For the first time since 2019, Goshen College will host the 22nd Annual Academic Symposium on Friday, April 9. 

The academic symposium is a professional development event that showcases research from faculty and students from different backgrounds and departments. The stated goal is to recognize the academic research and creative works of authors while providing a supportive atmosphere that allows for productive conversations. 

“It’s generally academic work … it’s whatever is considered research in a given field or academic excellence,” said Beth Martin Birky, associate academic dean and director of the symposium. 

Goshen College put the 2020 Academic Symposium on hold due to COVID-19. This year, a committee has been working to make sure the event is possible with restrictions. 

“As far as COVID-19 goes, the biggest [change] will be the usual social distancing and Big Four,” Birky said, “but fortunately, once they started … allowing larger audiences, we decided we can try for something in the sanctuary, and then it got so big that we ended up adding the classrooms. Those won’t be able to have as big an audience … but we’re going to make those available by Zoom.”

The day will start at 9 a.m. with Ann Vendrely, vice president of academic affairs and academic dean, recognizing faculty who have been promoted or published in the last two years. 

The rest of the 15 sessions will run every hour until 4 pm, featuring student research and work from a wide variety of disciplines. Each 50 minute slot will have between two and three rooms running at a time, with each session hosted by a professor or staff member. A total of 54 students will be presenting, some individually and some in groups. 

In-person sessions are open only to Goshen College students and employees. Zoom links will be posted on Friday, the day of the symposium, for friends and family who wish to attend virtually. 

“That’ll be the biggest change … having each of these as webinars or Zoom,” said Birky, “which is nice because friends and family can see somebody present even if they’re miles away.”