Being a Mentor

Each presentation must have a faculty mentor. If students are presenting work done off campus, for example during an internship, they must identify a UIS faculty member as co-sponsor. Abstracts that lack faculty sponsorship will not be accepted. Your involvement in work to be presented at STARS is therefore essential; without you, there can be no symposium. You should know about the responsibilities of mentoring as well as the significant benefits it can confer.

You should familiarize yourself with the presentation types and submission guidelines listed in the Call for Abstracts. There is no central review process for STARS— all submissions that have the approval of the faculty mentors will be accepted. This means that before you agree to be a mentor, you should make sure the proposed work is eligible and after agreeing, you should work with the students involved in preparing the abstract and the presentation.

A faculty mentor should proofread the abstract before submission, give appropriate feedback and editing, make sure the abstract is no longer than 250 words, and formally approve the submission. Abstracts must be submitted by the faculty mentor to the Abstract Submission System so the STARS committee knows it has been approved. If you have questions about your abstract please submit them via email to

Stay in touch with students you are mentoring so you can preview presentations, giving appropriate feedback to enhance their quality.

Benefits to you for shouldering these responsibilities are significant.

  • the stimulation and confidence that accompany creative thinking
  • the opportunity to mentor enthusiastic, high-quality students
  • the enhanced ability to remain current in one’s field and discipline
  • the excitement created by intellectual activity and participation in new discoveries
  • the recognition by one’s internal and external peers
  • the re-invigoration of one’s career
  • the chance to improve teaching techniques, such as in investigative laboratories (or workshops)
  • the ability to transfer results from one’s scholarship into the classroom
  • the ability to promote the concept of life-long learning for students.

The Symposium as Teaching Resource

Because few classes are scheduled on Fridays, you may want to consider ways of using STARS as a teaching resource. Some professors require students to attend one or more presentations, including both those from the class discipline and those from outside the discipline, and turn in reports on them. Reports may include brief summaries of each presentation, as well as reflection. Do not suppose this kind of assignment is useful only for courses in Fundamentals of Speech or those that focus on aesthetic criticism. Students from a wide variety of disciplines will be presenting their best work. In every discipline, students who attend can learn from their peers how to frame a question, choose a research method, discuss results and respond to an audience. Different presentation methods also will be on view. All who attend STARS can meet and question students who present posters, give oral presentations, exhibit their art, or give a musical performance. It’s a great way to catch up on what’s happening all around the University.

All faculty are encouraged to engage in discussion about the nature of scholarship within their discipline. A college or department meeting could be an occasion for gathering ideas about using STARS as a teaching resource or reviewing trends in research by students.

Extra Credit Assignment Example

Serving as a Moderator

We will need the help of many session moderators to keep the symposium running smoothly. We will be looking for volunteers as soon as the schedule of presentations is set.  Please save the date on your calendar, and please be ready to contribute to the success of the occasion by serving as a moderator.  If you would like to be a moderator, please contact