Visiting Professor Best Practices

Professor Marcia Chatelain

By Emily Glaessner, Assistant Director, Regional Engagement

One of our biggest requests from alumni club leaders is "Can we get a professor to come give a talk?" While we cannot guarantee professor travel, we do our best to connect traveling faculty members to our regional clubs when possible. But what should you do once you receive news that a professor may be visiting your club?

1. Respond and thank the professor for offering their time.

Regardless of whether or not your club will be able to host this professor, we want to make sure that we show them appreciation for offering to speak at club events. If you think you might be able to host them, let them know that you will look at venues and dates or discuss with their board and that you will get back to them shortly.

2. Start looking for a venue right away.

Whether asking your fellow alumni if they have a space where a professor can be hosted (company conference rooms work great for these kinds of events) or you look at local restaurants, the first thing you will need is a space that can accommodate your group when the professor is in town.

3. Discuss topics with the professor.

All of our faculty members have expertise in certain areas, but it is helpful for them to know what is of interest to your club members. Ask if they have anything they would like to present on and go from there. Picking a catchy title for their talk helps grab attention. Some examples we have seen recently include:

  • "Foreign Policy Advice for the Next President"
  • "Fr. Carnes Discussion on Slavery, Memory & Reconciliation"

4. Let people know ASAP.

Having trouble finding a venue? Send a Save the Date! The most important aspect of any event is making sure that people attend the event, so let them know as soon as possible. Do not forget to tell the professor too!

5. Send a reminder email to all with any final details.

You would not want them to forget about your club's guest speaker.

6. Prepare an introduction for the professor.

Do a little research and give people some background on who is speaking and how they are connected with Georgetown. This makes speakers feel appreciated and welcome.

7. Show some appreciation after the event.

Following up with an email to thank the professor for their time ensures they have a positive experience from beginning to end. Don't forget to send your attendance list to your regional liaison as well!

Hosting professors is such a treat for our alumni club leaders. Make sure they know just how much we appreciate their time and energy so that they come back and visit with Georgetown Alumni Clubs again! If you are ever not sure about what to do, ask your regional engagement liaison so we can help make this a positive experience for all!