Faculty & Staff Research Symposium

Friday, September 27, 2024

Faculty & Staff Research Symposium Coordinators:

Elizabeth Outka, Tucker-Boatwright Professorship of Humanities and Professor of English

Lidia Radi, Professor of French and Italian Studies

The annual Faculty and Staff Research Symposium brings together colleagues from multiple disciplines, programs, and all five schools to present on their research, work, and creative projects. The event is designed to foster community and conversations, support partnerships, and spark new ideas for scholarship and programs — all in a non-time-intensive way. Hosted by A&S, the symposium is held early in the fall semester and is a rough parallel to the spring undergraduate symposium.

Faculty and staff are invited to discuss current work as part of interdisciplinary panels, roundtables, and  poster presentations. Participants might present elements of a current book project or an article; a program, initiative or partnership; an artwork or performance (with clips and examples); a current line of research experiments; an archive or digital project; a musical composition or a piece of creative writing; an experience in leadership or strategy, and so on. The talks might be versions of a presentation participants have made or will make that year at a professional conference or gathering (adjusted for a general academic audience). 

This year, we are also adding “Let’s Talk About . . .” sessions, where two to three facilitators will guide an open discussion around a topic that crosses various disciplines.  

The Symposium is held at Boatwright Library, a place that represents the meeting of different disciplines and repositories of knowledge. A lunch and a final reception mark the event and allow additional opportunities for conversations.


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  • What are the benefits of the symposium?
    • The symposium is designed to address a wide-spread desire on campus to provide more opportunities for colleagues to exchange intellectual and creative ideas. Most of us are intensely curious about the amazing work unfolding all over campus, but it is difficult to find the time or the opportunity to discover what colleagues are doing. The hope is that the symposium will foster those serendipitous moments of “spark,” when ideas are born from intellectual exchange and curiosity.

    • The symposium is designed to foster cross-disciplinary and cross-school connections. Presentations will have people from different departments, schools, and offices who are approaching a similar topic from different directions. New conversations — and thus new classes, partnerships, and collaborative projects — will hopefully emerge from these exchanges.

    • Central to the idea of the symposium is to remain laser focused on minimizing the time and labor required: the symposium is all on one day, encourages participants to present on work they are already doing or presenting elsewhere, and allows everyone to hear from many people in a short time. People may stay the whole day or just come for one session.

    • Overall, the goal of the symposium is to help UR foster a community of creative thinkers, build a vibrant “commons” of ideas, and develop a culture of public intellectualism and curiosity.
  • How and when do I sign up to present?

    To present at the Symposium, you submit a short interest form describing your proposed topic. The form becomes available in April on this webpage (please see link above). For the 2024 Symposium, forms may be submitted anytime between April and Friday, June 21.

  • What’s new this year (2024)?

    New Themes: Sessions will be organized in part around six broad themes designed to encompass many disciplines and fields: Nature; (S)Election; Ethics, Truth, Imagination; Secrets, Lies, and Mysteries; Exploring Algorithms; and Intersectional Perspectives. On the interest form, you can check as many of these themes as–defined broadly–might fit your project. Your work does NOT need to fit into the themes to participate; these categories are ways to help sort people into sessions.

    New Format: In response to requests for more open discussion time, we have added a new format, “Let’s Talk About . . .” where two to three facilitators will lead an open discussion around a topic that crosses various disciplines. Those interested in proposing and facilitating a session should sign up using the interest form.

  • What are the session formats?

    Sessions  are all 75 minutes and follow the teaching schedule, with several sessions running in the same time slot (like conferences). There are two time slots for morning sessions (9:00-10:15am and 10:30-11:45am) and two time slots for afternoon sessions (1:30-2:45pm and 3:00-4:15pm). There are four possible formats:

    (1) Panels: Three to four presenters speak for 15 minutes each, followed by Q&A. The panels are facilitated by a Chair who introduces speakers and manages time. They are especially well-suited for work that is completed or nearing completion.    

    (2) Roundtables: Five to six presenters speak for 8-10 minutes each, followed by Q&A. The roundtables are facilitated by a Chair who introduces speakers and manages time. They are especially well-suited for presenting work-in-progress/emerging ideas, showcasing collaborative research projects, and discussing partnerships that stemmed from the 2023 Symposium. 

