“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” – Maya Angelou

“A writer doesn’t write about just anything. He writes about things he has an affinity for.” – Antonio Muñoz Molina

The Graduate Writing Initiative (GWI) is a cross-campus partnership that exists to support graduate students in their research and writing. The UMKC Writing Studio, The School of Graduate Studies, UMKC Libraries, and faculty and staff from departments across campus work to provide these resources. If you have any questions about the resources described here, contact the Graduate Writing Specialist, Kara Bollinger (bollingerk@umkc.edu).

We offer support in a number of ways: Learning & Resources; Community, Space & Accountability; Mentorship; and Online Resources.


Learning & Resources:

The UMKC Writing Studio can assist students with any aspect of writing, from class assignments to personal statements. You can use the Writing Studio reservation system here to schedule an individual consultation with a writing tutor to meet face-to-face or to have an online appointment.

Each semester, the Graduate Writing Initiative organizes a workshop series. We collaborate with faculty and staff from different disciplines to cover a variety of topics.  Past workshops have covered everything from the Thesis & Dissertation Formatting workshop to general writing, like Proofreading Tips & Techniques, to tech tools, like the Zotero, workshops to discipline-specific topics, like Writing for the Sciences.  Check out this semester’s offerings below.


Community, Space & Accountability

At the beginning of each semester, the GWI organizes Graduate Writing Groups. Writing groups are groups of 4-6 students who work together to help provide accountability, give feedback, and complete writing projects. Writing groups applications are closed for the semester, but look for them again in the Summer.

If you can’t commit to join a writing group, consider attending Writing Wednesdays. It’s as simple as it sounds – every Wednesday morning from 9 am until 12 pm, we’ll be writing in Atterbury Student Success Center room 205, and all graduate students are welcome to join. We’ll set goals for the session and then write. No registration is required – just come as you can!

Each semester, the GWI organizes Graduate Write-Ins. Write-Ins are day-long events where graduate students can set aside other responsibilities and work in a quiet, productive setting with other graduate students. We have librarians, writing consultants, writing resources, snacks and coffee at these events to help make the day productive and enjoyable.

These events require registration and space is limited, so be on the lookout for announcements about these events.


We have the following Write-Ins scheduled for the Spring 2017 semester:

Saturday February 4 at Miller Nichols Library

Saturday March 4 at Miller Nichols Library

Saturday April 29 at Diastole Scholars’ Center


The Writing Studio has two Graduate Workstations, which are designated spaces for Graduate Students to work on their writing. The Workstations include desktop computers with dual monitor set-ups and programs like NVivo, Scapple and Scrivner, as well as print resources. These Workstations provide a quiet, professional setting to get writing done. To reserve a Graduate Workstation, access the Writing Studio reservation system here and select the Atterbury Graduate Workstations. These Workstations are spaces for independent work. If you want to work with a consultant or the Graduate Writing Specialist, then you should schedule that separately.

UMKC Writing Studio Director, Thomas Ferrel, and Graduate Writing Specialist, Kara Bollinger with the Graduate Writing Workstations in Atterbury Success Center

UMKC Writing Studio Director, Thomas Ferrel, and Graduate Writing Specialist, Kara Bollinger with the Graduate Writing Workstations in Atterbury Success Center


If you’re working on a specific writing project and think a faculty mentor might be useful, you might consider the Emeritus Faculty Mentorship program. Emeritus Faculty are retired faculty members who continue to serve the university and work with students. Essentially, it’s a chance to pair up with and learn from a very experienced research and writer. To learn more about this opportunity and/or sign up, click here.

Online Resources

The UMKC Libraries has a Graduate Student Services web page, which provides links to published theses and dissertations, citation help, research databases, tutorials, and more. Graduate students can schedule an appointment with a subject librarian or contact the Head of Graduate Student Services at the UMKC Libraries.

UMKC Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines – Here, you can download a copy of the UMKC Guide to Formatting for theses and dissertations, and find important deadlines for submitting your thesis/dissertation for formatting review by the School of Graduate Studies. Other resources include information from ProQuest on publishing, and a Thesis and Dissertation Final Submission Checklist.

We’ll offer this workshop again in the Spring 2017 semester. Until then, though, check out the recording on Blackboard.

All UMKC graduate students have access to a Blackboard organization titled “Writing Resources for Graduate Students.” This site includes links to campus and online writing resources, announcements about upcoming writing workshop and events, access to online workshops, and online discussion space where students can communicate with each other about their writing.

Online tutorials for graduate students and advisers include how to submit an SSIRB application, how to add a student to an IBC protocol, and more. There is also a series of two videos to test your knowledge of plagiarism.

PIVOT (formerly COS) maintains a database of grants, fellowships, and other funding information from public and private, domestic and international sources – for science, social sciences, humanities, and community outreach funding. UMKC has an institutional subscription. If you are already a COS user, log in to http://pivot.cos.com/ to claim your profile. If you’re a new user, create your profile to set up your personalized funding searches.

UMKC Career Services provides a broad range of tools to assist in all stages of career development. Utilize the online resources or visit the office to discuss career plans and for assistance in a job search. You can also assess yourself by taking career assessments and analyze your transferable skills.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) houses writing resources and instructional material for free. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects.

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Ernest Hemingway