Gina J Hiatt, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, tenure coach and dissertation coach. She helps professors and graduate students to complete research and writing projects and publish, while maintaining high teaching standards and other commitments. In addition to dissertation coaching, she runs workshops and teleclasses on time management, writing, career planning and grad student/advisor relationships.  She is also the founder of the Academic Writing Club .

Academic Background

Gina received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, Summa Cum Laude, in 1973. She was one of only 12 people inducted into Phi Beta Kappa her junior year at Penn.

Her first year at Penn was as a Russian and French major, having studied French, Spanish and Russian all through high school.  She took a psychology course to fulfill the science requirement, and the rest is history.  Gina continues her love of languages: after four years of study she is now also fluent in Italian.

Gina received her Ph.D. in 1978 from McGill University, in clinical psychology. Her research was in the area of learning and memory, working with the noted neuropsychologist, Brenda Milner.

From Researcher to Clinician…

While testing patients for her dissertation research, Gina realized that she liked working with people more than doing research on them. After graduating in 1978, she did a post doc at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She also had the opportunity to teach two psych courses at UCLA. Since then, she has been in private practice for 25 years.


In addition to being a psychotherapist, Gina is a coach. She enjoys working with academics at every stage of their career, from grad students wondering about their dissertation topic to faculty members who want to maintain a high level of research and writing.  In particular, Gina has found that faculty concerned about promotion and tenure are helped immensely by the structure of coaching.  It has been incredibly rewarding for her to watch her clients’ successes in the academic arena. She has worked with a number of tenured professors, also.  

The Academic Writing Club

After coaching clients for several years, Gina realized that they needed not just weekly, but daily accountability, feedback, support, and the ability to interact with others about the process of writing.  Of course, daily coaching would be prohibitively expensive, so she developed a unique, proprietary, database online membership website that places academics in small groups, each with their own coach.  It is called the Academic Writing Club . They can choose from professor or graduate student groups, and the disciplines of humanities, social sciences or STEM (science, technology, engineering or math).  They fill in a series of accountability and unique cognitive-psychologically oriented questions, and then each member of the group, and the coach, can interact with them about their progress.  The focus is on number of minutes written, which is automatically graphed.  In addition, they have message boards, chat rooms and a Wiki that they are helping to create about academic writing or any difficult area of academia that they feel others need advice on.  The interaction with their group helps greatly with the feeling of isolation that is so common in academia.  The Academic Writing Club has grown rapidly, and has helped over 1000 academics to learn new skills and move forward on their important writing projects.

Need more info? Contact us at info@academicladder.com