Reviving Graduate Seminar Series Through Non-Technical Presentations


  • Sundararajan V. Madihally Oklahoma State University


Most chemical engineering programs that offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees have a common seminar series for all the graduate students. Many would agree that seminars lack student interest, leading to ineffectiveness. We questioned the possibility of adding value to the seminar series by incorporating non-technical topics that may be more important to the success of students. We incorporated topics such as technical writing, engineering ethics, patent issues, safety at the workplace, and cultural diversity into the seminar series by identifying resources within the university. To encourage public speaking and attentiveness of students during the presentation, students have to submit a critique (homework) providing feedback on the presentations or ask a question at the end of the seminar. These responses have been very positive and encouraging.

Author Biography

Sundararajan V. Madihally, Oklahoma State University

Sundararajan V. Madihally is an associate professor and the graduate program director in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University. He received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in chemical engineering. He held a research fellow position at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School/Shriners Hospital for Children. His research interests include stem cell based tissue regeneration, development of therapies for traumatic conditions, and engineering education. He served as the chair of the Chemical Engineering Division 2009 ASEE Annual Conference. He is the author of the textbook Principles of Biomedical Engineering, published by Artech House (2010).