Invitation to Holmes Dissertation Retreat in October

The 4th annual University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida A&M University (FAMU) Holmes Dissertation Symposium and Retreat will take place October 27-28 on the UCF campus. AACTE Holmes Program participants, members of the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA), faculty mentors, and university officials will gather to engage in scholarly conversations about the dissertation process as well as other timely topics such as grant writing, faculty mentoring of diverse students, postdoctoral career choices, the tenure and promotion process, and self-advocacy.

Since its inception in 2014, the UCF-FAMU Dissertation Retreat has become a mainstay in supporting Holmes Scholars’ journey to the doctorate. Sheila Moore (FAMU) and I serve as co-coordinators of the retreat. We had a vision to bring together Holmes Scholars from all over the country to engage in scholarship and collegiality, and that vision became a reality when the first Dissertation Retreat and Research Symposium was held on the campus of FAMU in 2014.

The response from participants and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive. “Engaging in scholarly conversations has elevated my purpose and determination to make sure that I am prepared to present my best work,” one scholar said about the retreat experience. For an insider’s look at last year’s event, see this article.

The retreat’s primary focus is the opportunity to share and advance research-in-progress in collaboration with both peers and mentors. Scholars are encouraged to bring their doctoral work, in whatever stage it might be, to review with a faculty mentor. Participants will also have an opportunity to share their work in research sessions facilitated by the Holmes Scholars Council. Other sessions will guide participants in fine-tuning their manuscripts and navigating different stages of the dissertation process.

In addition to doctoral students, now that the AACTE Holmes Program also includes a pathway for master’s students, this year’s retreat is designed to benefit them as well. The event is an excellent introduction to the doctoral process for those who might be considering that route as well as an opportunity for mentoring by Holmes Scholars and alumni alike.

By tapping the expertise of alumni as mentors, the event honors the work of past Holmes Scholars who have completed the journey to the doctorate and have embarked on their careers. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with program alumni and learn valuable lessons about establishing themselves in the academy and elsewhere.

Please spread the word about this valuable opportunity to your doctoral and master’s students – we welcome not only Holmes participants but any interested students! To learn more and register, visit Register by August 31 for the best rates. Additional information about accommodations and the retreat schedule will be available soon. If you have any questions, please contact

Carolyn Hopp is coordinator of UCF’s Holmes Scholars Program.

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Carolyn Hopp

University of Central Florida