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Some reminders for hosts

We hope this is helpful. Please let Bob Goldstein or Maria Servedio know if you have any suggestions about it.

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 them that the audience will be diverse, including some undergrad researchers, grad students, postdocs and faculty from across Biology. Feel free to ask your speaker for a different title if you think that may help attract an audience. Once you have the title, please send that information to Trish Brittenham and Lori Shamblin

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AND OTHER ARRANGEMENTS: For in-person visits, Biology Department Administrative Support Associate Trish Brittenham 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 Trish receipts for reimbursement. Alternatively, if a speaker wishes, Trish can coordinate with UNC’s travel agent to book flights for a speaker. Trish will book accommodations for your guest, and she will book the seminar room.

LISTINGS: If the seminar subject would suit any other groups on campus (Cytoskeleton Club, Lineberger Cancer Center, Institute for the Environment, etc), then do feel free to send the info to them and ask them to advertise the talk too on their regular seminar listings.

Please communicate to Trish the level of involvement and communication that you would prefer. For example, do you want her to cc you on all communication with the speaker, or would you prefer to just be kept up to date as things proceed? And conversely, please communicate to Trish any relevant information that you receive from the guest. Good communication results in the best experience for our guests!

About two weeks before the seminar:

SCHEDULE: Trish makes templates for all of the schedules, with 45 minute slots for meetings with people. You can ask her for the schedule template anytime. She does not put these on Google Docs because of UNC rules, but you may copy and paste the template she sends you to a Google Doc if you like. We encourage you to use most of the slots for faculty, and save the lunch and up to 1-2 additional slots for trainees (typically 2 trainees will meet with a visitor at a time, so 2-4 trainees in total can fill these 1-2 slots). To best guarantee that you get people engaged in meeting with your speaker and going to the talk, ask your speaker whom they 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 the schedule template as you go. People tend to say yes when asked in person and/or when told that the speaker was keen to meet them. Alternatively, you could do this by email from you or from Trish — although people will generally become more engaged in anticipating the seminar after having had a chat with you than after getting an email from Trish. And visiting each faculty member’s office is a great opportunity to say hi and to ask them to talk up the seminar to their lab members. Trish will 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.

MEALS: Dinner and lunch meals should be charged using your T&E card, ideally. Alternatively, Trish can arrange the charge in advance with some restaurants. Either you, or Trish at your request, can book a dinner with the speaker for you and ~2-3 faculty that you invite. For the lunch, 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 (,, although it can be helpful to ask a grad student or postdoc from your lab to beat the bushes.

PARKING: If your guest is driving, ask Trish to make parking arrangements at least 10 business days in advance.

SEMINAR FLYERS AND FLAT SCREENS: Lori Shamblin will make seminar flyers, and they will be posted in some key locations in the department about a week before the talk. Lori posts seminar info on the department web page, including a link to the pdf flyer for anyone who wants to print and post more flyers or share them by email. Lori 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.

AND ANOTHER THING: For some talks, faculty hosts or people from their lab will invite grad students and postdocs to a single, informal, journal club-style meeting about the speaker’s previous work. This can really increase the value of the speaker’s visit, since it can be a great way to build an enthusiastic, engaged audience for both the talk and the lunch with trainees.

A few days before, and the morning of the seminar

GETTING AN AUDIENCE OUT: Based on numbers we’ve collected from attendance at past seminars, we recommend sending out two emails about the talk: one on any day before the talk to stir up interest, and then a reminder early on the morning of the talk (with a subject line that includes the word “today”). When possible, please wait until after the previous week’s department seminar to start advertising widely. Your emails should convey your enthusiasm for the talk. 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. Send the reminder to everyone who might be interested:

Biology All:

Environment, Ecology and Energy Program:

Genetics Curriculum faculty:,

BBSP faculty:,

Junior and Senior undergrads: if you expect the lecture to be accessible to undergrads, send an email to Summer Montgomery and ask her to disseminate it to them by listserv.
Hosts may also want to email specific people in other departments who may be interested.

THE TALK: Talks are held in Coker 215. Info is below for that and other rooms (which may need to be used only in unusual cases).

For Coker 215 talks: Wendy Webber can meet you in the room 30 minutes before the talk starts if you ask them in advance, so that they can be sure to sort out any connection or Zoom issues.

For Toy Lounge talks in 450 Dey Hall: (map and room images and manual), if you think you may need help, contact classroom hotline ( 919-962-6702), or feel free to ask Wendy Webber if she can meet you in the room 20 minutes before the talk starts. Toy Lounge is often locked, and you can pick up the key from Dey 238 up to 30 minutes prior to the talk. Of course, please remember to return the key.

For L300 Carrington Hall talks: Someone from the Nursing School IT Team will come meet you in the room shortly before the talk. They are super helpful. If you have any questions in advance about the audiovisual equipment in the room, you can ask someone from the team. In AV emergencies, try phoning the IT Supervisor first and then others on that web page.

Sorry we don’t have many other rooms available, in general. UNC Classroom Scheduling in the Registrar’s office has control of nearly all suitable rooms, and room availability for departmental seminars changes from semester to semester.

ZOOM-BASED AND HYBRID SEMINARS: For Zoom-based seminars or hybrid seminars, Lori will set up a Zoom link for the talk, and she and either Wendy or Hinar will monitor the talk on Zoom for any problems. Lori, the speaker, and the speaker’s host will all serve as Zoom co-hosts. To avoid Zoombombing we don’t post Zoom links publicly – instead, you’ll get a Zoom link to email to everyone, and Lori puts a QR code on flyers that links to her email address for anyone else who wants the link from her. To ensure that the Zoom link can be fully set up by the seminar start time, be sure to arrive with the speaker at the seminar room 30 minutes early, and encourage your speaker to load eduroam on their computer in advance if they don’t already have it.

REIMBURSEMENT: For in-person visits, Trish will give you a reimbursement form for the speaker to fill out and a self-addressed envelope for the speaker to use to send receipts.

After the seminar

It’s good etiquette, of course, to write to your speaker to thank them.