Mid-Career Scholars' Writing Retreat

Mid-Career Scholars' Writing Retreat

Application Deadline: January 24, 2020

Finding it difficult to get time to work on that project that will get you promoted to Full? The NCA Mid-Career Scholars' Writing Retreat (MCSWR) is designed to provide the opportunity for intensive writing time. Retreat participants will have uninterrupted time to work towards the completion of scholarship and/or a creative project. The goal of the retreat is to support significant progress on the completion of an in-progress project that will help toward promotion to Full Professor. The MCSWR is specifically targeted to faculty who have been Associate Professor for at least 5 years (that is, tenured in 2014-2015 or prior).

During the retreat, participants will have the opportunity to meet and consult with two facilitators/mentors, who will provide general advice on scholarly productivity, writing, and career management.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Member of NCA
  • Held rank of Associate Professor for at least five years (tenure achieved 2014-2015 or prior)
  • In-progress writing project

The facilitators for the Summer 2020 MCSWR will be Dr. Laura Ellingson (Santa Clara University) and Dr. Travis Dixon (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Applications reflecting the total diversity of scholarship and creative activity in the discipline are strongly encouraged. Applicants are not limited by area of inquiry, topic, method, or affiliation (interest group, division, etc.). Because the facilitators will focus on broad writing guidance and professional development, it is not necessary that projects be related to the facilitators’ own research foci.

The MCSWR is sponsored by NCA and organized by the NCA Research Board.

Participants will be provided with most meals, a travel stipend, and housing. MCSWR participants will present their projects on a panel at the 2020 NCA Convention in Indianapolis, IN.

Date and Location

The 2020 MCSWR will be held on the campus of the University of South Florida on July 20-25, 2020. Located in Tampa, USF is one of the top Young Universities in the world, having achieved preeminence as one of the three highest performing institutions in the Florida state university system. Furthermore, USF Ranks #1 in Florida and #5 in the Nation for Reducing Inequalities, according to the latest rankings published by the Times Higher Education (THE). USF’s campus is home to the internationally acclaimed GraphicStudio and is located 15-20 minutes from Ybor City (National Historic Landmark), the Tampa Riverwalk, and the Tampa Theatre (National Register of Historic Places), and within 35-60 minutes of the 2019 Best Beach in the United States (Clearwater) and the world-famous Salvador Dalí Museum.


Detailed transportation information will be provided to the selected participants.

Living Conditions


MCSWR participants will be housed in private apartment-style dorm rooms on the campus of the University of South Florida. Up to four participants will share a dorm apartment. Each participant will have his/her own private room but will share a bathroom with one other person and a kitchen and living area with up to three other people. The dorm is air conditioned with wireless internet throughout. Housing is provided at no cost to participants.


There are several departmental workspaces available for group interactions that also accommodate flexible writing preferences. Workspaces are located adjacent a kitchen, tea room, and other shared spaces. Wireless internet access is available.


All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will be provided at the retreat. There is also a large variety of restaurant options for those who wish to dine at their own cost.


Plan to arrive at the retreat no later than 5:00 pm on Monday, July 20. Participants will meet for dinner and an orientation session. The retreat schedule is as follows:

8:00 am Breakfast
8:30 am Writing
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Writing
5:30 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Meetings with mentors
9:00 pm Social Hour
10:00 pm Return to Rooms

To enable participants to accomplish their writing goals, the schedule is rigorously enforced.

The retreat will end with a celebratory dinner on Friday, July 24, and check-out from the dorm will be Saturday, July 25.

To Apply

Please submit:

  1. A curriculum vitae
  2. A 2-3 page letter that includes: (1) a brief project description (project summary, primary argument and/or research questions, text(s) and/or location(s) and/or data, and method); (2) a statement about the current status of the project, the amount completed on the project, and the expectation of what you plan to accomplish during the retreat; (3) an articulation of any obstacles you are encountering in completing the project; and (4) a statement regarding how you believe the MCSWR will benefit your efforts in working toward Full Professor at your institution.

To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by January 24, 2020.

Applications should be sent to: Dr. LaKesha Anderson, Director of Academic and Professional Affairs, National Communication Association, at landerson@natcom.org.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Applicant meets all eligibility requirements
  • Clarity and quality of project
  • Likelihood that the retreat will be of significant benefit to applicant
  • Cohort diversity

Eight to ten participants will be selected to participate. If your application is accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter and additional details about travel and the MCSWR.