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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2019  /  March 2019  /  Success of Geography Dissertation Writing Retreat

Success of Geography Dissertation Writing Retreat

Faculty supports intensive two-day workshop

Success of Geography Dissertation Writing Retreat

At the beginning of March, UCL Geography arranged a two-day 'Dissertation Writing Retreat' for its final year students. The initiative was funded by the UCL Social and Historical Sciences Dean's Strategic Fund, which offers small grants to departments to support educational and research activities.

Professor Jason Dittmer, who initiated the project, explains the purpose and impact of the event:

"The aim of the writing retreat was to provide final year students with an environment in which they could focus entirely on finishing their dissertation drafts, given that this piece of work is the culmination of the department’s research-based curriculum and is weighted quite heavily in their final marks.

Crucially we wanted to convey the idea that students weren’t labouring in isolation, but were part of a larger learning community. We provided a site off-campus to make it feel special and to make people think of it as separate from their usual work in the libraries or the new student centre.

This encouraged students to stay all day, as did the provision of coffee, biscuits, and lunch. A member of staff (me) was there to field general dissertation-related questions about structure, formatting, references, and the like and to generally provide academic support."

Final year student and Faculty Rep, Lena Fricker, shares her experience of the retreat...

"The dissertation writing retreat was fantastic. Everyone, including myself, thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. It was a chance to get off campus (but not too far afield!) and focus on completing the final stretch of the dissertation writing process.

What made it extra special was the sense of comradery between the year group. Everyone was encouraging each other and rather than a stressful atmosphere, it was full of productivity and positivity.

Jason was also on hand to answer any formatting questions and provide general support. I went on both days, and left the weekend having successfully cut down my word count and made some crucial edits.

Overall, it was a great idea and change of scenery from the library. I hope this continues in the years to come! Thank you Jason Dittmer for organising this and to the Dean for funding it. I know all the students are very grateful."


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The 'Dissertation Writing Retreat’ hard at work


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