Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks

This non-credit course ran in the Spring of 2021 with 12 participants. 

Course Description, Goals, and Outcomes:

This graduate course is an introduction to the complex world of academic publishing, and is designed to give writers in a variety of disciplines practical experience in getting their work published in peer-reviewed journals. Indigenous students in health and wellness fields (broadly understood) are encouraged to attend.  Using Wendy Laura Belcher’s best-selling book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, we will investigate the publication process together, exploring strategies for achieving success in the academic writing arena. Areas we will cover include: setting up a work schedule; identifying appropriate journals for submission; working with editors; writing query letters; clarifying arguments; making claims for significance; and organizing material. In a supportive environment, participants will revise a draft (often a classroom paper, conference paper, or dissertation chapter) into a peer-reviewed article and submit it for publication. The goal of this course to help you take your papers from classroom quality to journal quality and to help you overcome anxiety about academic publishing in the process.

The class meets for 1.5 hours once a week, from the week of February 22 to the week of May 10, 2021 (nine weeks and three break/catch-up weeks over the 12 weeks). See the Schedule and Syllabus tab for details.

Course text:

Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: a Guide to Academic Publishing Success. SAGE Publications, Inc.


Week 1 February 22-26
Introduction + Designing Your Plan for Writing
Week 2 March 1-5 Advancing Your Argument
BREAK March 8-12
Week 3 March 15-19
Abstracting Your Article
Week 4 March 22-26
Selecting a Journal and Refining Your Works Cited
Week 5 March 29-April 2
Crafting Your Claims for Significance
BREAK April 5-9
BREAK (Elementary/High School Break)
Week 6 April 12-16
Analyzing and Presenting Your Evidence
Week 7 April 19-23
Strengthening Your Structure
BREAK April 26-30
Week 8 May 3-7
Opening and Concluding Your Article
Week 9 May 10-14 Editing Your Sentences + Celebrate!

Dr. Robert Henry (Department of Indigenous Studies, USask)

Summary: The project titled Sites of Survivance, was a community-engaged research project with three NGOs located in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The community partners work closely with individuals who are engaged in street lifestyles and looking to exit them. The data is comprised of life history qualitative interviews with some participants engaging in a modified photovoice data collection exercise. The focus of the papers are to provide a better understanding of survivance as an analytical tool to understand Indigenous street lifestyles. The papers can explore multiple themes such as violence, engagement with social systems (education, child welfare, justice, health), urban Indigenous identity, and resurgence narratives. Using Gerald Vizenor's framework of survivance to examine literary spaces, survivance within the study looks to position Indigenous experiences within settler colonialism, where individuals must utilize specific tools to survive, resist and resurge their notions of self. A survivance framework then is intended to challenge pathologized theories that have constructed Indigenous peoples as victims to colonization, colonialism, and their involvement within street lifestyles. Therefore, survivance challenges positivistic perspectives that focus on Indigenous peoples as lacking morality or education to make proper decisions, and shifts the focus on innovative ways to survive and challenge settler erasure.


Notes: Pre-meeting with Dr. Henry and post-course writing retreat (online or in person, dependant on COVID-19 restrictions).


Dr. Ranjan Datta (Indigenous Studies, Mount Royal University)

Community-led Anti-racist Climate Change and Health Resilience.

Summary: Indigenous people, immigrants, and refugees are world’s largest and fastest-growing climate victims, yet climate change solutions fail to meet their needs. To date, climate change research has primarily focused on technical solutions and physical infrastructure; less is known about how social context and relations affect the capacity of Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities to adapt to climate change. The climate change crisis is a significant structural, historical, and ongoing high-risk challenge for many Indigenous, new immigrant, and refugee peoples in many parts of world. Yet, climate change policy often lacks an anti-racist perspective and fails to respond to the needs of these populations. We (Indigenous, immigrants, and refugees Elders, Knowledge-keepers, and scholars) are working for an anti-racist policy and practice guideline to respond to community-led climate change and health resilience.

Notes: If you are interested to contribute to this area, you are welcome to join us. We love to work with you, support you, and co-publish with you. You can reach me at rdatta@mtroyal.ca

Past Retreats

See below for details on our past reading week writing retreats. These are on hold because of COVID restrictions, but we're looking forward to gathering in person again as soon as it is safe. In the meantime, we're hosting ongoing activities like writing groups, workshops and more. 

We host two retreats annually during reading week breaks (November and February). We try to host one on and one off campus each year. Students from across disciplines are welcome to attend. Past participant fields have included: law, kinesiology, Indigenous studies, education, engineering, social work, nursing, public health, medicine, and more.

November 8-10, 2021

25 students and faculty joined us for our first online writing retreat. Three guest webinars were held, one speed networking session, and one games night! You can find recorded webinars from this reteat on the Webinar Archive page. 

A big thank you to our participants and to all the mentors who joined us over the three days: Dr. Winona Wheeler, Dr. Stacey Lovo, Dr. Caroline Tait, Dr. Leah Ferguson, Jill McMillan, Dr. Belinda Daniels, Jade McDougall, Dr. Nancy Van Styvendale, Dr. Robert Henry, Dr. Robert Innes, and especially, Knowledge Keeper Judy Pelly who ensured we began and ended our retreat in a good way. 


February 18-21, 2020

12 students and 7 faculty joined us for 3 nights at Elk Ridge Resort. Over the week faculty held office hours and participants worked on their theses, dissertations, proposals, papers, reserach, and more. One participant even submitted the final edits of her thesis on Friday of the week!


November 13-15, 2019

A total of 12 students participated over 2.5 days at the Health Sciences Building in Saskatoon. Students came from Law, Nursing, Education, Northern Governance, Public Health, Indigenous Studies, and Environmental Science, and from both the University of Saskatchewan and First Nations University of Canada. 

Thank you to our Mentors Louise Halfe (who also facilitated some wonderful activities!) and Tracey Proverbs and to the University of Saskatchewan Writing Centre Staff Jill and Krystl! 

The Writing Centre also offers a variety of workshops and resources for graduate students on a regular basis, including:



February 19-22, 2019

Our first retreat took place in Saskatoon, SK and five students came together for four days (overnight) to work on their research projects, proposals, data analysis and more. Three faculty and two staff joined as mentors throughout the week.