On the Augusta and Bangor campuses (and online!), April 28th

On the Augusta campus, April 29


Proposals due by March 17

The UMA Student Leadership and Research Conference is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together to share our work across discipline and program and to learn more about a variety of topics including this year’s academic theme of climate change and this year’s leadership theme of Understanding Diversity and Overcoming Adversity.

This two-day conference will include student presentations of their work on a variety of subjects and in a variety of formats (see below). These presentations (as well as other opportunities for collaboration and learning) will take place on Friday, April 28th on the Augusta and Bangor campuses, as well as at UMA sites and centers and through social media spaces. A catered dinner and keynote speaker on the topic of diversity will take place on the Augusta campus on Friday evening.

The second day of the conference–organized by students–will continue the Student Government Association’s long tradition of leadership conferences and will provide a variety of opportunities to learn about different viewpoints on the theme of Understanding Diversity and Overcoming Adversity. Presentations and workshops will be offered by experts in this field.

Everyone is welcome to attend both days of this conference. Students are welcome to invite friends and family to this free conference, and professors are encouraged to mentor students and to attend this conference in support of our students. Let’s build on tradition and create a new one in the spirit of collaboration and life-long learning.


What is an academic conference? Academic Conferences vary depending upon the discipline, the field, the location, the governing body, the particular professional organization, the topic, the focus, the purpose, etc.

Professionals in academia use conferences to present their own work for discussion and to attend in order to make connections with colleagues and to stay current on the work being done in their field. Conferences may involve a strict peer-review process or may be more open; they may also include opportunities for professional development.

Typically, information about the location, purpose, and topic of a conference and a call for proposals will be distributed, and academics prepare and submit a proposal by the deadline. Once informed of acceptance, the academic then prepares their presentation and presents it at their assigned time and location.

When presenting at a conference, an academic submits a proposal for a paper or another kind of format. This proposal will often include an abstract that provides a brief overview of what the presentation is about. It might include references, theories, methods, major questions, or other information that helps to show the project’s value to the field. A paper that is being presented would be similar in scope to an academic journal article and in many disciplines is treated as such.

For this UMA Student Leadership and Research Conference, students will have the opportunity to participate through presentation and/or attendance. If you present your work, you will be participating in the activity and tradition of the academic conference so that you can gain experience and confidence. You are a scholar. What do you have to share with your community of scholars?


Depending upon the conference and discipline, there might be any number of formats for presentations. In all cases, “research” is a generic word for scholarly work that may be informative, critical, or creative. And if your work is in-progress, there’s room for you here too! Here are some typical formats:

Poster Presentations: The academic prepares a poster that presents their research. Might include charts, graphs, graphics, short paragraphs, or even 3-D objects or other visuals. These posters may be displayed, but usually the academic who created the poster is standing by for discussion and to answer questions.

Paper Presentations: Sometimes read, sometimes talked. Sometimes with a power point, sometimes with handouts, sometimes with no visuals. This is basically presenting a paper an academic has written for a class or toward publication.

Roundtables: Several people in a field will talk for a few minutes about the topic at hand and then will open up the floor for questions and for conversation with the attendees. This roundtable format is less formal than a paper (and is not typically about presenting research), and often has to do with discussion of a timely issue in the field (ie: worker’s rights) or in the world (ie: policies and presidents).

Workshops: A workshop might use a similar format to a roundtable but is often more interactive and focused toward a particular purpose: like developing curriculum, organizing political actions, or writing memoirs.

Panels: Sometimes panels are pre-organized and sometimes they are created by conference organizers by grouping together related papers that have been submitted individually. A panel will typically have some kind of moderator (who might also be a discussant) who will introduce the panel members, keep time, field questions, and sometimes offer analysis that brings the individual papers together.

Online Presentations: Academic conferences are starting to experiment with how to do online presentations. In some cases there will be an online forum created to share papers beforehand. A website might be created to share images. A Twitter hashtag (#UMASLARC) might be created or a Live Tweet event might be held. Skype or Google Hangouts might be used to include someone at a distance. Electronic posters might be shared in a common online space. The possibilities are many, as are the challenges.

Creative Performances: Some conferences include performances by spoken word artists, poets, dancers, jugglers, storytellers, visual artists, dance troupes, filmmakers.


For the UMA Student Leadership and Research Conference, you can choose to submit a proposal for one of the above formats. Some of these formats involve only an individual submission. Some require collaboration and pre-planning. There is a Google Form for submitting proposals and students are encouraged to seek guidance from library and/or Writing center staff to complete this proposal.

Conference Proposals are Due by March 17!

Your proposal will ask you for a title, a format, and an abstract/description. The title and description you provide are what will appear in the Conference Program. You will also be asked your availability on Friday, April 28th, when student presentations will take place.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Hentges at sarah.hentges@maine.edu though you can also ask your professors for help!