What is a good and equitable way to get more undergraduates to attend departmental seminars?
There was a little discussion last week about what we can do to get students into the room. Other than the standard approaches, I’m wondering if any of y’all have good ideas in addition to the standards.
What at the standards? I’ve identified three.
- Extra credit. If you’ve been around here for a while, then you know how I feel about that. (In short, dangling extra credit in front of students to manipulate them into attending a seminar outside of your regularly scheduled class is, unless you offer an alternative avenue for credit to all, that that is not more onerous or time consuming.)
- Run the seminar series as a part of the curriculum, so that academic credit is associated with attending. Our seminars are usually near-full because we have a lot of students enrolling in our 1-unit seminar class (which students can take twice for elective units, and there is a written component to the class as well. Which I think works for us.) But I’m thinking about generating attendance for the occasional talk beyond those enrolled in the class. Because sometimes we have great speakers we know that they’ll like and learn from.
So other than 1-3, how do you get students into the room? This essentially must involve developing a culture of occasional seminar attendance. How do we foster that? And, how can we foster that in a primarily non-residential campus with students who work lots of hours?
One thing I just thought of would be to work up an association with the Art department, to find someone in design to create super cool flyers for every talk. Has anybody done that? What else you got?