Increasing Academic Output and Supporting Equality Of Career Opportunity in Universities: Can Writers' Retreats Play a Role?

Sarah Moore, Maura Murphy, Rowena Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite the pressure to write and to publish in academia, many faculty do not. This is not because of the absence of their potential contribution to knowledge and thinking. Many of them have been silenced, or are never given a chance to find their academic voices, because the academic writing process is often experienced as destructive, mysterious, daunting and unsupported (e.g. Boice & Jones, 1984; Murray & Moore, 2006). This paper describes the features and principles of writers' retreats, a professional development intervention for academics that is being utilised increasingly frequently in academic environments to provide writing-related support. It provides evidence showing that the effects are potentially very positive both in the immediate and in the longer term. We briefly explain that writers' retreats are encountered and evaluated differently by men and women academics, with women seeming to derive clearer benefits from the experience. The longer-term effects of writers' retreats on academics are explored in some detail and we analyse reflective evidence from previous participants. Overall the evidence suggests that retreats are useful mechanisms for helping to increase written academic output and for supporting career development, particularly for women academics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Faculty Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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