Recruitment and Publicity for On the Cutting Edge Workshops


In developing a recruitment plan for your workshop, it's useful to consider your target audience and how you can best reach them. Recruitment strategies will be different for different target audiences. For example, consider how you would have a different approach for a workshop on teaching hydrogeology, a workshop on preparing for an academic career for graduate students and post-docs, a workshop bringing a Cutting Edge topic to a regional audience, and workshop bringing a Cutting Edge topic to a national meeting.

For all Cutting Edge workshops, we encourage attendance by a diverse selection of participants. This includes

  • gender balance;
  • underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities;
  • type of institution (e.g. two-year college, private four-year primarily undergraduate institution, public four-year primarily undergraduate institution, university);
  • academic position or experience (e.g. Assistant, Associate, Full Professors; administrators...) or within a rank, as appropriate (e.g., Early Career, Preparing for Academic Career);
  • geographic distribution (from all parts of the U.S. and its protectorates, for a national workshop); and
  • disciplinary interests (across the geosciences, or across the disciplinary interests of a given topic, as appropriate).

Select a workshop title that is both descriptive and engaging. Then, set goals for the workshop and consider what will attract your intended audience. How will they benefit through participation in the workshop?

Publicity Plan

On the Cutting Edge publicity for the workshop will include the workshop pages on the Cutting Edge website (which you will develop) and other electronic publicity, primarily email announcements. If the workshop is associated with a professional meeting, the professional society will publicize the workshop according to their standard practice (e.g, meeting announcements in both print and electronic form). You might also consider submitting an announcement to an organization's newsletter if the timing would permit. It's important to do your own publicity whether or not your workshop is associated with a professional meeting.

Think carefully about the timing of email announcements. Send the first announcement out early enough so participants can take the workshop into account when making their travel plans. This may mean two announcements – an early announcement to let people know about the workshop and for the early organizers to plan accordingly and another when people are starting to make travel arrangements. It's also useful to send an announcement out a few days to a week before the workshop application deadline. Be sensitive to overwhelming people with email announcements.

Email announcement suggestions

The email message announcing the workshop should include a descriptive subject line. Items to include in the body of the email include

  • the workshop title,
  • the location/meeting,
  • the workshop date(s),
  • the application deadline,
  • names of the conveners (a list format makes it easy for readers to see who all of the conveners are), and
  • a link to the workshop index page and/or the application form.
It's particularly important for the application deadline to be obvious. For some workshops, you might consider including a few questions to pique the interest of the reader. You might also include a short description of the workshop, workshop goals, or testimonials of past participants if they are available. An introductory sentence or two followed by the announcement is often a good strategy.

Email Lists to consider

  • Any existing, relevant Cutting Edge email lists (either send directly if you are a member of the list or send to Heather Macdonald for distribution). Particularly if this is a follow-on workshop or the workshop is a repeat of an earlier workshop, consider sending to participants from the first workshop and ask them to forward to others who might be interested.
  • Geo-ed email list
  • NAGT News
  • NAGT sections
  • CUR email list
  • AWG email list
  • ESSE email list
  • Other lists that are relevant to the workshop (e.g., topical email lists or regional networks)

Other publicity

Depending on your target audience, you may also wish to publicize your workshop via other methods, such as:

  • Local and regional networks
  • Schools in the region
  • Local teaching/learning center directors
  • Department chairs
  • Individual faculty or other potential participants
  • Use your contacts: To whom do you want to send directly? To whom could you send a message to forward to others?