- What are the UTC Research Dialogues?
The Research Dialogues conference is perhaps the only large-scale academic event on campus that brings together faculty, staff, and students from every academic unit to celebrate scholarship, engagement, the arts, research, creativity, and the humanities. It is a 2-day conference taking place in the UTC University Center on April 11th – 12th, 2017.
- Why is University Research Important?
Universities exist to create and share knowledge for the public benefit and to prepare students for lifelong learning and inquiry within a range of careers – including careers that may not exist yet. Research, scholarship, and creative expression are literally the lifeblood of a university. Scholarly inquiry promotes excellence among faculty, enriches the learning environment for students, impacts economic development, and fosters a vibrant community of lifelong learners.
- Why does UTC hold this event? What do you hope comes from it?
Research Dialogues showcases and celebrates the diverse array of scholarly and creative activity occurring on campus. We expect attendees to develop a broader awareness of the variety of activities happening across many fields. Even more importantly, Research Dialogues encourages collaborations and conversations among participants about the intersections of research and scholarly activity in different disciplines. Most of the problems that our society faces cannot be solved through one discipline working in isolation. Collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches bring diverse perspectives to bear on challenges and ideas, which can lead to transformative innovations. This event is called “Research Dialogues” in recognition of the importance of the conversations and exchange of ideas that occurs when the artificial lines between different disciplines and modes of inquiry are erased and people come together.
- How is this year’s event different than last year?
Based on feedback from last year, we’ve added and expanded on some of the things that really worked. For example, we’ve significantly expanded options for performances. This year, we’re expecting to see a strong slate of musical performances, short plays, dramatic monologues, and other performance presentations. Building on the interest in last year’s 3 Minute Thesis for graduate students and the Elevator Speech competition for faculty, we’ve added a new Undergraduate Lightning Round presentation on Day 1. We’ve also encouraged faculty to present on both days.
- How easy will it be to understand the research?
One of the goals of the event is to clearly communicate and share information across academic disciplines, so you won’t have to be an expert in any particular field to enjoy the event! There are also several competitions including an Undergraduate Lightning Round, 3 Minute Thesis, and Faculty Elevator Speech competition. These are short pitch-type presentations – 2, 3, or 4 minutes in length – where students and faculty will compete to communicate their scholarly or creative pursuits to a diverse audience. The presentations are very accessible, and the presenters welcome questions and interactions about the research.
- Why should students participate/attend?
Communication is a critical skill in any discipline or career. Participation in a campus-wide conference is an excellent opportunity to practice in front of a friendly audience and hone a skill that is transferable to any career or advanced study. I hope all students will consider participating in some way – through the poster session, a podium presentation, a performance, or in the Lightning Round. There are many options for students in any major to find a presentation style/opportunity that works for them.
If students aren’t sure about presenting, I hope they will attend the event. It is rare for research from so many different departments and disciplines to be convened in one place. Research Dialogues provides an excellent overview of the breadth and depth of scholarship at UTC. It is a great way to learn about the many kinds of research, and scholarly and creative activities on campus, as well as find inspiration for collaborations or for individual research. Most importantly, it will be fun! Students can “picture themselves” doing a variety of research, scholarship, & creative activities in the selfie booth and play “Research Dialogues Bingo” to enter a drawing to win one of four $50 gift cards.
- Why should faculty participate/attend?
There are a number of reasons for faculty to participate or attend. It is a great way for faculty and staff to share information about their scholarly pursuits with a campus-wide network of faculty and students. There are relatively few mechanisms for faculty and staff to share their research interests with the whole campus, which makes the Research Dialogues conference a wonderful way to find possible collaborators and begin discussions about collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship. Research Dialogues also provides a cost-effective form for faculty to model for their students how to participate in a professional conference and how to communicate to diverse audiences. Participation and attendance at the event also make an important statement to colleagues and students that faculty members are interested in being part of UTC’s community of scholars.
- Why should members of the community attend?
Research Dialogues is perhaps the only event on campus that brings together a campus-wide showcase of the variety of research, scholarship, and creative endeavors on campus. It is the proverbial “one-stop shop” for people who are curious about what UTC is doing in any particular field – or across multiple academic disciplines. While Research Dialogues is just a 2-day event and cannot possibly convey all that is happening at UTC, it is a wonderful introduction to the scholarly and research community at UTC. A visit to Research Dialogues underscores that the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that has come to define Chattanooga here among UTC students and faculty. The students presenting at Research Dialogues this year are the future entrepreneurs and drivers of innovation and excellence across all sectors of our community.
- Will there be any surprises?
The most frequent feedback that we receive from attendees – even UTC faculty and administrators – is that they are surprised by the diversity of research, scholarship, and creative expression happening on campus. I think people will also be surprised at the complexity of some of the research that our students are engaged in – undergraduate and graduate students. Prepare to be amazed!
Visit the Research Dialogues web page for event details and schedules.
Sign up to present at this year’s event. The deadline is February 28, 2017.