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Dissertation Forum

The Writing Center, USF Library, and Office of Graduate Studies will be hosting the 3rd Annual Dissertation Forum.

Friday March 7, 9AM-4PM

USF Tampa Library
Grace Allen Room, (4th floor)

The Forum provides resources and services for PhD candidates who are currently working on proposals, writing or revising dissertation chapters, or preparing to submit their dissertations this semester. Breakout sessions will include information about writing strategies, research tools, stress management practices and first-hand advice from recently hired Assistant Professors – all in one place!

Please see the schedule below for detailed information about sessions and presenters. If you’re interested in attending, please complete the questionnaire and register below before 5PM on Wednesday, March 5th. Forum registration is $20 and includes breakfast and lunch. Registration is limited – reserve your spot now! Questions? Email Us »

Review Full Schedule & Speaker Bios

Step One: Take Forum Questionnaire

Step Two: Payment for Forum


The Dissertation Forum is organized conference style; most sessions run concurrently. Please see below for session descriptions, links to presenters’ biographies, and corresponding room numbers. Please don’t hesitate to speak with an organizer if you have questions about which session might be most useful for your needs. Individual Writing Center consultations will be held in the Writing Center and individual library consultations will be held in librarians’ offices.

Time Session Room Session Room
9:00 – 9:15 Coffee and Introductions Grace Allen (GAR) (4th floor) N/A N/A
9:20 – 9:35 What Dissertators should know about The Office of Graduate Studies
Speaker: Dr. Peter Harries, Graduate School Associate Dean

This overview will briefly highlight the Graduate School’s web resources, upcoming ETD workshops, and important deadlines for submitting dissertations to Graduate Studies.

9:40 – 10:25 Apps for Research
Speaker: Drew Smith, Academic Services Librarian

Learn how to use graphical mind mapping software to generate and preserve ideas, how to record, organize and preserve notes and images, and how to back up and synchronize your most important working documents and other files across multiple computers, tablets, and smartphones.

GAR Citation Management: RefWorks & EndNote
Speakers: Susan Silver & Matt Torrence, Academic Services Librarians

This session offers an overview of RefWorks & Endnote, two of USF’s most-used citation management systems. Presenters will demonstrate the advantages of each system and the features that best assist graduate students in managing citations for their dissertations. If you have been using either of these tools, this session will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions or schedule individual and advanced training.

10:30 – 11:15 Publishing your Dissertation: Copyright
Speaker: Merilyn Burke, Academic Services Librarian

This session provides an overview of copyright issues and author rights regarding the decisions involved in publishing content from a dissertation before it is completed or after it has been placed in a digital repository.

GAR Citation Management: RefWorks & EndNote
Speakers: Susan Silver & Matt Torrence, Academic Services Librarians


Small Group Writing Sessions/individual meetings with librarians

11:30 – 1:00 Lunch & Learn: New Faculty Panel

This panel provides candid advice about managing dissertation committee relations, planning postdoctoral goals, and practicing flexibility and patience with topic changes and research challenges.

1:00 – 1:45 Time and Stress Management
Speaker: Dr. Lisa Ferdinand, Counseling Center Psychologist

Dr. Ferdinand will address resources and coping habits that specifically pertain to healthfully managing the stress of a dissertation project.

GAR ETD Formatting Requirements
Speaker: Matthew Cordner, Office of Graduate Studies staff

This session will be most useful to candidates who need to ask specific questions about Graduate Studies’ ETD formatting rules and submission requirements.

1:50 – 2:35 Writing a Literature Review: Organizing a strong argument
Speakers: Karen Langbehn & Megan McIntyre, Writing Center Coordinators

Determining where to draw boundaries around your topic – and deciding when you’ve included “enough” information in your literature review – is a challenging but necessary task. This session focuses on strategies for developing a strong literature review that justifies, narrows, and clarifies your research topic.

GAR Organizing a Literature Review: Beyond the Basics
Speakers: Susan Ariew & Matt Torrence

This session will address how to expand your knowledge of specialized databases, employ advanced searching techniques, and use bibliographies and cited references to find new materials.

2:40 – 3:25 Organizing a Literature Review: Beyond the Basics


Small Group Writing Sessions/individual meetings with librarians

GAR, Writing Center, Gallery LIB offices Publishing your Dissertation: Copyright
Speakers: Merilyn Burke + Drew Smith


Writing a Literature Review: Organizing a strong argument

3:30 – 4:00 Closing/ feedback/ collaborative insights / goal-setting
Speakers: Forum organizers

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