-Reflection on the submission for Advanced HE STEM Conference 2019-
Attending a conference is a great opportunity to disseminate work, share thoughts on recent advances with other academics and experts in the same/similar fields, and enlighten the way of thinking. It enables us to build network and enhances our professional and personal development. So yes, we should go to conferences!
Have been undertaking research on widening participation since January 2018, we are very excited at any opportunities to share our work and get feedback from other people. This time we are submitting for Advance HE STEM Conference 2019: Delivering Next Generation Higher Education in STEM. It is an annual conference designated for STEM higher education professionals. Five propositions are available and we opted for work on addressing equality, diversity and inclusion issues across STEM disciplines. The argument builds on the slow progress on these matters hence the need for institutions, faculties and departments to develop innovative and sustainable approaches to achieve significant impact and realise change. Here, we proposed introducing an inclusive undergraduate research module to improve retention, progression, and success in STEM for students of represented groups.
Although other means of dissemination are available (poster, ignite, and oral presentations), we felt workshop would best suited for us because it enables the best dynamic interactions with the audiences.
I got the honour to construct the proposal for the workshop. As a postgraduate researcher, I am no stranger to submitting for a conference, but I have never written proposals for delivering a workshop. So, what to do?
I researched on how to write a workshop proposal and some examples. These provided me with some insights for the starting points. After that, I looked up the submission guideline for the conference. Then, I started drafting. Seems pretty easy and straightforward. But at the time, it did take me quite a while. It was hard for me to use smart words as English is not a native language for me and to write in such an alluring way to attract and engage audience to the session. It is quite different in engineering (where I do my research degree at the moment). I think the nature of the research is different and so disseminating the work is also different in a way. I could use the most boring words are and plainly describe the results. This would be fine, the findings of my research speak for themselves through numbers, figures, and charts. Anyway, I managed to finish the draft for the workshop and sent it to my team for feedback. I did my best and I would say that the quality of the written proposal is quite good. But it was not until I got feedback from my team that the quality of the proposal has significantly improved. We tidied up the proposal, changed the title to something more persuasive, and all good to go.
We were happy with the proposal and then submitted it. After awhile, we heard the outcome of the submission. Our proposal got accepted! Yeayy! Our research is a staff-student partnership project so our line manager, Michele, will be the lead the presenter for the workshop. And from our team, it is probably me and possibly another member of the team will join Michele. We are looking forward to the conference at the end of January 2019.