How to be a Reading Group Leader

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As a reading group leader, your role is the general oversight, coordination, and facilitation of your group, both intellectually and logistically. You should make sure to gather input from your group in determining how to proceed with the subject matter, and evenly distribute the logistical work among participants (see below).

URGE is designed to make participation straightforward and non-time-intensive, while at the same time maintaining the reading groups as mostly self-sufficient entities. If delegating properly, you should find that you are spending only slightly more time on your group on an ongoing basis than is the average participant in it. Leaders will have to spend a bit of extra time at first, though, since establishing the task assignments, choosing the papers, etc. takes some work before the group can get started.

Please read through the sections below to learn more about your responsibilities as the leader of your group.


Choosing Papers

One of your main responsibilities as a group leader is to select documents for your group to read. Some of the points in this section are kind of basic, but it's probably better to say too much than too little. General advice:

Use your own judgment and experience in your field to decide how applicable each of these recommendations is for your area. Conventions and standards in literature can vary substantially across different fields.

Be sure to adapt your paper selections to the preferences of your group when warranted. If group members want to focus a bit more than planned on a particular area, you should be comfortable finding an appropriate document for it and replacing something else that they aren't as interested in.

Guiding Discussions

Aside from selecting your group's readings, you are also responsible for facilitating discussions. Again, at the risk of being overly basic, try to:


You should delegate each of the following tasks to a different participant or group of participants. Don't just do them yourself!

If you have more than eight participants in your group, assign the extra participants to provide further help with the food-related tasks. We tried our best to keep the logistical tasks organized yet distributed. Some of these tasks can also be rotated, but it is up to you if you would like to keep track of that kind of thing.

We strongly encourage participants not to miss meetings, because so much depends on them! That said, dinner-ordering is assigned to more than one participant for a reason... If someone does need to miss a meeting and he had a task assigned to them for the meeting in question, please re-assign it to someone else and give the absent person a different task to compensate for it.

Managing Your Group's Wiki Page

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