GUIDELINES 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.
The Conference will take place Thursday-Friday,
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
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
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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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
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
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.)
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
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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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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