If you're thinking about proposing a workshop for the next WSCA convention, here are some suggestions
which may help your workshop be selected and increase participation.
- Workshops usually run 1½ hours to 3 hours. Space for longer ones is very difficult to find, and people generally don't sign up for an all-day workshop (unless it involves travel or an unusually compelling topic).
- AV equipment is expensive. The cost of the workshop to participants has to cover all expenses, so usually renting an overhead and screen or a monitor and screen is about the most a workshop can "afford." If you need an LCD projector and computer, and you can supply them yourself, you'll have a better chance of the workshop being offered and getting the minimum enrollment necessary to cover expenses.
- The more applied the better. That's the point of workshops. Basically, they should teach people to do something practical and useful.
- Usually, the more related to the theme of the convention the better. While that's not necessary (look at the NCA workshops), if the workshop isn't something like "How to teach (a specific course)" or "How to do (a specific research method)," it should have something to do with the theme.
- The more novel and timely, the better. If the workshop has been offered before (unless it was wildly popular), chances are it will lose out to something that covers a current topic.
- The more local, the better. A workshop that visits a local company for a tour and talk about Human Resource practices will generate greater enrollment than one that talks about teaching organizational communication.
- The more credible the presenters, the better. The more widely known, accomplished, and visible the presenters have been at previous Western conventions, the more likely the workshop will be selected and the more likely that people will enroll. This is not to say that those less well-known and first-timers shouldn't propose workshops, but they need to have appropriate credentials.
- Workshops that are built around a new book, or a new edition of a book, probably won't "make" unless the approach is truly a new one. However, if you can get the publisher to sponsor the workshop and provide copies of the book and other instructional materials to participants, chances of it being successful are increased.
Sue D. Pendell, Sara Hayden, and Myron "Ron" Lustig, former WSCA Primary Program Planners