CFDA Writing Affinity Groups: A Guide to Getting Started
Writing affinity groups are meant to be flexible. There is no “one size fits all,” therefore all of the ideas below are suggestions that you may adapt as needed. Please reach out to Dr. Rachel Stein (email@example.com) if your group has questions or needs any type of additional support.
Join One of the CFDA's Writing Affinity Groups
Dr. Stein organizes several writing affinity groups for the CFDA each semester. Please visit the CFDA Writing Affinity Group form to see our current offerings, suggest additional offerings, or join a group.
Guidance for Writing Affinity Groups
Many faculty across campus organize their own writing affinity groups. Some of these groups take place within departments. Others focus on specific goals or needs, or simply bring friends together to write regularly. Here is some guidance for those who may want to put together a writing affinity group on their own.
- Writing groups can take place via on online platform or in person. Any format that is preferred for the group will work! If you'd like to meet in person, you may reserve a meeting room for your group at the CFDA by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
- Most groups find that it works best to meet either weekly or biweekly. Some groups may choose to meet more or less often than that. It is often easiest to pick a standing day and time or to schedule out sessions for the academic year so that all group members can arrange their schedule accordingly. Most groups meet for 1-2 hours per session.
- It is recommended that each group appoint a point person. Although this is not meant to be a big job, it is helpful to have a consistent person designated to send out emails, Zoom links, organize writing locations, or take care of any other required logistics. These roles can also be divided amongst group members (e.g., one person to send reminders, one person to secure a location/Zoom link, etc.).
- Groups should decide how they want to structure their time together. Some ideas include:
- A group that is focused on writing time often will begin with each group member naming 1-3 writing goals for the session. The bulk of the session will then be spent writing with a few minutes at the end to share progress.
- An accountability focused group might choose to share their goals and progress with each other as well as problem solve or address challenges during their time together, with a smaller amount of time for individual work.
- Depending on the focus of the affinity group, some may want to set aside time to share resources. For instance, groups might spend time in individual writing and reserve the last 15 minutes of the session for a group member to share a resource that they found.
- Some groups may focus more on peer input or problem solving. In these cases groups may choose to share a document or have someone share a question or a challenge and then use the scheduled time for support, input, ideas, and conversation.
- Groups often find it helpful to spend time periodically (e.g., beginning of the semester, monthly, quarterly) identifying writing goals.
- There are endless other possible ways to spend time supporting each other’s writing. Creative ideas and group-driven plans are welcome!
- One thing that can be helpful is to have some type of shared folder or document. A shared folder may include resources or other materials that the group wants to share. A shared document is a wonderful place for group members to write down their writing goals—both long term and for each session.