The annual Gesa E. Kirsch CWS Graduate Symposium is a research forum where Illinois graduate students—working on topics within writing, rhetoric, literacy, discourse, media, and communication—can present work-in-progress and receive feedback from a small, interested group of peers and faculty. The symposium event is organized by CWS graduate students and typically includes a light breakfast, lunch, a keynote speech from a CWS alum, and in more recent years, workshops for graduate students. Participants come from disciplines across campus, including English, Communication, Education, and Linguistics.
The idea for this symposium was hatched in Spring 2010, when Gesa Kirsch, Professor of English at Bentley University, was a visiting professor at Illinois. Over breakfast, she and a handful of CWS graduate students talked about the need for more opportunities for students to share work-in-progress. The first symposium was held in late April 2010 and featured presentations from graduate students in English and Education as well as a keynote by CWS alumna Kathie Gossett.
University of Illinois students, staff, and faculty can check out our CWS Mediaspace page to view audio/video recordings of past Kirsch symposia events (if you don't have UIUC login credentials or can't access Mediaspace, feel free to contact us). You can also learn more about individual Gesa E. Kirsch Symposia events by clicking on the links below.
- 2010 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Kathie Gossett)
- 2011 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Alumni panel in honor of Gail Hawisher's Retirement)
- 2012 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Derek Van Ittersum)
- 2013 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Christa Olson)
- 2014 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Steve Lamos)
- 2015 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Amy Wan)
- 2016 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Kim Hensley-Owens)
- 2017 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Mary P. Sheridan)
- 2018 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Kevin Roozen)
- 2019 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynotes: Michael Burns and Gesa Kirsch)
- 2020 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
- 2021 Gesa E. Kirsch Symposium (Keynote: Eileen Lagman)