongst a community of scholars and writers who similarly struggled with the process of writing and who were also motivated to make a change in productivity. I experienced a profound change in my ability to put words to the screen during the 12 week program. I learned a great deal about my own writing process as well as my previously hidden avoidance techniques through the in-depth webinars and weekly homework challenges. I have adopted a daily writing practice that has allowed me to progress rapidly towards my goal (finishing!). And most fundamentally, I moved past a debilitating writing block! Many thanks to Kerry Ann, the mentors at NCFDD and the community of writers who participate daily in the program. "

 

Freyja L. Knapp
University of California, Berkeley

"With DSP, I have found support and renewed motivation..."

"The Dissertation Success Program provided me with the tools and structure to guide and motivate me in writing my dissertation along with a supportive community of fellow dissertation writers. Prior to DSP, isolation and lack of mentoring were stagnating my progress towards completing my dissertation. With DSP, I have found support and renewed motivation through my community of fellow dissertation writers as well as tools such as daily writing with accountability that are helping me to make tangible progress forward. I cannot emphasize how helpful this community of writers truly is with their encouragement, accountability, and peer-to-peer mentoring through the obstacles that arise when finishing a PhD. I am so thankful for this program."

 

Sarah Anderson
Washington State University

"I would highly recommend the course for students who need help getting through the dissertation process."

"I found the Dissertation Success Program to be very helpful, because I was working with a group of folks who were at the same place I was in the doctoral process and they understood my struggle. The weekly homework and messages helped me reframe the way I saw this process. Seeing others successfully propose and defend during the program was a great encouragement to me. I would highly recommend the course for students who need help getting through the dissertation process."

 

Christine A. Watt
Tennessee State University

"I now have a solid timeline for completion!"

"Writing a dissertation can be an isolating process, and once I added a full-time job and other life issues, the process of writing became daunting, more isolating, and extremely paralyzing. The Dissertation Success Program from the beginning broke down those barriers through Kerry Ann's video lectures/pep talks and provided means of getting around and surmounting internal and external pressures. After taking the advice of 5 minutes of writing everyday, I quickly got comfortable with writing and the pace picked up to writing for an hour after 2-3 weeks in the program. Now I am continuing the good habits I picked up, being aware of the bad ones that linger, and still writing. I just met with my committee in mid December and we all agreed that I can submit by September 2016 if I keep up the pace or earlier if I speed up the pace a little bit. Regardless, I now have a solid timeline for completion! Thanks Kerry Ann and my cohort for all the support!"

 

Rico Reyes
Goldsmiths, University of London

"Seeing posts and habits from other group members has helped me to be even more productive!"

"I started daily writing in early July, so had already become more productive prior to the DSP, just l changing that practice. However, seeing posts and habits from other group members has helped me to be even more productive! For instance, I noticed one other person in my group added times to each of their daily tasks. I was hesitant to do this at first (you know...changing habits), but once I tried it, those shorter time goals helped me to stay on task. Setting daily goals are great, but adding a time limit for reaching those goals has been extremely helpful in my productivity. What's even better is instead of setting the clock to a 2-hour window for my entire writing practice on a given day, I instead set it for a half hour or 45 minutes...whatever I need to complete that particular task. And when I'm done, I set another timer. "

 

Qiana Green
Michigan State University

"I was able to make outstanding progress on my dissertation, feel satisfied with my progress, and helped me realize my role as a competent professional rather than an anxiety ridden graduate student."

"This program was very much a professional game changer and I can't recommend it enough. Before I joined this program, my writing was steady but my writing progress was severely debilitated by my issues with perfectionism and the infamous imposter syndrome. This program goes beyond just training good writing habits by addressing these very common mental blocks that graduate students often suffer from by placing us in supportive focus groups with motivating coaches. Because of this, I was able to make outstanding progress on my dissertation, feel satisfied with my progress, and helped me realize my role as a competent professional rather than an anxiety ridden graduate student. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who needs motivation to get that milestone written or need to develop life-long skills for dealing with personal blocks that can prevent productive writing."

 

Nicole Brandon
University of Arkansas

"It was an incredibly productive term for me because of my involvement in the DSP."

"NCFDD’s Dissertation Success program gave me the structure to develop a weekly planning practice and daily writing routine. The weekly videos helped me to develop self-discipline and manage my anxiety through the Sunday Meetings, and I wrote everyday during the program. I didn’t expect to make much progress on writing my dissertation during the fall, but because of the encouragement to write- on my dissertation- every day, I finished a chapter and submitted two full-paper proposals for my disciplinary annual meeting. It was an incredibly productive term for me because of my involvement in the DSP."

 

Joe Curnow
University of Toronto

"The [Dissertation Success Program] taught me a lot of strategies to be more productive and feel more positive and empowered in my work."

