Monday, June 2, 2014

Can I take my class to a big meeting?

Something that probably doesn't happen at large R01's (weigh in!). My letter:

Dear Dean, Dept Head, anyone else who needs to see this;
[Adv Course] Labs; Nontraditional [Adv Course] will not have a traditional weekly lab this year due to space constraints, but some amount of flipping will allow us to conduct about 1/2 to 2/3 of our labs during the lecture period. In addition, with permission and funding, we will go to the [Big Meeting Close By (BMCB)] this year.

One day's international scientific meeting is worth a million labs... (of the smokin'-hot-new-science variety). Going to the entire meeting would be equivalent to an entire grad-level course (3 hours *14 weeks).  It's [When and How Long]. I don't know if all week is appropriate for our students, but I'm trying to give a sense of the massive learning potential there.

[BMCB] Funding
In the past I have taken my research lab students (7) using "course fees" to pay for their registration costs. What funding options are available to me for taking [Adv Course] undergrad and grad students? The registration fees are cheap for this sort of thing, but they need to become members of  the [Science Org.] first, which is ridiculously cheap (and looks good on their resume).

[Links about fees and membership]

There are also guest registrations (for one day), but I'm not quite sure that our students would count as "guests". This is intended for folks like [Philosopher of Science] (who has joined previously in his role as a philosopher).
[BMCB] Logistics
Those costs are for a week of meetings. There are only guest (one day) and full registrations. I will attend the entire meeting, but I haven't decided how many days to offer for the students. My research students gladly went for all the days and crashed on friends' couches. As expected, some of the students became pretty saturated after a few days. It would be different as "requirement" for a course.
Financially, for four undergrads, it's totally do-able. For 2 grad students, probably OK, but for 9 grad students, it will need to be discussed.
In practical matters (how long? how much? logistics?), the same applies.

I'd still love to get them there somehow, for some amount of time. It's a rare and great opportunity for them. I argue that it is fundamentally different from other undergrad-driven data meetings. The field of [My field] is changing SO FAST right now with the advent of new tools, [Special Programs], etc. that even our brand new text is out-of-date. Sitting in [Adv. Course] will teach them about the last 20 years of the field, going to the meeting will teach them about the NEXT ten years, the years they will participate in.


PUI Prof.


  1. It seems like you could just require the registrations as a part of taking the class, like you might require bluebooks or a text.

  2. She has replied that there already is a line item for taking undergrads to meetings... they will be probably be taking care of their lodging. Win-win.