What Makes a Good Workshop Tick? Reflections and Questions on Procedure

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3 Responses

  1. Dan Cole says:

    The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at IU-Bloomington has a long-established colloquium series (now every Monday and Wednesday). The “rules of the game” are long-standing, well-established, and function effectively. Papers are made available prior to the presentation. Colloquia begin on time and end on time. The presenter has 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of discussion. The first question is always asked by a graduate student member of the Workshop, who is pre-assigned the task of coming up with that question. All graduate student members of the Workshop and visiting scholars are expected to regularly attend the colloquia. Following the first question, all other participants may ask questions or make comments by raising their hands to join a queue maintained by the moderator. In the queue, no distinction is made between faculty and students.

    The process works very well. The length of time for questioning usually is long enough to ensure that everyone who has a question gets to ask it. On those rare occasions when time runs

  2. Dan Cole says:

    On the rare occasions when time runs out before everyone is able to ask a question, there is usually time afterwards for audience members to interact with the presenter.

  3. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    A moderator, such as the Academic Dean in general faculty workshops, can continuously summarize the points being developed during the Q&A. That can increase the value of the discussion for the speaker and amplify particularly valuable themes the work stimulates.