Guidelines for Biology Seminar Hosts
Some reminders for hosts:
JUST AFTER YOUR SPEAKER IS SCHEDULED
SEMINAR TITLE: To help maintain large and cross-department audiences, it will help if you can convince your speaker to choose a title that is suitable for a broad audience and also remind him/her that the audience will be diverse, including some undergrad researchers, grad students, postdocs and faculty from across Biology.
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AND OTHER ARRANGEMENTS: Biology Department Executive Assistant Lori Shamblin will send your guest a reminder to book travel at least 5 weeks in advance of the seminar. Speakers will then book their own travel and send Lori receipts for reimbursement. Lori will book accommodations for your guest, and book the seminar , Bondurant G100.
APPROXIMATELY TWO WEEKS BEFORE SEMINAR:
SCHEDULE: To best guarantee that you get people engaged in meeting with your speaker and going to the talk, ask your speaker whom he/she would most like to meet with and also recommend some people to the speaker. Then go door-to-door to those people and to any others who you think might be interested, and fill a schedule as you go (see schedule template links at the end of this paragraph). People tend to say yes when asked in person and/or when told that the speaker was keen to meet them. 45min per visit (or 40min plus 5min to walk-and-talk to the next person) is generally about right. Alternatively, you could use doodle.com or ask Lori to help with this—although faculty will generally be more engaged in the seminar by having had a chat with you than by getting an email from Lori. And visiting each faculty member’s office is a great chance to ask them to talk up the seminar to their lab members too. Lori or you can forward the schedule to the speaker a few days in advance, and send the schedule to people who are meeting the speaker as a reminder.
Lori has made templates for all of the schedules:
MEALS: Dinner and lunch meals should be direct-billed to the department. If you have a question about restaurants, please contact Lori. Either you, or Lori at your request, can book a dinner with the speaker. If you make the reservation, let Lori know so that she will expect the invoice. Most hosts will invite grad students and postdocs from their lab and other labs to have lunch with the speaker. You might want to make this an open invitation (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com), although it can be helpful to ask a grad student or postdoc from your lab to beat the bushes. The limit for meals this year is $200 for one dinner, and $80 for one lunch with grad students. You will need to cover any costs in excess of this yourself. You are also responsible for covering the costs for alcoholic beverages, as the department is unable to reimburse you for these expenses. We ask that you run a separate tab for alcohol so that those charges will not be part of the invoice that is sent to the department. (Note: If you’re considering having a dinner for loads of people in your home and you want to give your guest a North Carolina experience, you can pick up a complete meal of BBQ, hush puppies, slaw, and pickles from The Pig for $8- $12/person, and they have vegetarian options too).
PARKING: If your guest is driving, ask Lori Shamblin to make parking arrangements at least 72 hours in advance.
SEMINAR FLYERS: Susan Whitfield will make seminar flyers and post them in some key locations in the department a few days before the talk. If you want to proofread this flyer in advance, and/or if you want to print extra flyers, you can find the flyer linked from your speaker’s title on the seminars web page. Susan also posts seminar info on the department web page and on the flat screens. Hinar and/or Trisden will make sure that the flat screens will prominently advertise the seminar for the entire day of the seminar, starting as soon as the flat screens are booted up early in the morning.
A FEW DAYS BEFORE, AND MORNING OF THE SEMINAR:
GETTING AN AUDIENCE OUT: Be sure to send out a reminder conveying your enthusiasm for the talk, to help ensure that it will be well-attended. You may wish to include a note about why the talk is of general interest and briefly frame the importance of the work for non-specialists. Based on numbers we’ve collected from attendance at past seminars, an encouraging reminder sent a few days before the talk and again quite early on the morning of the talk is likely to be the best way to ensure good attendance at seminars. Send the reminder to everyone who might be interested:
- Biology All
- Junior/Senior Undergraduates – e-mail Summer Montgomery to send announcement to listserv.
- Ecology Curriculum
- Genetics Curriculum Faculty (and firstname.lastname@example.org)
- BBSP Faculty (and email@example.com)
Hosts may also want to email specific people in other departments when talk/topic is applicable.
For special talks, faculty hosts will sometimes invite grad students and postdocs to a single journal club-style meeting about the speaker’s previous work. This can be another great way to build an enthusiastic, engaged audience for both the talk and the lunch with trainees.
THE TALK: Someone from Biology IT Support can come to the talk if you ask them, to make sure audiovisual equipment works as expected. If you have any questions in advance about the audiovisual equipment in the room, you can ask Trisden or Hinar to meet you in the room. In case they’re not available, you can try Classroom Support, or ask other faculty who have used the room for help. Faculty who teach courses in that room will also be able to help you. You can find more info about Bondurant G100 here.
REIMBURSEMENT: Lori Shamblin will provide pertinent reimbursement information and forms to the speaker at the conclusion of their trip.
AFTER THE SEMINAR:
It’s good etiquette, of course, to write to your speaker to thank her/him.