Feature Story

Student Symposium

February 23, 2015 – by Spenser Hickey ’15

On April 15, Ohio Wesleyan will hold its first Student Symposium to showcase academic achievement. The symposium will utilize poster presentations similar to OWU’s annual Summer Science Research Symposium (shown here), but also incorporate oral presentati

On April 15, Ohio Wesleyan will hold its first Student Symposium to showcase academic achievement. The symposium will utilize poster presentations similar to OWU’s annual Summer Science Research Symposium (shown here), but also incorporate oral presentations, music, and student-artist talks. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Ohio Wesleyan to Showcase Academic Achievements in New Event

Ohio Wesleyan will celebrate the work of its students in a new and more interactive way with the university’s first Student Symposium, held around campus in the afternoon and evening of April 15.

“The primary goal is to showcase the excellent research and creative work done by OWU students,” says politics and government professor James Franklin, who leads the Student Individualized Projects (SIP) grant program.

“The symposium is open to every department, major, and program,” Franklin says, “and we hope it will foster interdisciplinary learning and lead to a greater appreciation of student achievements across academic fields.”

Submissions for presentations are open until 4 p.m. February 27, and all students in any academic discipline are welcome to submit their work.

Martin Eisenberg, dean of academic affairs, says the OWU faculty helped to envision the new symposium.

“Some of it came from some conversations from a group of faculty who had gone on a conference on undergraduate research,” Eisenberg says, “and they were talking about strategies to increase that on campus.”

Eisenberg and Franklin said they hope many students who’ve completed SIP work will participate in the symposium.

Presentations may range from an oral discussion, such as reading a humanities paper, to a poster presentation, similar to those used during each fall’s Summer Science Research Symposium.

Due to space limitations, artwork can’t be exhibited, but students are encouraged to present photographs of their work and to present in the style of a visiting artist’s talk. Music also may be performed, but the acoustics may not be as clear as if the students were utilizing one of OWU’s performance venues.

In their proposals, students also must include the approval of a faculty member, who will help them to review their projects.

“This year, my goal is we want a faculty member to endorse the project, and we’re going to do our best to accommodate anyone’s project that is endorsed by a faculty member,” Eisenberg says.

The symposium will be structured like a general professional conference, with each student receiving 10 minutes to present and five minutes for questions. Presentations are not limited to classroom experience, but also may cover reflections on mission trips or other service learning.

“The goal, ultimately, to me is that it reaches the student body,” Eisenberg says.

“We will do a secondary publicity campaign to try and get students to come to it, so it allows students to see the potential of opportunities for them of things,” he says. “If you’re a first-year student, you can see what kinds of work (older) students do.”

For more information, visit www.owu.edu/about/offices-services/academic-affairs/programs/student-symposium/.