The Guest Speaker Series brings single-day guest speakers from a variety of industries into Penn State writing classes to speak with students. In the past, these professionals have generously offered their time and experience to provide students with an understanding of the importance of developing their writing and communication skills for their chosen career paths.
What content might the PWI speaker bring into my course?
PWI volunteers concretize what “writing on the job” looks like for students, offering examples of end-of-year reports, proposals, correspondence, marketing materials, and so forth. Those professionals who have served on numerous hiring committees are also ideal speakers to discuss what content makes for successful cover letters, resumes, and ePortfolios. Perhaps most importantly, the Guest Speaker series allows students to bring lingering questions they might have about their chosen profession and “ask the experts.”
In other classrooms, PWI volunteers provide students with portraits of activism in the State College community. Such volunteers help students learn how to identify problems in their community and envision the resources needed to solve such problems. It further allows students to consider how they might use their rhetoric and writing skills to give back to their own community once they graduate from Penn State.
Click here to preview a lesson plan created by one of our Guest Speakers.
How does the Guest Speaker Series work?
Step 1: Initial Call + Selecting Speakers
Each semester, we put out a call to all Penn State writing instructors of the courses that we serve (English 15, 15A, 15S, and 30; English 050; CAS/ENG 137/138; 202A, 202B, 202C, and 202D). One of the PWI Assistants will get in touch, individually, with each interested instructor to learn more about their interest in the PWI and their objectives that they would like the PWI to help them fulfill. Once we have a sense of of what an instructor is looking for, a fellow will help them choose three potential guest speakers from our list of Guest Speaker Profiles. The fellow will determine who of those three guest speakers will be the best fit for the instructor’s needs based on the speakers expertise, interests, and availability.
Step 2: Planning Meeting
As soon as a speaker has been chosen, the PWI Assistant will coordinate a specific class date for the guest lecture to take place that works for both the speaker and the instructor. Then, the assistant will coordinate a time for everyone to meet over coffee. During this planning meeting, the assistant will help the speaker and instructor set specific goals and conceptualize a lesson plan that will help the guest lecture run smoothly.
Step 3: Guest Lecture & Feedback
After the class visit takes place, the fellow will follow up with the guest speaker, the instructor, and the students from the course to collect feedback on the experience and locate areas for future improvement.