How are speakers selected?

Although speaker suggestions can be submitted at any time, an email is sent periodically throughout the year to all students, faculty, and staff to solicit suggestions for convocation speakers, pointing to an online suggestion form. About 150 suggestions are collected each year. These suggestions are reviewed by the Convocations Committee for the purpose of determining a list of possible convocation presenters for the next academic year.

In doing so, the committee keeps in mind how the convocation program adds to our collective education at Carleton College:

  • extension of the educational mission of the college;
  • learning beyond the classroom;
  • exposure to new ideas or new perspectives;
  • opportunity for the college community to consider broad issues together.

The committee also takes into consideration that convocations should:

  • address topics that are relevant to the Carleton community;
  • stimulate thought and promote dialog;
  • have broad interest for the audience;
  • cover a wide range of disciplines;
  • and include diverse perspectives.

Convocation presenters should:

  • have a particular expertise in the topic being addressed;
  • and be a good communicator.

The Convocations Committee develops a reduced list of potential speakers organized under various category headings, and ranks them as to preference. The director of college events researches these potential speakers to determine their availability and cost and investigates the speakers’ past engagements to get feedback on the quality of the speaker, effectiveness of the presentation, and response of the audience.

Using the committee’s ranked list of potential speakers, the director of college events is responsible for scheduling and arrangements for the convocations.