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Our university has a an annual event showcasing graduate student research projects and has a competition for best presentation. However, faculty involvement (as judges for the event) was very sparse and we had a difficult time getting enough faculty to volunteer as judges. I know that faculty time is very precious and this event did demand a lot of time and provided little incentive other than free food. How else can I encourage more faculty involvement in this event?

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We have the same kind of event, and we get reasonable faculty involvement. A few things that help:

  • Faculty are likely to show up and get involved if their students participate. Make sure students of many different faculty participate and remind the professors of this fact.
  • Remind, remind, remind. Send regular (but not daily) reminders to the faculty. Keep the emails short, and let them know what's expected of them - show up at this place, at this time, and encourage students.
  • Get different people involved in different aspects: some might review the presentations, some might help with pre-screening, and so on. The more people are involved, the more they feel part-ownership, and the more likely they are to participate in other ways.
  • Do this regularly. It's often hard to do this the first time, but once it's a regular occurrence, people get used to the rhythm of it and how it fits into the calendar.
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