The annual Academic Symposium will look a bit different this year. Fritz Hartman, library director and the new coordinator of the Academic Symposium, has worked with an advisory committee of other faculty members to make significant changes to the event in an effort to give it more prominence and broaden its audience and participants.
The Academic Symposium is a professional development opportunity that aims to acknowledge the academic research and creative works of its participants while also providing a supportive academic environment that allows for scholarly conversations and questions.
The event will occur on March 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The deadline for signing up is March 1. The symposium will be held in the Good Library on a Friday and a convocation credit will be offered. In previous years, the symposium was held on a Saturday afternoon in the Church-Chapel.
Presenting at the symposium used to be an opportunity reserved only for students. This year, faculty members are able to participate and encouraged to present their own projects. In addition, the range of works that can be presented has been expanded beyond just research projects— posters are now being accepted.
Hartman hopes that these changes will bring a larger audience to the event. He thinks it is an important part of the Goshen College community that presents unique career development opportunities, especially for undergraduate students.
“I think it is important that students see other students doing this,” said Hartman. “At this point in people’s lives seeing that this is where their life can take place or that this is what it can look like is really important.”
Hartman wants the symposium to be an event that not only gives its participants a place to share their work but also a place where others can listen and be exposed to new ideas that may be outside of their discipline.
“It might be exciting to hear something that you normally wouldn’t be exposed to and to know that people are studying these areas and I think it keeps us humble,” said Hartman. “I think that academic humility is important. I think it’s important to know that people work hard on what they research and we should respect that.”
Hartman also encourages people to simply attend the event as an audience member if they do not want to present.
“Really, what we’re focused on are your ideas,” said Hartman. “That’s what we want to hear. We would like you to treat it like a conversation—a mature scholarly conversation.”
Abby King, who has previously presented at the symposium, said, “It’s a great platform to share your work. After endless hours of researching and writing, it was satisfying to stand in front of a room of people and tell them about all of my hard work.”
The academic work and research of participants does not have to be complete in order to present. Hartman strongly encourages students and faculty to take advantage of the experience and opportunities that that symposium offers to practice skills that will help further their careers.
“After presenting, the student presenter is often asked questions about their research,” King said. “For me, that was probably the best part because I had so much information about my research that I could talk about for hours.”
Everyone has their own academic interests that are worth sharing and the symposium works to provide the context and forum to do so.
“It was also great to see how other students spend their semester,” King said. “As students, we do a lot of work and that should be recognized. Turning in a paper and getting back a grade is satisfying, sure, but the Academic Symposium gives you the opportunity for so much more than that.”
The event is open for all of the Goshen College community. Everyone is invited to attend and participate in the Academic Symposium and engage in conversations from a broad range of academic research and creative works.