This is an online course. For information about registration, follow this link: Binghamton University Summer Session.

In this summer course, you’ll commit to a production goal  while investigating three questions academic writers have:

  • How do I maintain productivity in the context of my professional life?
  • How do I find an appropriate style?
  • How do I manage the transition from graduate school to my professional publication?

We’ll work together from June through August. The heart of your work is your production goal, but we will also look at the process, productivity strategies, and publication in your field. You’ll set goals in consultation with me. As a class, we’ll  read work that investigates productivity, academic genre, and style. You’ll also analyze a journal in your field so that you can develop a clearer understanding of what a publication demands.

If you have any questions, contact me at


You’ll be put together with group of three to five other students. You’ll use your experience this summer to investigate the techniques Dr. Paul Silva describes in his book, How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, developed in response to his own and his colleagues experiences as academics who enjoy research, but find writing a challenge. Silva urges professors to explore groups as a way of maintain productivity and motivation. You’ll maintain contact with your group through blog posts and google docs, where you’ll regularly state your goals for the week, then follow-up, measure progress and encourage one another.

You’ll submit regularly to a group blog about the progress of your work and the question you are investigating. Readings will primarily come from books written by researchers into production and style for a general academic audience, as well as selections from journal articles. You’ll will also identify a journal in your field that you’ll review for the express purpose of understanding how the professional writes for that field.

We’ll also investigate the work of Dr. Robert Boice, whose research in the habits of productive writers includes academics and professional writers. Boice’s work is unique because, in addition to the research he’s conducted, he worked closely with professional writers and with faculty writers, working with them as individuals confronting the challenges of a professional writing career. His insights into the strategies that successful senior academics rely on, such as writing smaller chunks over time, rather than grueling marathon sessions, challenge some assumptions that many make about successful writers.

Genre and Style
Our investigations into genre and style will help you develop an approach to the dissertation you are producing with an eye towards the role that work plays as a professional apprenticeship. The dissertation as document, the demands of writing for journals, and the challenge of writing for a general audience– all have become part of a broad, current conversation about the role of graduate education in the preparation of professionals and the role of the academic in professional life.

While our work will help you develop a critical perspective on your work, all our work will be fed back into your own dissertation and professional goals. We’ll read sections of Sword’s Sstylish Academic Writing, a fascinating look at writing as an academic. We’ll also look at work that focuses on the specific features of writing in your field. To help you feed this work into your dissertation process, you’ll choose work to explore that pertains to your goals.

Will also look at some practical approaches to simply making your own writing clear, concise, and efficient, whether writing for the humanities, social sciences, or the sciences.

Books include:

Robert Boice, Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing

Helen Sword, Stylish Academic Writing

Paul Silvia, How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing


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