• October 31, 2014
October 31, 2014, 8:07:49 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: 1 2 [3]
  Print  
Author Topic: No-show conference panelists  (Read 14998 times)
collegekidsmom
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,038


« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2012, 11:59:57 PM »

I just organized a big talk; three presenters (one main and two very minor) and had confirmed more than once with each person by email and by phone. There was a lot of PR. I am waiting at the door to greet the three presenters who were supposed to arrive together from a nearby city.  I see one. My heart sinks.  He says that the one missed the train and the other one decided to "come and speak via Skype if that would be OK... I was floored. The one who missed the train arrived at the last moment, and Mr. Skype could not be accommodated. He was to be the main speaker. All kinds of important people showed up for the panel that wasn't. It was truly awful to have a roomful of people and to have to deal with that.

Last week I attended a big conference in a distant city. One of the major presenters there was a no show. There were two others who decided in the end to present via video. The audio was all broken up and we could not even understand what they were saying.

My last example was a research forum that I had to plan where two groups of two presenters were to be on opposite sides of the room separated by a lavish donated spread of food. The whole idea was for the audience to attend one or the other presentation, and then switch. There was quite a crowd. One of the pairs, after having confirmed, did not show up at all, never called, and never followed up. The whole side of the room was set up for them and the whole program did not work.
I cannot imagine ever being a "no show." It would have to be a matter of life and death. It will also be a long time before I organize any more panels.
Logged
profreader
Senior member
****
Posts: 367


« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2012, 1:13:41 AM »



I just organized a big talk...
Holy guacamole. This is absolutely mind-blowing to me. What are these people thinking ... ? The people in the last instance who had confirmed but never showed ... they just ... NEVER explained? Forget writing someone's dean – I'd feel like I would have to give someone some kind of feedback that let them know how the event was really ruined because of this inconsiderate behavior. Of course that probably boils down to writing a Strongly Worded Letter which they would toss away but ... I really don't know how this can be acceptable.
Logged
johnr
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,631


« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2012, 2:32:12 AM »

We have all missed one presentation at some point due to circumstances beyond our control.

No, "we" "all" have not. Some of us regard our professional commitments very seriously. The litmus test for whether or not a behavior is acceptable is not whether you personally have done it -- even though that seems to be the standard by which you evaluate all other posters' behavior.

VP

At last, someone to cast the first stone!
Logged
untenured
On far too many committees
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,078


« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2012, 8:29:51 AM »

Initially, I wondered why such the fuss.  Now I understand that panels mean different things to different disciplines.  What collegekidsmom is a real serious panel. There's food, invitations, PR, and a crowd.  That's heavy stuff.  The no-show faculty is a gaping hole in the event.

Our panels are rarely elevated to such importance.  A few people of varying prominence organize the panel and show up.  There's no special food, just some tap water and a few glasses.  A dialogue happens between panelists and attendees, and then it ends.
Logged

Quote from: kedves link=topic=56697.msg1152543#msg1152543
You are among the Pure and Truthful, however small their Number.
My goodness, that was an exceptionally good analysis of the forum.
britsci
New member
*
Posts: 26


« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2012, 11:55:49 AM »

Last year, I was at a conference in Germany where one of the plenary speakers, from the US, had a last-minute emergency and couldn't attend.

He arranged to email his presentation to the organisers, which was displayed, and then he gave his talk over the phone, which was put on speakerphone next to the room mike.  He took questions as well.

Unconventional, but very classy I thought, especially as it was 10am in Germany and so 4am on the East Coast.
Logged
proftowanda
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,946

"Righter of wrongs, queen beyond compare."


« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2012, 12:36:04 PM »

Last year, I was at a conference in Germany where one of the plenary speakers, from the US, had a last-minute emergency and couldn't attend.

He arranged to email his presentation to the organisers, which was displayed, and then he gave his talk over the phone, which was put on speakerphone next to the room mike.  He took questions as well.

Unconventional, but very classy I thought, especially as it was 10am in Germany and so 4am on the East Coast.

That would be acceptable, in an unquestioned emergency, because he was available for questions.

I do not consider acceptable those who have someone else present but cannot take questions, or who literally mail it in -- via snailmail, via video, etc. -- and cannot take questions.  I've seen that happen, and thanks-but-no-thanks.  A conference session is for give-and-take, a form of peer review.  Go ahead and send a paper or video to be posted as a form of apology, but don't take up my time having to listen to somebody read aloud to me without sufficient understanding of what they are reading to take questions or having to watch your video at a session when the time could be spent in give-and-take with those who are there.
Logged

"Face it, girls.  I'm older, and I have more insurance."     -- Towanda!
weeks
Junior member
**
Posts: 78


« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2012, 12:45:36 PM »

There is a novelist/activist in these parts who is on the plenary bill for any number of regional literary and social-agenda conferences. I have seen him speak at two of them. I have been at three others, in my seat and waiting, when an abashed conference organizer has come into the room and said that Mr. X is sick.

