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University Writing and Research Conference
The George Washington University
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David Ettinger moderates a poster session at the 2007 University Writing and Research SymposiumGUIDELINES FOR MODERATORS

If you are one of the faculty, graduate or undergraduate students, administrators, or community members who will be moderating a session at this year's University Writing and Research Conference the University Writing Program and the George Washington University thanks you for taking on this important work.

Moderators play a key role in what is often the most significant intellectual experience our students will have as writers and scholars  in their early undergraduate years as they present work begun in their first-year writing course (UW20) for an engaged audience of other students, faculty, community members, and friends and family. Moderators help students become scholars through making sense of the event for those presenters and attendees having limited experience with the academic conference model. Moderators bring a perspective from beyond the presenters' immediate UW20 classrooms as they stimulate discussion among presenters and lead Q&A with the audience. And moderators enhance the sense of research and writing as social acts that can engage, create, and shape public discourse within the university and the larger community.

This year’s Conference will take place on GW’s Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses on Wednesday, February 23 and Thursday,February 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. both days.

Below, you will find information to help you find your session, prepare for its logistics, understand the formats in which the students are presenting, and understand the audience you are likely to get at your session.


nformation table, 2007 University Writing and Research Symposium

Orientation

The Conference will take place Thursday-Friday, April 23-24 at several locations on the Foggy bottom and Mount Vernon campuses of The George Washington University. On both days, it will run from 10:00-5:15.

You can find an information table in the entrance-area to Post Hall in the lobby of the Academic Building (the large brick building with white columns on the quad) and in the lobby of Gelman Library. Printed versions of the online program will be available here, along with the name cards for your session.

We strongly recommend that moderators access the Mount Vernon campus via The Vern Express, the free, fast, and easy bus service connecting the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses of the George Washington University. The Vern Express departs every 5-10 from Foggy Bottom at 23rd and H Streets (Fulbright Hall, one block South of the Foggy Bottom metro stop) at all times EXCEPT weekdays between 6am and 10am (when you can catch it at 21st and H Streets).

PARKING: Here's the language from the Mount Vernon Campus Life directions page: "For those who wish to drive to the Mount Vernon Campus, note that ALL parking MUST occur within the campus boundaries in either the Parking Garage inside the Whitehaven Parkway entrance or the Visitors Lot inside the W Street entrance. The Visitors Lot inside the W Street entrance has meters that are monitored between 7am and 7pm on weekdays. The Parking Garage inside the Whitehaven Parkway entrance is attended between 7am and 10pm on weekdays...Parking by users of the Mount Vernon Campus is not allowed on the streets adjacent to the campus; those who do are subject to fines, towing, and/or University enforcement action." If you do park in the garages at Mount Vernon, you will be reimbursed by the University Writing Program.


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Moderator Lisbeth Fuisz prepares some trenchant questions for presenters at the 2007 University Writing and Research Symposium

Logistics

Pre-Event

There is a very short turn-around between finalizing the program and the actual event. If you have volunteered to moderate, we apologize for that unavoidable fact.

Here's how the proposal process words. Student proposals for the 2009 University Writing and Research Conference are due Friday, April 3. Some proposals are submitted independently, while others have been first peer-reviewed within (and sometimes between) UW20 classes who then forward a slate of presenters. By Monday, April 13, a panel of GW Writing faculty make will have made the final selections from among those submissions. Students whose presentations are selected are notified on Wednesday, April 15 with the final schedule completed and announced soon after.

Once selection and scheduling are complete, presenters and moderators are notified of one another's existence. (Though UW20 classes sometimes propose whole sessions, in most cases the review panel has put a session together -- and given it a title -- from proposals in different sections of UW20.) Presenters are asked to circulate near-final drafts of their work before the event -- a request that, admittedly, has met with limited success in past years.

Day of the Event

Check in at the information table approximately 20 minutes prior to your session's start time. We will have a small packet of materials for you to take, including table (name) cards, a program, and audience surveys. Students have likewise been encouraged to arrive at least 20 minutes early. We will have UW faculty and Mount Vernon staff circulating to help deal with equipment and room set-up issues, but you'll want to take the lead here in making sure all the equipment works and that student PowerPoint are pre-uploaded and ready to go.

Moderate the session itself any way you see fit. The most common approach is to introduce each presenter and let all presenters speak (gently reminding them of their time limits, if necessary) before opening up the floor to questions. This is where we will most need your help, because students in the audience are unlikely to be accustomed to conference etiquette and practice, and may need to be drawn out. (Conversely, you may find it necessary to keep faculty members in the audience from taking over the session.) You might find it helpful to get the ball rolling with a question of your own, especially where the linking thread among the presentations might seem thin. It can also work well to encourage the presenters to ask questions of one another.

When the session is nearing its close, be sure to thank presenters and attendees and encourage everyone there (yourself included) to fill out survey cards.

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Audience at the 2007 University Writing and Research SymposiumAudience

 


The audience will consist of some combination of University Writing and other GW faculty, community members, and friends and family of the presenters. But the great bulk of the audience is made up of other UW20 first-year writing students.

Some students are required by their UW20 instructors to attend Conference sessions (though rarely is a particular session specified), and most have been encouraged to actively participate in the discussion (see "The Art of Asking Questions"). A good number of students in the audience will themselves be presenters at other sessions in the Conference.

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