    (3) Poster Sessions: Six to seven presenters speak for 5-8 minutes about a physical poster highlighting their work, followed by Q&A and individual discussions. The Chair facilitates the Sessions and manages the time.  

    (4) (new for 2024): “Let’s Talk About . . .”: These sessions are facilitated discussions focused around a specific topic, idea, or question that reaches across disciplines. Sessions are proposed and facilitated by two or three people from different departments or offices. After introductions, the facilitators will guide a conversation around the topic. To center the discussion, facilitators may offer suggested materials for audience members to consider ahead of time (an article/media clip/artwork/dataset/chart/audio clip, etc.), though reviewing materials should not be required for an audience member to attend the session.

  • How are presentation groups formed?

    In two ways: (1) You may, before you fill out the interest form, organize a group ahead of time for any of the presentation options. To propose a pre-formed panel, roundtable, or poster session, each participant should fill out a separate interest form describing their individual project, being sure to check the “I already have a presentation group” option and to add the names of the other presenters. For the “Let’s Talk About . . . ” sessions, two or three facilitators may propose a topic together, checking the “Let’s Talk About . . .” option on the interest form.   To keep the sessions interdisciplinary in nature, please form groups with members from at least two different departments and/or offices and, if possible, from another school. (2) You do NOT need a pre-formed group, however. You may simply submit an individual proposal, indicating if your work might fit into any of the general themes (it does not need to).  The organizers will read through all the interest forms and sort them by theme into interdisciplinary sessions across offices, schools, and departments.

    Over the summer, participants are asked to review their proposed session group and make any updates they like to their project description.

  • May I choose my presentation format?

    Yes. On the interest form, you may select the format (panel, roundtable, poster, or “Let’s Talk About. . .”) that best fits your project and your needs. 

  • What are the themes for 2024?

    For the 2024 symposium, sessions will be organized in part around six broad themes designed to encompass many disciplines and fields: 



    Ethics, Truth, Imagination

    Secrets, Lies, and Mysteries

    Exploring Algorithms 

    Intersectional Perspectives   

    You can check as many of these themes as–defined broadly–might fit your project. *Please note: your work does NOT need to fit into the themes to participate, as the idea is to present work you’re already doing/have done. These categories are ways to help sort people into sessions.

  • May I present on the same project I discussed at last year’s Symposium?

    Yes! Offering an update on a project you presented last year is fine. Keep in mind your audience will likely be different, so describing the project as well as the update will be helpful.  

  • May I present at more than one session a year?

    To allow as many participants as possible, everyone is asked to present or facilitate (for “Let’s Talk About . . .”) at only one session. You are, however, free to attend as many sessions as the laws of time and space permit. 

  • I teach on Fridays, when the symposium is usually held. Can I still present or attend?

    Absolutely. On the interest form for presenting, you’re asked to indicate times that won’t work for you and you can avoid your teaching times.

  • As a staff member, I work all day on Fridays. Can I still participate or attend?

    You are welcome all day; each office will need to decide what guidelines will apply. On the interest form for presenting, indicate if you know there are any times that won’t work for you.

  • I’m not sure what “counts” as research. Can you elaborate?

    What "counts" depends on your area of expertise and what you would like to share with colleagues. You might discuss a current idea, argument, book project, article, conference talk or research issue; a specific initiative or program you’re creating or are a part of; an art work or performance (with clips and examples); a current experiment; an archive or partnership you’re working on; a musical composition or a work of creative writing (with recordings/excerpts). You could present on an experience you’ve had in leadership or strategy, or on a new, research-based pedagogical topic. Please feel free to reach out if you’re unsure your topic fits (it probably does, but happy to chat).

  • Can I attend the symposium if I’m not presenting?

    Absolutely. Please do. Come for all or part of the day, whether you are presenting or not. You don’t need to register to attend the symposium.

  • Who will the audience be?

    Everyone at the university is invited to attend the presentations, whether they are presenting at other sessions or not. One of the advantages of the symposium format is that every session has a built-in audience: even if only the speakers are there, you will still be gathered with 3-10 colleagues from across the university to discuss your work and theirs.

  • Can students attend?

    Yes, though for now, the symposium is focused on building the faculty and staff community, and talks should be aimed at this audience. Students are invited, but we ask that you do not require attendance for a student or a class. If you want to present on research you’re doing with students, those students may certainly attend and help with the presentation but should not present themselves.