Each semester the Nashman Center hosts the Symposium on Community Engaged Scholarship, an afternoon for students, faculty, and community partners to share and reflect upon their experiences. During the Showcase Session, student presentations describe the nature of their community engagement during the semester, in terms of:
the outcomes for the community,
the outcomes on their own learning and growth, and
what they believe the general public needs to know about the issue they addressed or the community they worked with.
To prepare a Showcase Session presentation, it is important to keep in mind a few key aspects of the context of this portion of the Symposium.
During this part of the Symposium, the audience flows through presentations much like an art gallery or research day poster session.
You will not have a sit-down audience. People come and go. We advise you to carefully prepare a 1-2 minute “pitch” presentation, which you will give many times. The goal of this pitch is to make your audience want to stay longer to ask follow-up questions and hear more about your project. Spend some time thinking about how to summarize your experience, while highlighting the community impact, what you learned, and what you think it is important for the general public to know about the issues your project addressed.
Leverage visual aids to get audience attention and make your points memorable.
Students use posters, powerpoint slides, handouts, art, or other visual aids to be able to quickly and memorably make their points. In some cases, such as for engineering or interior design courses, students bring the actual product they designed for their community partner.
For students using slides on a laptop: photographs, maps, and graphs have greater impact than bullet points or text. You will need to bring your own laptop, and make sure its battery is fully charged.
Consider ways to engage the audience in active participation.
If your findings are surprising, ask your audience what they think or expect before revealing the results. Take a poll, indicating the results in real time using a poster with tally marks. If there is a way the general public can make a difference on the issue or with the community you worked with, provide information about that (what information can they share with their elected representatives? where can they go to do volunteer service?)