PhD Writing Support

Pam Bourjaily and PhD studentsThe Frank Business Communication Center provides summer writing support and instruction to Tippie Ph.D. students after their first or second year in their doctoral program.

Doctoral students are nominated by their departments to participate in a summer-session program equivalent to a 2-semester-hour course that emphasizes the development of analytical writing skills.

Summer-session students learn writing strategies for how to maintain research relevance and rigor without excessive use of jargon. The course also addresses clarity, brevity, and the role of narrative in creating a coherent and readable paper. During the final 2 weeks of the session students also practice delivering 2-3 minute “elevator pitch” presentations of their research to an audience of academics within and also outside of their discipline to work on expressing the relevance of their research project to a potential hiring committee without relying on jargon.

All summer session participants are expected to be working on improving a paper-in-progress or part of their dissertation (or dissertation proposal) during the summer session and submit both a baseline writing sample prior to the session start and a final writing sample of their work-in-progress in the last week of the course. Students also present their papers-in-progress for extensive workshopping as part of the course curriculum.

The Frank Center developed the Ph.D. summer writing support program in 2014 supported by a Tippie Educational Excellence grant. Ongoing support from the Sharon Scheib Professional Writing Initiative since 2015 enables the Frank Center to offer the programming at no cost to students or to their departments.

Students and faculty with questions about the program should contact Frank Center director Pamela Bourjaily (

PhD Students


2016 Ph.D. summer writing instruction will be offered on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. starting June 14 - August 4. Students who participated in the 2015 summer writing instruction are also eligible to participate again in 2016. Interested students should contact Renea Jay, Associate Director, Non-MBA graduate programs ( or Frank Center director Pamela Bourjaily ( by May 31.



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