Preparing for First-Year Symposium

Posted: November 1, 2019 12:00:00 AM CDT

First-Year Symposium is right around the corner on Thursday, November 21 and Friday, November 22 from 9am – 3pm. Read below for important instructions and information about this year’s event. 

First-Year Symposium Table Descriptions 

Take some time before Friday, November 8 to update your First-Year Symposium project description on the First-Year Symposium Table Description document. Descriptions will be provided by QR code to audience members to help students make viewing decisions. Here are the table descriptions from last year. 

First-Year Symposium Table Scheduling 

To help keep the event well organized and encourage a full ballroom, we are asking that you update your student presentation dates and times on the First-Year Symposium Student Presentation Spreadsheet 

Learning Community Team Coordinators – please help your Seminar faculty team so that each of the section has one designated table (to represent real tables) for the appropriate date and that their student presentation schedule information is represented.  

Each First-Year Seminar section is typically assigned one table, which is appropriate to host one group presentation or two single student presentations. If your students are presenting in groups, it might make sense to have one table to represent two sections.  

By default, TR learning communities will present on Thursday the 21st and MWF learning communities will present on Friday the 22nd. If your learning community does not fall within a clear MWF/TR breakdown, your team should decide which day works best or if you’d like to be there both days. Help your team schedule breaks throughout the day so that the ballroom is buzzing as much as possible. The preferred date to update the spreadsheet is Friday, November 15.  

Seminar Talk Conversations 

Expedited Grading Example - As many of you know from experience, grading student presentations at First-Year Symposium can be very overwhelming. To combat grading fatigue on presentation day, Dr. Hawkinson developed a grading tool on Microsoft Excel that highlights four grading criteria for students. She selected visual, organization, delivery, and research. Faculty can select criteria based on learning outcomes for their course. In class, students will learn about what criteria mean. During student in-class presentations, they are evaluated on the four criteria. Those they are not proficient in are circled. Students will receive the grade indicated in the chart at the top based on how many items are circled. They are given an opportunity to be re-evaluated at the actual event if they solicit my evaluation on the dat of the event. The template can be found here. 

Technology – Please email if you have any special requests for technology. Some televisions are available. If students need laptops for presentations, remind them to charge their computers before the event! 

Student Evaluation Form - All first-year students are expected to complete two evaluations of presentations at the event. Credit for the evaluations is sometimes counted as attendance or part of the overall First-Year Symposium grade for First-Year Seminar. The form will be available at the welcome table. If faculty choose to create their own version of the evaluation form, email the number of students who will not be using the default form. If you choose this option, be sure that your students remember to bring their own forms. Be sure to find time in your classes following the event to discuss the evaluation form with your students. 

Discussing First-Year Symposium Attire – As one of their first formal presentation opportunities, first-year students benefit from discussions about what to wear to First-Year Symposium. Some faculty ask students to submit photos of what they plan to wear as part of a class activity. Others remind their students to wear comfy shoes and leave the club attire at home. Career Services has a closet of appropriate attire that students can check out for a $5 deposit. Regardless of the approach, it is a good idea to talk to students about professional attire for an academic event. 


Library Workshop about Poster Presentations - Invite your students to attend the library workshop about poster presentations on Tuesday, November 14 from 3:30-4:30pm. 

What to PurchaseStudents creating posters should buy 3ft x 4ft. The I-Create lab prints posters of the same size that students could adhere to a trifold for their presentation. Costs are very reasonable. 

TAMU-CC Services Tables - Different departments will host tables for first-year students at the event to promote their various missions. I-Care, CASA, the Bell Library, and many others will be in attendance to support our students. Career Services will provide an opportunity for students to translate their First-Year Symposium experience to a line item on their resume.  

The First-Year Learning Communities Program is very proud of this event because it promotes real world learning opportunities for our students. Enjoy your time! It’s a joy to watch our students beam with pride. 

Let us know if you have any questions or need any additional support. See you there!


By: Dr. Chelsie Hawkinson, Ms. Kellie Jarvis, & Dr. Rita Sperry

Category: Coordinator Updates