"I am so glad that I participated in NCFDD’s Dissertation Success Program. The first program came at an important time for me when I was struggling with returning to school after a leave, and trying to reacquaint myself with my dissertation project. First, I recognized the importance of checking in and using the online tools (time tracking, goal setting, etc.), and really believe that this is a valuable portion of the program. My productivity increased and I appreciated connecting to a group of people working through the daily struggle of focusing on the dissertation. Now that I am working in the alumni program, I realize that I have learned so much more than the useful online tools NCFDD has provided. Now I find myself thinking through my “areas of resistance,” how to create a more meaningful and effective “Sunday meeting,” and ways to put my work first. The DSP taught me a lot of strategies to be more productive and feel more positive and empowered in my work."

 

Kristine Mroczek
University of Washington, Seattle

"Participating in this program was one of the most effective acts of self-care I’ve ever done."

"The dissertation success program was a game-changer for my writing productivity. I developed the strong and consistent daily writing practice I yearned for and as a result, I actually look forward to writing now! The incredibly supportive community has been essential throughout this learning process and without the unconditional collegial support, I wouldn’t have been able to apply the lessons NCFD taught. Participating in this program was one of the most effective acts of self-care I’ve ever done."

 

Alexandra P. Gelbard

"The [Dissertation Success Program] teaches you how to be an academic and a person at the same time, and I am grateful for that."

"The Dissertation Success Program showed me how much I can accomplish in thirty, or even fifteen, minutes a day. The guest mentors gave me the calm I needed to take deep breaths and break this massive dissertation into smaller, fifteen-minute long chunks. After writing for two fifteen-minute chunks *most* mornings, I spent the rest of my days focusing on teaching and other administrative tasks. What Kerry-Ann says is true--I felt better and more at ease throughout the day because I knew I had already accomplished something related to my dissertation. Not only did I end the DSP with a chapter draft, but I also ended with the skills necessary to keep my head above water on a daily basis. The DSP teaches you how to be an academic and a person at the same time, and I am grateful for that."

 

Annika Konrad
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Cynthia Alcantar

"The Dissertation Success Program has really helped me become a more productive writer..."

"The Dissertation Success Program has really helped me become a more productive writer by holding me accountable to writing regularly. This is done through the online tools to help me track the time I spend on writing, encouraging me to reflect on my daily writing habits including challenges to writing, teaching me strategies to plan out my writing, scheduling the time to write, and developing a habit to do all of this. But most importantly this program has helped me change my mindset about MY writing so that MY writing IS a priority and it is not put on the back burner. It is very easy to put writing for your dissertation to the side when faced with other commitments, so having this program hold me accountable is a constant reminder to write! I highly recommend this program to any graduate student, especially those with commitments other than the dissertation (which is almost everyone!)."

 

Cynthia M. Alcantar
University of California, Los Angeles
Michele Crespo-Fierro

"it has been 'life-changing' "

"I am so happy to be a part of this program. It has come into my professional life at a time when I was in great need of support and prodding. My work had stalled because of multiple dissertation-related, work-related and personal-related pressures that could just not be managed in a 24-7 time frame. I had also suffered a serious rethinking of my mentor network. My situation remains that there are few outlets to fully discuss my situation BUT the coaches of DSP and Kerry Ann's weekly blogs and homework assignments have helped me to stay focused and not let distraction get bigger than they need to be or take longer than necessary. I have a framework to easily jump back into each an every time. Being able to connect with others in the process and there being no judgement (yes!) makes it so easier to put things out there, process and move on AND being able to "help" someone else is incredibly rewarding and motivating. When my executive dean asked what we thought of NCFDD, I responded that it has been "life-changing" and it has. Thank you! "

 

Michele Crespo-Fierro
City University of New York
Lina Stover

"I have made more (writing) progress in this program than I have done in the past two years."

"I have been able to balance my full time job, my newborn baby and making progress for my dissertation because of Dissertation Success. I have made more (writing) progress in this program than I have done in the past two years. I have found the structure, motivation and support to write consistently, while also being encouraged to have free time to spend with my family guilt free. I highly recommend this program to any student that is ready to get things done!"

 

Lina Traslaviña Stover
University of Nebraska
V. Gina Diaz

"I became more committed to and engaged in my experience, my process, my voice, and my work."

"What I most appreciate about the NCFDD's Dissertation Success Program is that it has helped me understand and reverse some of the barriers I had experienced with my writing. By providing valuable information that helped me approach the process of writing drastically differently, I became more committed to and engaged in my experience, my process, my voice, and my work. The program also helped me practice and value writing in community, through it I became less anxious about sharing my work by strategically determining what to share with whom when. An important element of DSP is that it allowed me to give myself permission to enjoy my time away from my work, giving significance to other aspects of my life and generally contributing to me becoming happier. From the bottom of my heart, THANKS to all involved!"

 

V. Gina Díaz
University of New Mexico
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