Batting .400 would get you into the Baseball Hall of Fame but just makes this guy seem like a lousy bet.
Logged
fiona
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 14,072


« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2012, 3:22:27 PM »

I once had to read aloud a no-show's paper. I did my best, but I certainly didn't have the emphasis he would've put on certain points.

Also, some of it was in German, which I can barely pronounce.

I heard myself sing-songing away, knowing that there would be no discussion of the paper.

After about 10 minutes of this, I quit reading. I think I said something like, "That's the essence of the paper," and stopped.

It was a waste of time for everyone.

The Fiona
Logged

The Fiona or Them Fionæ or Fiona the Sublime

Professor of Thread Killing, Fiork University
terpsichore
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,198


« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2012, 3:58:26 PM »

Last year, I was at a conference in Germany where one of the plenary speakers, from the US, had a last-minute emergency and couldn't attend.

He arranged to email his presentation to the organisers, which was displayed, and then he gave his talk over the phone, which was put on speakerphone next to the room mike.  He took questions as well.

Unconventional, but very classy I thought, especially as it was 10am in Germany and so 4am on the East Coast.

I've seen this method be effective, at a small meeting. It helps to have compelling graphics to distract the audience. I wonder if this will become more common as travel funds shrink.

In my field, meetings often involve a mix of talks and poster presentations. If there may be some no shows, session organizers will sometimes quietly ask a few of the poster authors to be ready to give a talk in case a space opens up.  Or they will open up the empty slot to a sort of speed-dating style of talk: each poster author gets one or two minutes and one slide to introduce their poster. After the talks, people head to the posters and congratulate the presenters on their conciseness. Nobody misses the absentee speaker.

One large conference publishes the names of people who "withdraw" their presentations (including no-shows).  If someone had to pull out due to a real emergency, they won't care, but someone who withdraws on a whim faces a small amount of public shaming.
Logged
bibliothecula
Academic ronin
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 5,169

like Bunnicula, only with books


« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2012, 5:22:20 PM »

I'm the program chair for a conference this summer, and have already had three cancellations by people who had previously accepted. It's not quite as bad as no-shows, but it does mean I have to re-organize the schedule, inform a bunch of people about the changes, hope that having fewer presenters doesn't throw off the cost of the conference for attendees or the amount of grant money the host institution is getting....

One is not coming b/c he got a TT job and is moving. And apparently can't plan his move around anything, but needs the entire summer free, even though the conference is within driving distance of both his current and future cities.

One had a friend change a wedding date on her.

One has had a "change of financial circumstances" and can't afford it.

Grr.
Logged

I came. I saw. I cited.
westcoastgirl
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,380


« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2012, 6:14:53 PM »

I canceled going to a conference in London last year because I received a summer teaching gig. I told the organizer 2 months in advance. I simply could not miss a week of an 8 week intensive. And ya know, money is important and all of that. He was totally fine.

A friend of mine presented at a major conference a few weeks back. The respondent (who is really well known in our field) didn't bother showing but he/she had been seen at the conference the entire weekend.

In the past, my advisor has sent my husband overseas to give his/her paper since he/she became ill.
Logged

Quote from: cgfunmathguy
We're just cyborgs standing in the way of their dreams.
lucero
Senior member
****
Posts: 753


« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2012, 6:41:45 PM »

Initially, I wondered why such the fuss.  Now I understand that panels mean different things to different disciplines.  What collegekidsmom is a real serious panel. There's food, invitations, PR, and a crowd.  That's heavy stuff.  The no-show faculty is a gaping hole in the event.

Our panels are rarely elevated to such importance.  A few people of varying prominence organize the panel and show up.  There's no special food, just some tap water and a few glasses.  A dialogue happens between panelists and attendees, and then it ends.

The thing is you never know who is in the audience, and who TRAVELED (maybe they took a day off from work, from teaching, hired a baby sitter, etc. ) to come hear a presentation. Some of these people may be coming from nearby cities to hear it, some may be grad students looking to add something to their research, you never know. So in addition to disappointing the organizers you are disappointing the other people on the panel and the audience, who may or may not have gone to great lengths to get to that talk.
Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,210


« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2012, 6:53:49 PM »

Yes, on at least one occasion I went to great lengths to hear someone give a talk on a specific subject, and then that person didn't show up.  If I happened to be on a search committee where the name came up again, it would certainly give me pause.  Yeah, sometimes emergencies come up.  I canceled a paper when we learned my father was critically ill and had days to live.  But no-showing carries risks, and you only want to take those risks if the reasons are compelling enough.  Not because you just changed your mind.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
Pages: 1 2 [3]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.