The largest academic conference on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus is back.
It has a new name. It now has a one-day format instead of two. Most importantly, it will have the same engagement as pre-COVID levels.
The 2023 UTC Spring Research and Arts Conference takes place Wednesday, April 12, in the University Center. More than 260 unique presentations are slated throughout three sessions in the Tennessee Room and Chattanooga Room—beginning at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Oral presentations and panel discussions will take place in University Center breakout rooms and creative performances will occur in the UC Auditorium. The complete schedule for the conference, formerly known as ReSEARCH Dialogues, will be posted online before the start of the event.
“Everything happens concurrently,” explained Lisa Piazza, executive director of the UTC Office for Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor. “There will be an average of around 50 posters in each session, with both rooms being utilized during the second and third sessions—so it’s substantial.
“I think the most exciting thing is the opportunity to see in one place all of the various things under this research category that we talk so much about. It comes to life, right? All colleges and departments are represented: You have engineering. You have humanities. You have the arts. You have performances. If you want to know who we are as an institution and what our faculty and students are up to, this is a great way to see it.”
Piazza said the conference provides a place for students to showcase their academic and innovative endeavors. New this year is the addition of creative performances, including a flute recital by Dr. Ronda Ford, instructor of flute in the Department of Music.
“It’s a pretty big deal for our students and faculty to share their work,” she said, “and it’s an excellent opportunity for the campus to see and engage with them.
“A good majority of the unique presentations are being done by undergrads and that’s exciting to see; that tells us a lot about participation, engagement, student success and a lot of the things that are important to our mission and values as a University.”
Piazza noted that multiple faculty members would be bringing their classes to the University Center to get a first-hand look at the presentations.
“There’s the potential to have a couple of hundred students coming through just from those faculty members,” she said,” and it’s a great selling point to those students about how we showcase the work we’re doing here.”
Piazza, who first came to UTC to shepherd the 2019 edition of ReSEARCH Dialogues, said she has been coordinating research conferences for years. After a COVID-postponed 2020, a virtual edition in 2021 and an “OK” version in 2022, having 2019-like numbers this year is very rewarding.
“For somebody that works in this world all day, every day, and thinks about this all day, every day, it is very, very exciting to see that all of these different projects going on here—and that folks want to come out and talk about their work and present these wonderful projects,” she said. “The number of presentations is pretty much in line with what happened pre-COVID, so it is excellent that we have bounced back in this way.”