The Guest Speaker Series brings guest speakers from a variety of industries into Penn State writing classes to speak with students. These professionals generously offer 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.
To find a speaker who’s right for your class, there are a few steps:
- Consider what in unit you’d like them to visit or what competency you’d like them to address.
- Find the closest match to your need in the list below and follow the hyperlink to see a list of relevant speakers.
- Let the PWI assistants know your top choice of speaker. They’ll then arrange the visit for you.
Topics our speakers can address:
- Composing for multimedia (slide presentations, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.)
- Creating a web presence (social media profiles, web design, blogging, etc.)
- Conducting field research (interviewing, surveying, observing, etc.)
- Communicating with colleagues and clients (messages via email, chat, memos)
- Public speaking (e.g., delivering presentations, facilitating meetings)
- Reporting (finding and synthesizing information)
- Evaluating and defining (assessing something according to criteria)
- Describing and narrating (telling a compelling story, composing a profile, etc.)
- Persuading (marketing, calling an audience to action, etc.)
- Proposing (coming up with a feasible plan to address a need)
- Revising, editing, publishing (steps a text undergoes after drafting)
- Giving feedback (peer review in the workplace)
- Conveying instructions (producing user-friendly, step-by-step guidance on a product or service)
- Assembling a job application (résumé, cover letter, etc.)
Or, if you’d prefer not to view speakers by category, you can also browse our complete roster.
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?
Initial Call + Selecting Speakers
Each semester, we put out a call to all Penn State writing instructors of the courses that we serve. One of the PWI Assistants will work with each interested instructor to help them identify a suitable speaker. (See steps 1 to 3 above.)
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. 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.
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.