Giving an Effective Academic Presentation

From lectures to conference presentations to job talks, you will certainly give numerous presentations throughout your academic career.  This blog post discusses what an Academic audience expects.  It covers preparation strategies, how to use presentation materials effectively, different kinds of academic presentations, and how to handle nervousness.

Giving an Effective Academic Presentation

“What Makes a Great Presentation?” From Briefcase Books’ Presentation Skills for Managers, this is a more business-oriented discussion of presentation skills, but provides some good general advice; chapter made available for free via Briefcase Books’ website.

Examples of strong poster presentations at UT Austin’s website.More on dealing with nervousness from Univeristy of Wisconsin Stout.

Leading and Participating in Classroom Discussions

Successful classroom discussions involve more than just asking questions
and letting students answer. This workshop will concentrate on techniques
for promoting constructive discussion and keeping discussions on track.

Classroom DOs

  • Listen to other students’ opinions and take notes.
  • Build on other students’ comments
  • If you agree with what is being said, say so and explain why.
  • If you disagree, say why and never attack the other personally.
  • Ask other students’ questions of clarification.
  • Connect other students’ comments to each other.
  • Talk to the instructor if you are very uncomfortable with participating.

Notes on Leading and Participating in Classroom Discussions

Some Good Conversational “Moves”


Paraphrasing, Using Sources Effectively, and Avoiding Plagiarism

Learn how to use scholarly sources in an ethical and appropriate manner.  This blog post will address understanding what plagiarism is (and how to avoid it!), paraphrasing others’ arguments correctly, and proper citation techniques.

Paraphrasing, Using Sources Effectively, and Avoiding Plagiarism

Further Resources:

Test your understanding of plagiarism with IU Bloomington’s Plagiarism Quiz

Study the Honor Code at Notre Dame

Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: Quoting, Paraphrase, and Summarizing; Paraphrase Exercises

Citation Style Handbooks:

MLA and Chicago (both Humanities)

CBE (Biology)

ACS (Chemistry)

APA (Psychology and other social sciences)

IEEE (Engineering)


Cover Letters for Academic Jobs

Producing a cover letter can be overwhelming, and the best way to get started
is by studying successful examples from your discipline and related fields.
This workshop has an emphasis on grammar, tone, and presentation of
ideas specifically for international students.

Purpose of a cover letter

  • Connect your skills and experiences to the position for which you are applying.
  • Show that you are familiar with the university (or company) and demonstrate that you are a good candidate for the position.
  • Demonstrate that you understand the conventions of formal academic communication.


  • Position for which you are applying and where you found out about this position
  • When you expect to have your Ph.D. in hand
  • Teaching: experience and philosophy
  • Research: experience and future plans
  • Enclosures
  • Tailor the content to the position.  Write a different cover letter for each institution!