On a rainy Friday night of Reading Week, around 50-55 students attended the first ever “UPR Dissertation Colloquium” in the LSE LIFE Centre. It was a path-breaking event because it is the first time that LSE Government and International Relations students presented their third year dissertations in a formal academic setting, complete with academic staff as discussants for each dissertation.
We were fortunate enough to have six student presenters whose research covered a broad spectrum of areas, ranging from “German democratic institutions and their influence in emerging democracies” to “climate change as a global security threat”. There was something for everyone, and many students who attend spoke of how the UPR has inspired them to take their research further (or even begin research projects!).
We were also extremely lucky to have so many members of academic staff volunteer to be discussants for the presenters’ papers. Each presenter had his or her own discussant who evaluated the dissertation, suggesting ways in which it could be improved and how the presenter could expand his or her research in this field. The responses were mixed in their approach, but all equally valuable and provided our undergraduates with rare in-depth analysis of their work. Many attendees commented on the friendly yet academic atmosphere, with faculty and students alike enjoying the opportunity to discuss political research outside the classroom.
All-in-all, the first annual UPR colloquium exceeded our expectations. On behalf of the UPR (and I’m sure the Government Department), we would like to thank everyone involved–UPR staff, Government academics, and everyone who showed up to support us. In particular we would like to thank Professor Schonhardt-Bailey and Emma Rees for helping on the organisation to make this event possible.
We hope that the UPR colloquium was the first step in bridging the research gap between staff and students, and provided a platform for undergraduates to present their research in a public forum. We also hope this will become a model for more research engagement between students and LSE academic staff in the future.
This is an extract from a blog piece written by LSEUPR Events Manager Hannah Bailey for the Government Department Blog. Read the full blog piece here.