Why Present?

Many of us already know the old platitude about why you should present at a conference: “It’s an opportunity to share professional knowledge and experiences to industry peers.” At the annual SIGUCCS conference, typical reasons for giving a presentation include gaining professional experience, sharing your institution’s successes and/or lessons learned, and providing an exposure opportunity for your staff. In some cases it can also be an incentive for your  institution to fund your conference costs.

rocket launch
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

But there’s another why for submitting a proposal.

Ask yourself, “When I’m at the SIGUCCS Annual Conference  in Orlando this October, what presentations would I be interested in attending?”

What excites you about your daily work? What challenges have you conquered in your profession? What are topics that you feel that other IT professionals in higher education may be interested in learning more about? What subjects would inspire you to reach for the stars?

Not sure where to start? Past SIGUCCS conference attendees have presented (and learned) valuable lessons related to implementation of new technologies, management strategies, budgeting dilemmas, creative professional development opportunities, communication approaches, development of organizational culture, and personal effectiveness improvements. In many cases, compelling presentations cover more than one area.

Maybe you already have some ideas about what you would be interested in presenting at the SIGUCCS 2018 Conference.  If not, some topics of interest might include (these examples are from past SIGUCCS conferences):

  • Selecting and implementing technology solutions to comply with privacy regulations (e.g., FERPA, institutional requirements)
  • Transitioning email storage system from on-site storage to a cloud-based solution while maintaining high availability and data security
  • Deploying a new Content Management System on campus with no additional staffing or budget—while meeting deadlines
  • Elevating student staff morale and body of knowledge by using a badge-based gamification approach
  • Safeguarding the continuity of institutional leadership by investing in succession planning
  • Communicating technology changes to campus to an audience that is change-averse
  • Overhauling customer-facing documentation by inspiring readers to take action —instead of littering pages with confusing technical jargon
  • Redeploying and reorganizing staff and budget after an organizational overhaul —while maintaining high level of customer satisfaction
  • Researching print management solutions in campus labs which led to more effective administration and reduced paper costs
  • Leveraging a real-time social media platform to create an innovative signage system for pushing campus-wide alerts

These are just some of the launch points for a proposal. They appeal to attendee’s curiosities and successfully address the “what’s in it for me?”).

Presentation topics are everywhere in your daily work. With a myriad of possibilities, it’s not a matter of whether or not to submit a proposal—it’s a matter of deciding which idea to propose!

When proposing, don’t be afraid of the “snowflake syndrome”—or being afraid that no one will be interested in a topic that seems unique to your institution. Although no two schools are identical, SIGUCCS members share similar challenges and concerns. They are more than happy to take away valuable lessons learned from your presentation!

Your proposals can take shape in many formats. Interested in diving into a topic from several angles and perspectives? Collaborate with your peers from other institutions to co-present a proposal for a talk or panel discussion. Do you have an exciting idea but have concerns that it may not be deep enough for a full session? No worries—propose a Lightning Talk! Do you have visual poster or instructions that helped solve challenges at your school? Develop a  poster presentation.

With so compelling presentation topics, having to decide which sessions to attend at SIGUCCS 2018 is a problem that many attendees will be more than happy to entertain. Let’s make that happen — submit your proposal!

SIGUCCS 2018 Conference proposals are due February 2. Learn more about conference proposals at siguccs.org/Conference/2018/call-for-proposals/

~ Mo Nishiyama

About SIGUCCS Editor

The Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services (SIGUCCS) is an association of professionals who support and manage the diverse aspects of information technology services at higher education institutions. SIGUCCS is one of 36 special interest groups of ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. SIGUCCS focuses on issues surrounding the support, delivery, and management of those services, and provides professional development opportunities for its members and the other individuals in the field.