How to Choose the “Best” Student Poster Presentations

Yesterday was SUNY Geneseo’s “GREAT Day” – a celebration of student achievement in the form of posters, presentations and performances.  There were 165 poster presentations and a similar number of oral presentations and performances.  Students presented research findings, class projects and original art.  It was amazing – our students are really quite smart and talented!

Great Day 2010
Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement, and Talent

Each year, the library selects a small portion of the posters to hang in the library for the following semester as an example of student work and research at Geneseo.  This year, the posters will also be displayed at a “Best of GREAT Day” event for college donors and board members.  The only issue is that these posters aren’t really the “Best of GREAT day.”  Librarians have 2 hours to review 20 student posters each and talk to the students involved.  We can’t really pick out the “best.”  (Next year, I think the event will have a name change to “Selections from GREAT Day.”)

So how do I make my selections?

Step 1: Delete the word “best” from the description.  Don’t worry about it.

Step 2: Talk to the students.  Do they know what they are talking about? Do they know how their research fits into the grad scheme of things?

Step 3: Find the interesting things.  Which posters showcase the variety of research being done?  Which posters have pretty pictures of students in exotic places?  Which posters have an interesting interdisciplinary appeal?

Step 4: Does the poster meet some minimum requirements for looking good?  I am not particularly concerned about how pretty a poster is, but I would like to see a certain level of competence.

Step 5: Stop dithering and make a decision already!  It is very difficult to narrow down my selection to just 25% of the posters presented.  At some point you just have to decide.

Have a look at some of the great things our students are doing – the GREAT Day program (PDF) is online.