ReSEARCH Dialogues Information

The largest academic conference at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is getting more creative.

ReSEARCH Dialogues, the annual campus-wide celebration of research endeavors at UTC and the Chattanooga community, is moving to an online format this academic year. The event will be held virtually in the spring as part of the first-ever UTC Research and Creative Activities Week, which runs April 12-15, 2021.

Last April’s event was postponed due to the pandemic-related cancellation of on-campus activities.

In the rescheduled ReSEARCH Dialogues, participants from across all UTC disciplines, centers and programs will have the ability to make virtual presentations via the ForagerOne online conference platform and through daily live Zoom sessions.

“My No. 1 priority is that everybody on campus can find a place in this particular event,” said Lisa Piazza, UTC director of undergraduate research and creative endeavor. “Every day of Research and Creative Activities Week will include ReSEARCH Dialogues activities. We’re basically creating a brand-new virtual event and it’s a lot of work, but we’re getting there.”

Along with UTC undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, students from the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Chattanooga State Community College and Cleveland State Community College will be making presentations at ReSEARCH Dialogues.

Due to the new format, Piazza has been busy getting the word out earlier than in past years since it’s never too early to start working on projects. While presenter registration will open later this fall, event and activity submissions and volunteer opportunities are now being requested online.

Research and Creative Activities Week will blend hallmarks of past ReSEARCH Dialogues such as panel discussions, demonstrations and oral presentation with creative elements. Piazza envisions pre-recorded and live shows being showcased as part of the week’s sessions, mentioning both theatrical and musical performances.

“There is a lot of space for creative activities, and we certainly want to do as much as we can to promote that,” she said. “This is open for everyone and anyone, so it doesn’t matter what the discipline is. If we can make it happen and we can support those presentations, that’s what we want to do.”

Piazza said a big lure in putting together the event in a virtual setting is its online capabilities, extolling the ForagerOne platform’s functionality.

“ForagerOne is a professional way to get the research out there, and there are lots of different ways for people to present their work, including screencasts. The way it’s set up, you can include a link to your presentation on a CV or a resume,” she said. “Instead of saying, ‘I presented at this particular conference’ on a resume, the presenter will be able to point to a video of themselves describing their work and their project.”

Last year, nearly 700 projects were accepted for ReSEARCH Dialogues, with 52% of the primary presenters indicating it would be their first time presenting at any conference.

“By participating in ReSEARCH Dialogues, students gain communication skills. They gain the ability to put together an engaging visual presentation of their work,” Piazza said. “And this is something that can make them competitive as they enter the job market. They’ll be able to say, ‘Here’s what I did. I completed this project and then I presented at this conference.’

“Students have told me, ‘I had never done something like this before. It was so fun to do, but it also really helped me become more comfortable talking about my work and presenting in a public forum.’ This adds value to their degree in a lot of different ways.”

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call 423-425-4363.

Chuck Wasserstrom is an executive staff writer in the UTC Office of Communications and Marketing.

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