Initial Publication Date: June 15, 2015

Plan the Workshop

These pages, informed by the Cutting Edge PIs, Webteam, and Evaluators, are designed to support workshop leaders in the process of designing, planning, and executing Cutting Edge-style workshops.


Plan your budget such that registration fees will cover all of your (workshop leader) costs, including your travel expenses. If you are offering a stipend for workshop leaders, their expenses should not have to come out of that stipend.

Choose Strong Co-Leaders

Start off strong by choosing leaders who can help you plan the workshop and provide expertise during the workshop. Learn more about common characteristics of individuals who contribute to a strong workshop leadership team.


Planning for a Cutting Edge-style workshop begins several months before the workshop will occur. Here is our suggested timeline for developing a vision for the workshop, advertising, developing your program, and more.

Design your Workshop

Planning an effective workshop is much like planning an effective learning experience for students in the classroom and lab. From choosing goals to designing workshop sessions and evaluating whether participants have benefited from the workshop, this page provides both requirements and advice for those who are designing Cutting Edge-style workshops, and is based on experience of more than ten years.

Utilize the Website and Tools

One of the hallmarks of the On the Cutting Edge program has been the close integration of workshops and websites. This integration has two parts: using the website to prepare workshop participants for the workshop and using the workshop to generate new materials for the website. Our goal in doing this is to raise the quality of discussion at the workshop while producing resources that allow the broader community to reap the benefits of the workshop.

Recruit and Publicize

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. Here are some suggestions, again based on our extensive experience.

Stay on Track with the Leader Checklist

This page is intended to help you keep track of all of the tasks associated with planning and running a Cutting Edge-style workshop, from the beginning of planning through the final report.