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University Writing and Research Conference
The George Washington University

Symposium executive director Caroline Smith discusses the work of presenters Laura Maas, Alexa Blanco, and Kat Medida. 2007 University Writing and Research Symposium. The George Washington University. Saturday, April 21FAQ AND OTHER RESOURCES

Frequently asked questions

Resources for:

Resources for University Writing

The first of the stated objectives of first-year writing instruction at The George Washington University is to help our students develop the "capacity for critical reading and for analytic thinking that examines assumptions and evidence, in both scholarly texts and informed public commentary." The conference is one among several UW20 "capstone" initiatives that aim to provide students with the opportunity to combine these capacities through publicly presented scholarship. (For others, see here.)

In line with these objectives, we see this section of the conference web site as having a legacy beyond any given year's event. Here, you will find materials related to teaching critical thinking and publicly engaged research and writing that have been developed by University Writing Program faculty over many semesters in a cumulative and collaborative process. Many of these materials have potential uses that extend well beyond the conference and should be of interest to any students, faculty, adminstrators, or others concerned with how these skills and scholarly values might be better learned or taught.

In these pages you will find, for example:

  • Suggestions for the ways that teachers of writing (and other subjects as well) can build into their classes some of the excitement and challenges of public intellectual engagement and the process of scholarly peer review by which writing moves from proposal to presentation.

  • Guidelines to the "Art of Asking Questions" that are as applicable to in-class peer review sessions and the framing of critical research problems as they are to serving as part of an actively engaged conference audience.

  • Samples of post-event responses to presenters that serve as object lessons in moving students from being passive consumers of scholarly work to active participants in shaping its ongoing development.

  • A pragmatic introduction to the specifics of particular presentation formats, including panels and poster sessions, that can help expand the sense instructors and students might have of what "academic writing" is, and how assignments might be designed to provoke and capture some of these alternate modes of framing research.

  • Practical tips for faculty, moderators, and other experience public presenters in how to guide first-time public scholars through some of the nuts and bolts of speaking in public, such as troubleshooting technology problems, and anticipating questions.

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