6TH ANNUAL UNIVERSITY WRITING AND RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
23-24 APRIL 2009
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The Spring 2009 University Writing and Research Symposium is a two-day event on the two
campuses of The George Washington University. In panels of three of four speakers, in
roundtable discussions, in research poster sessions, or even in dramatic readings of original
works, students in the first year writing course (UW20) present their research and writing in a
public forum that includes fellow students, faculty, and members of the broader DC community.
All students are encouraged to attend the Symposium. The final program of presenters will be
organized by a review panel of UW20 faculty. Proposals are due Friday, April 3. Presenters
will be notified on Friday, April 10 and will be asked to circulate a draft of their work among co-
presenters and their session moderator by Friday, April 17.
A proposal consists of a one-page cover letter and a one-page information sheet. For additional
information, and for document forms and models, see www.gwu.edu/~capstone/symposium.htm.
These proposals should be delivered by 4:30 pm on Friday, April 3 to either 556 Rome Hall
(University Writing Program offices at Foggy Bottom) or Academic Building, Rm 214 (Mt. Vernon).
A form for the cover letter is available at www.gwu.edu/~capstone/ symposium/cover_letter.htm.
The review panel will use this letter to match your work with compatible presentations. Please
address your one-page letter as follows:
UWP 2009 Symposium Review Panel
801 22nd Street, NW, Rome 556
Washington, DC 20052
In the letter, provide context for the abstract you have written for the information sheet. (See
below). Specifically, describe 1) how you propose to shape your material and thereby lead
an audience to see something they had not seen before and 2) how your proposed
presentation frames a critical and original scholarly project likely to engage the Symposium
audience—a broad cross-section of GW students (especially first-year), but also faculty,
librarians, and D.C. area community members.
As in all scholarly research and writing, simply informing audiences is never enough; it is crucial
that you make clear the intellectual stakes of your presentation. As you draft your letter, consider
Does your topic raise critical intellectual, moral, or political questions likely to matter to
the audience described above?
Do your methods or claims represent a significant challenge to conventional public
wisdom, the existing scholarly literature, or your own initial assumptions about the topic?
Does your research make particularly original use of primary, secondary, archival, or
Is your presentation innovative or engaging in ways critical to the exploration of your topic?
Finish by explaining what you still need to do to ready your presentation for the Symposium.
Then provide contact information (such as your e-mail address) and suggest your willingness
to answer any further questions or concerns the review panel might have. End on a note
along the lines of “I look forward to hearing the review panel’s thoughts on my project, and I
look forward to presenting it at the Symposium.”
SPRING 2009 CALL FOR PROPOSALS
University Writing and Research Symposium 2
Fill out the separate information sheet, with special attention to the following:
Title and Abstract: Your title should clearly indicate your topic and your argument. In your
abstract, in no more than 150 words, describe your critical and original contribution to forwarding,
extending, or questioning existing public, scholarly, or personal standpoints. Write with the
understanding that your title and abstract will be printed—as submitted—in the online Symposium
program, which is a public document. Last year’s program can provide some guidance for this
Keywords: Provide six key terms that characterize your topic or approach for the review panel to
use in matching your presentation with other submissions.
Presentation Type: Presentations take a variety of formats; the following are the most typical.
See also www.gwu.edu/~capstone/symposium/presentation_styles.htm.
ORAL PRESENTATION: Often called a paper, this is an abridged research essay,
generally no more than 10 pages long, presented alongside others, and followed by Q&A
with the audience. The review panel will group papers into either a) a panel of two to four
presenters speaking for 10-20 minutes each or b) a roundtable of four to six presenters
who briefly summarize their work for 5-10 minutes before opening up a broader discussion.
POSTER: Mixing text and graphics, a poster summarizes and illuminates the sources,
method, argument, results, and implications of a research project. Posters are available
for viewing during the entire day. During a poster session presenters are available for
informal discussions of their work with Symposium attendees.
OTHER: Group panels, performances, multi-media presentations — students at past
Symposia have imagined novel ways to present their work within the confines of the
75-minute sessions. Students proposing alternative formats should emphasize how their
work will engage their audience.
Available Schedule: Indicate all times you are available to present your work. Please be
generous. The review panel must fit together over one hundred presenters’ schedules.
(NOTE: Include any times your UW20 section would meet on these days.)