DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Carve out time for writing: Join a Writing Center group

Carve out time for writing: Join a Writing Center group

Writing groups bring people together to workshop projects

Members of the Faculty Writing Community
The Faculty Writing Community, one of the Writing Center's groups, brings faculty together to collaborate on written work.

Community is central to DePaul’s identity and mission, and people come into community at DePaul in many ways. Students might join organizations; staff members might run for staff council and faculty; staff and students come together at university-wide events throughout the year. Now, the Writing Center has added another meaningful way for faculty members to gather: the Faculty Writing Community. 

The Writing Center has hosted groups for some time, but the Faculty Writing Community began in fall 2021 on a suggestion from Mark Laboe, who at the time was the associate vice president for faculty and staff engagement in the Division of Mission and Ministry.  

Laboe had long heard from faculty that they were seeking a community to help carve out structured writing time. As DePaul first began to emerge from the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed an ideal time to establish a writing community.  

​“When faculty and staff have communal spaces to help develop their thinking, to be creative and explore new ideas, and to share the fruits of their efforts through their writing, they inevitably pass on the fruits of this work to the students they teach and with the wider community,” Laboe says. “Writing is vitally important to the life of a university community, and if we truly value it, the time and space to do so needs to be honored in some concrete and intentional ways.” 

Laboe reached out to Erin Herrmann, associate director in the Writing Center, and she agreed to help facilitate the Zoom group.  

The structure of the Faculty Writing Community affords writers the opportunity to work individually, and the Zoom meeting offers members a sense of community and accountability. 

“The value of the group is that it is a gathering that is focused on writing, and that members are motivated to write because they know someone else is writing, too,” Herrmann says. “It has also been wonderful to see faculty from different programs get to know one another and their respective work, which typically isn’t possible.” 

Laboe and Herrmann set aside time at the beginning and end of each gathering for writers to check in and out. During the check-in, writers share about the projects they are working on and their specific focus or goals for their writing time. At the check-out, writers share their progress with the group.  

While the number of participants has ebbed and flowed quarter to quarter, there are many regular participants. Some have returned to the group after a quarter or more away, while others join intermittently as they can. This flexibility makes it easier to commit to some kind of ongoing, structured writing time, even if it is not weekly. 

Anyone who writes anything is a writer, and any writer can benefit from the support of a writing community. All faculty are invited to join the Faculty Writing Community and collaborate with writers across disciplines. Register here to be invited to our spring quarter writing sessions.  

For other writers in the DePaul community, consider joining one of the Writing Center’s existing groups. The center facilitates groups focused on specific genres, such as Writers Guild (a group for creative writers) as well as groups designed for particular populations, including Escribir (a group for creative writers of Latinx origin or descent) or the College of Education Graduate Writing Group (a group for graduate students in that college). If you don’t see a group for your needs as a writer, consider collaborating with the Writing Center to start your own.  

Erin Herrmann is an Associate Director in the Writing Center and Caroline M. Kisiel is an Associate Professor in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.