The Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas (CWCI) seeks to provide GSAS students with the means to enhance the clarity and depth of their communications. In doing so, it supports a vision of the leading role of GSAS research in the world.
Center Director and Tutor Bios
Suzanne Smith is the director of the Center for Writing and Communicating Ideas. Her current research pertains to religion, law, poetry, and the visual arts. She also teaches in history and literature, in the fields of European studies, the early modern world, the modern world, and America.
Christopher Brown received his PhD in 2016 from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University; prior to that, he studied at the College of the Holy Cross and the Università di Firenze. His research examines Trecento temporal innovations—technical and literary—and the role of ingegno in the poetic expressions of Dante and Petrarch. Chris has served as the Coordinating Dudley Fellow in Harvard’s GSAS and as a visiting doctoral fellow at Villa I Tatti in Florence. He is currently a visiting faculty member at his alma mater, Holy Cross. Other academic interests include the transforming soundscapes of Renaissance cities—especially in the curious case of the so-called Piagnona, grand bell of San Marco of Florence—and the 20th-century poesia del nulla of Giuseppe Ungaretti. When not teaching Italian or working on articles, Chris avidly follows—and relentlessly scrutinizes—Boston sports teams, a permanent scar from his former life as a sportswriter. That genre, like all genres of writing, can and should be beautiful.
Dan Volmar is a degree candidate in the Department of the History of Science. His current research concerns the development of computers, telecommunications, and military bureaucracy in the postwar United States. He specializes broadly in the history of physical science and also holds a degree in mathematics and physics. In addition, Dan has a particular interest in document preparation, especially scientific and technical documents, including typesetting formulas, tracking citations, and generating figures and tables from large datasets.
The CWCI offers individual consultations (by appointment), peer review groups, dedicated writing space, workshops, and other programming to support registered GSAS students at all stages of their careers. Tutoring support is offered to all GSAS students in any discipline who seek to improve their academic papers, dissertations, and presentations. Overall, the CWCI helps GSAS students to heighten the impact of their research by fostering and refining their written and oral communication skills.
GSAS students are eligible to make one appointment per week, dependent upon availability. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In your e-mail, describe the piece of writing (or writing-related topic) that you would like to discuss and what your goals are for the meeting. Make an arrangement to send your piece of writing (ideally, double-spaced and at least 12pt font) as an attachment. Be sure to confirm your appointments after a date has been suggested. Students are welcome to submit pieces of writing that are at any stage of completeness. Very rough drafts are fine, as are more polished pieces or papers that students are preparing for publication. Appointments generally take one hour; shorter appointments are available as well.
What services are available?
We currently offer individual consultations, dedicated writing space, workshops, and other programming.
Individual consultations are frequently geared toward improving the overall argument, structure, and style of your papers or chapters. You can also make an appointment to prepare for oral presentations, or to work on specific writing and speaking skills. Letting your tutor know in advance what you would like to work on is key.
Workshops and other programming (talks, events, etc.) will be announced on the website and elsewhere throughout the academic year.
Writing Groups and Proofreading Groups will be formed in the fall and spring semesters. If you are interested in being part of a group, please e-mail Suzanne Smith.