The Office of Graduate Education and the CTSI are pleased to offer a unique course designed to teach mentors to effectively and efficiently develop their protégés as scientific writers and to teach protégés the basics of scientific writing.  This course is taught by Constance D. Baldwin, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics. She has doctoral training in English and has taught scientific writing courses here at URMC and at many other universities around the country. Mentors and their trainees will start with a series of classes on the fundamentals of good writing, and the strategies and structures of research articles and grant proposals. It is expected that by the end of the course, they will have completed at least one grant application or manuscript. The course goals, learning objectives and curriculum are described below.


We are seeking mentors and their protégés engaged in clinical or basic translational research. Protégés may be junior faculty, clinical or post-doctoral fellows, or graduate students who are working on a grant application, such as a K- award, or a research article. A maximum of 12 mentor/protégé pairs will be accepted. Participants must apply for acceptance into the course, but need not be formally affiliated with a graduate program or the CTSI. Course sponsors are working towards arranging for CME credit for this course. Faculty participants may apply for tuition benefits to take the course without cost.


All classes will be on Tuesdays, 4-6pm, scheduled from September through April.

Application process

Interested protégés should write a one-paragraph description of their proposed writing project (either article or proposal) to be completed over the coming year, and one paragraph on why they want to take this course. (These documents will also be used to assess the writing skills of participants.) A letter of commitment from the mentor must accompany each abstract, and should describe the mentor’s mentoring experience and why he/she wants to take the course, and state a clear intention to attend the class meetings regularly.  The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, August 17.  Submit all abstracts electronically to Katie Libby at

Course Description: Scientific Writing for Mentors and Their Protégés


Constance D. Baldwin, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, is a veteran instructor and mentor in scientific writing.


Twelve pairs of mentors and their protégés who are engaged in clinical or basic translational research.


Sessions will be scheduled for two hours on Tuesdays from 4-6pm from September to April. Sessions will be weekly in September, October and December, and bi-weekly in January-April. 

Goals of the Course

  • To help protégés learn to write good scientific English in articles and grants and work productively as writers.
  • To help mentors effectively teach skills in clear, concise and persuasive writing, particularly through constructive editing of scientific documents.

Overview of curriculum

Each mentor/protégé pair will work on 1-2 grant proposals or research articles during the course. It is expected that all the writing projects will culminate a paper or grant that is completely drafted by mid-December and ready for submission soon thereafter. Some trainees may choose to complete two documents, one in the fall and one in the spring.

The fall semester will be devoted to didactics and interactive discussion of writing samples selected to demonstrate common writing problems. The didactic sessions will teach skills relevant to both writing and editing, and giving feedback to writers. Trainees and their mentors will attend these sessions together. Simultaneously, a series of writing assignments (segments of the document targeted for completion during the course) will be turned in by trainees, and mentors will submit edits of these documents. The documents will be edited by the instructor and returned to the mentee for revision. Mentors will also receive the edited documents, so they can compare their edits and comments with those of the instructor.

The spring semester will be run as a Writers’ Group: i.e., the class will discuss documents of trainees that are being planned, drafted, or revised. Each protégé will submit a document for group discussion at 1-2 Writers’ Group sessions. Mentors are welcome to attend all spring classes, but must attend at least the sessions when their own protégés present documents for discussion.


NIH Funding Acknowledgement ** Important ** All publications resulting from the utilization of CTSI resources are required to credit the CTSI grant by including the NIH FUNDING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.