Faculty & Staff Research Symposium

Friday, September 22, 2023

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 new 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, short-format sessions, or poster presentations. Participants might present elements of a current book project or an article; a program, initiative or partnership; an art work 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.

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 will 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?

    Calls for submissions are announced in May and June over email and in Spiderbytes, with the deadline to submit an interest form typically set for a Monday in June. The form is simple, asking for a short description of your proposed topic, along with keywords.

  • What are the presentation formats?

    Presentation 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: 3-4 presenters, speaking for 15 minutes each, followed by Q&A.

    (2) Roundtables: 5-6 presenters, speaking for 8-10 minutes each, followed by Q&A.

    Panels and Roundtables are organized around broad themes developed by presenters and organizers (see below).

    (3) Work-in-Progress: 5 Minutes-5 Slides: 8-10 presenters, speaking for 5 minutes each, with no more than 5 slides, followed by Q&A.

    The Work-in-Progress sessions are organized around suggested “Bridge Words” with multiple meanings across multiple disciplines (like “body” or “border” or “data”). On the interest form, you’re asked to indicate which of the suggested bridge words might resonate with your work.

    (4) Poster Sessions: One or more time slots have a poster session, where presenters typically first offer a short overview of their physical poster to the group and then have time to talk individually with attendees about their projects.

  • 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. Be sure to check the box “I already have a presentation group,” and indicate the group members. Each member of the group should still fill out separate forms. If you’re presenting with a pre-formed group, you may use a single presentation description if you wish, or you may submit a description of your individual talk. For both options, however, each member of the group should still submit a separate interest form, even if they are using the same description. To keep the presentations interdisciplinary in nature, please form groups with members from at least two different departments and, if possible, from another school. (2) You do NOT need a pre-formed group, however. You may simply submit an individual proposal.  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.

  • Can I choose which presentation format I prefer?

    Yes. On the interest form, you have the option to select which presentation format (panel, roundtable, work-in-progress, or poster) best fits your project and your needs.

  • What’s the difference between “keywords” and “bridge words”?

    “Keywords” describe your particular topic; please include them on the interest form no matter which presentation format you select. For the “Work-in-Progress” format, presentations are organized around “bridge words” with multiple meanings that might be approached in interesting ways by different disciplines; if you select this format, please indicate on the interest form if you see your topic fitting under any of the proposed “Bridge Words.” Both “keywords” and “bridge words” help in the organization of the sessions.

  • 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.