Oral Presentation

In order to celebrate Senior Projects, to provide students an additional formal speaking opportunity, and to fulfill college expectations, the English department requires students to present their Senior Projects orally.  Other Luther students are invited to attend these presentations; the English faculty will divide themselves into groups so that every presentation is heard by a number of faculty.


There will be a number of presentation times—for about four students each—soon after the Senior Project due date. Students will have twelve minutes to showcase their project; there will also be a few minutes for audience members to ask questions about each presentation.


  • Students are encouraged to work with their Project advisors on developing an effective presentation and to practice their presentations in advance.
  • Creative Writing Projects

    In addition to reading their own work, students should contextualize their writing with remarks drawn from the introductory self-reflective essay required of all creative projects. This section might take up to five minutes.

    Poets should select poems that reflect the range of their work.
    Prose writers should identify a self-contained portion of their work that will lend itself to oral presentation.

  • Education and Research Projects
  • Students will present a précis of their work that shows engagement with a larger academic conversation (“What is the relevant scholarship on this topic, and where does my work fit in?”).

    If they would like to read a few selections from their written project, they should choose carefully for length and interest.

  • All students will need to weigh carefully the advantages and disadvantages of different presentation styles.
  • A newly-created, carefully-honed presentation might succinctly capture the whole project, but might sometimes feel overly-scripted, especially if read at break-neck speed without eye contact with the audience.

    A spontaneous, off-the-cuff Project summary might be brilliant and engaging, or it might become bloated and meandering.

    A presentation that highlights the research process might convey a vivid personality and sense of discovery, or it might turn into a blow-by-blow narration that never quite touches the Project’s real intellectual interest.

  • The speaking body is the primary presentation medium, although some projects may benefit from printed handouts, overhead projection, or digital presentation. 
  • Dress does not need to be highly formal, but should reflect the event’s professional, celebratory character.
  • Students should engage their audience by conveying their full selves:  breathe, gesture, make eye contact, speak with the whole body (not just the throat or head).
  • The twelve-minute time limit will be strictly enforced.


All majors who have completed a Senior Project in English to present their work in this departmental event. We encourage students to also seek other off-campus or on-campus venues for presenting their projects:  the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, the Sigma Tau Delta convention, the Luther College Student Research Symposium, the required Senior Honors Project presentations.


The faculty will continue to use their traditional method for evaluating the written Project: the Project advisor and a second reader will each evaluate the work independently, and the department as a whole will finalize the grade. The oral presentation will not be formally graded, but it is possible that the Project’s final grade will reflect the faculty’s experience of hearing the presentation. (Note: Depending on the number of projects and the complexity of the logistics, it may not always be possible for a student’s advisor to hear the student’s presentation.)