A plea for civility during student conference presentation Q&As: Open letter


“Stop it. Be kind.” This was the directive of two anonymous graduate students in an open letter that calls for senior academics to be kinder during student conference presentation Q&A periods. The writers stated that they have increasingly witnessed situations at conferences where senior academics overwhelm student presenters by delegitimizing their work, criticizing their method, or asking “gotcha” questions. The authors theorize that this behaviour stemps from institutional generational trauma and call for senior academics to instead focus on posing more constructive questions that are aimed at helping students become better researchers and presenters, rather than attempting to catch them out. “We must do better for graduate students in conferences, so they have the desire and opportunities to become our future colleagues,” conclude the authors.