Organised by the Department of English and Communication (ENGL), the first-ever PolyU Undergraduate Conference on Applied Linguistics and Language Studies (PolyU-CALLS) was held on Saturday, 4 March 2023. The inaugural event, held on campus, was a resounding success, with over 100 students from PolyU and other universities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area participating in the conference. PolyU-CALLS 2023 featured research presentations by undergraduate students as well as plenary speeches by ENGL faculty members Prof. Dennis Tay and Dr Anne Schluter. In keeping with the conference’s focus on showcasing the work of ENGL undergraduate students, the conference was supported throughout the day by more than a dozen undergraduate student volunteers.
PolyU-CALLS reflects ENGL’s increasing focus on undergraduate student research. "We saw a need for an event that was tailored to students' research interests, especially those who are completing their Capstone or Final Year projects. We hope that the conference will inspire Applied Linguistics and Communication students in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area to get involved in language-based research more actively and spearhead their own original research studies," said Prof. Eric Friginal, Head of ENGL at PolyU.
The breadth of topics and diversity of presenters at PolyU-CALLS 2023 brought in an audience that included faculty, postgraduate students, and undergraduate students. Attendees at the conference were able to listen to 32 different undergraduate presentations spanning subject areas that included language and social media; linguistic landscape and urban spaces; next generation workplaces; and language and European studies. Student presenters were competitively selected based on their submitted proposals or via nomination by their home departments.
The organisers of PolyU-CALLS 2023 were thrilled with the level of engagement and energy at the event. A post-conference survey was sent to all participants to help the Department know what can be done to make next year’s iteration of the conference even better. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with respondents praising the content and organisation of the conference (and the catering and gift bags provided for all conference attendees). The majority of respondents said they would recommend PolyU-CALLS to friends and classmates, with one attendee saying “Great event, hope to have another chance to join that again in the future, even though I am not a presenter. Thank you!”. Praise for the event also came from presenters, who appreciated receiving “a lot of valuable suggestions for research”.
Though all student presenters at PolyU-CALLS 2023 did an amazing job, ENGL would like to recognise those outstanding presenters whose work went above and beyond at demonstrating research excellence. After evaluating both abstract submissions and the presentations themselves, ENGL would like to announce the following PolyU-CALLS 2023 award winners:
- Best PolyU-CALLS presentation: Ashima Shukla from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Best ENGL presentation: Nok Lam Wong from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Best non-ENGL presentation: Sum Wai Li from Hong Kong Baptist University
The level of student participation at PolyU-CALLS 2023 highlights an appetite for more student-oriented conferences in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies. “It’s amazing to see the level of enthusiasm present at the PolyU-CALLS 2023. We're delighted with how the event turned out,” said Dr Max Diaz, ENGL Undergraduate Programme Leader. “It's exciting to see students getting exposure to new research topics, receiving feedback on their studies, and experiencing an authentic academic conference. We're already planning next year's conference and hope to make it bigger and better.” With its first chapter coming to a successful close, students and the Department of English and Communication are already looking forward to PolyU-CALLS 2024.