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Conference Committee Goals Report 2011-2012

 
 
 
June 2011
Lisa Finkelstein, Conference Chair
 
Committee Members:
 
Steve Ashworth:                        Site Selection
Adrienne Colella:                        President
Robin Cohen:                             Conference Chair-in-Training
Tori Culberson:              Volunteer Coordinator
Mark Ehrhart:                Local Arrangements
Lisa Finkelstein:             Conference Chair
Adam Hilliard:                Co-Chair, Placement
Eden King:                                 Program Chair-in-Training
Lynn McFarland:             Conference Evaluation Chair
Liberty Munson:             Workshop Chair
Dave Nershi:                             Executive Director
Matt O’Connell:              Co-Chair, Placement
Julie Olson-Buchanan      Portfolio Officer
Deborah Rupp:              Program Chair
 
 
 


SIOP Vision: To be recognized as the premier professional group committed to advancing the science and practice of the psychology of work.
SIOP Goals: SIOP will become the…
1. Visible and trusted authority on work-related psychology. This includes:
·          Heightened awareness within lay, business, scientific, and government communities of the role and value of I-O psychology in improving productivity and well-being in the workplace.
·          Greater outreach to the broader field of psychology and related disciplines and organizations (including organizations outside the United States), policy makers, the public, and the media.
 
2. Advocate and champion of I-O psychology to policy makers. This includes:
·          Increased efforts to obtain federal funding for I-O research.
·          Increased efforts to monitor and influence policy and legislation affecting human behavior at work.
·          Heightened awareness among top managers in business about the value of I-O psychology and I-O professionals.
 
3. Organization of choice of I-O professionals. This includes:
·          Increased enjoyment and satisfaction of members.
·          More members in all categories, including regular, Student, International, Affiliate, and Associate Members.
·          Higher annual retention rate.
·          Increased support for SIOP members in their efforts to study, apply, and teach the principles, findings, and methods of I-O psychology.
 
4. Model of integrated scientist–practitioner effectiveness that values research, practice, and education equally and seeks higher standards in all three areas. 
 
·          Increased collaboration and dialogue between academics and practitioners where science informs practice and practice informs science.
·          Increased collaboration and exchange of ideas with non-North American I-O professionals.
·          Decreased perception of fissure between academics and practitioners.
·          Clear and rigorous means of evaluating the quality of graduate training programs.
·          Clear and rigorous standards for practice.
 
Conference Committee Strategic Planning Goals
Conference Committee Goals:
1.    Present the world’s best conference on workplace psychology by featuring cutting edge work in science, practice, and education.
 
Contribution to SIOP Strategic Planning Goals:
 
            *Goal 3, Organization of Choice of I-O Professionals (through effects          on member satisfaction and retention). 
 
            *Goal 1 (Visible and trusted authority on work-related psychology).
 
            * Goal 4 (Model of integrated scientist-practitioner effectiveness).
 
A.    Use appropriate feedback measures (post-conference survey and on-site mechanisms) for identifying success factors and areas for improvement related to the conference experience.
 
At the June conference planning meeting (June 10, 2011), Lynn McFarland (Conference Evaluation Chair) summarized the extensive findings from the recent post-conference survey. The responses to the conference continue to be weighed heavily on the positive side, with 89 % of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they were satisfied overall with the conference. Although this is a high number, it is down from the response to the same question for the Atlanta conference (92%). By looking closely at the open-ended comments, we see that many of the negatives mentioned by the participants reflected on the cost of the conference and the hotel itself (older, out of the way, difficult to navigate). Although the cost of the San Diego hotel is also high, many of the other issues mentioned will not be a concern. However, we plan to promote the positive features of the San Diego hotel and put even more effort into signage and “wayfinding.” We will certainly get a hotel map onto the program summary and on the mobile planner if at all possible.
We were also not surprised to see that the number of respondents planning to attend the conference in San Diego was down from those answering that question post-Atlanta for the Chicago conference (86% vs. 94%). Chicago attracts great numbers of attendees due to its location, ease of travel, and many amenities. We are aware that San Diego, being a costal city, will attract lower numbers of attendees. However, we plan to do whatever we can to promote the conference to maximize attendance. 
Each of the members of the SIOP office who was actively involved in running the conference also contributed feedback in a post-conference document compiled by Dave Nershi and we are outlining specific action items for changes based on their experiences. We are taking all of these comments into account as we continue to plan activities and logistics for 2012. 
Finally, we discussed the possibility of some on-site evaluations. We discussed having brief on-site focus groups to discuss best and worst features of the presentations at the conference. We also discussed using the technology of QR codes and smart phones to create quick surveys of individual sessions. We are going to continue to think about the value added of these sorts of evaluation systems before putting anything definite in place. We do not want to manage any on-site paper surveys.
 
B.    Continue to promote attendance for the full length of the conference.
 
We would like to continue to promote the activities that occur on Saturday, most particularly the Closing Plenary with Keynote Speaker and the gala Closing Reception. Although these have been advertised in the past there still seem to be members who book flights for Saturday that seem to have forgotten that there are good reasons to stay. Although it is a long week for many folks, particularly those who come in for workshops, we want to continue to explore ways to get people to stay and enjoy all the conference has to offer. We know this will be particularly challenging for those who live on the East Coast. We do plan to promote the Keynote, the Closing reception, and any other Saturday special activities heavily in TIP, on the website, and using social networking media.
 
C.    Feature sessions that are relevant, forward looking, and cutting-edge.
 
Program Chair Deborah Rupp has many exciting plans already underway, as outlined in detail in the Program Committee Goals. In brief:
 
            * they have begun to narrow down several “hot topics” for            communities of interest. 
 
            * they have topics for four Friday Seminars chosen. 
 
* the Thursday theme track (only theme track this year) will be “Science and Practice Perspectives on Discrimination.” Conference chair-in-training Eden King is working under the guidance of President Adrienne Colella to put together an excellent day of programming. 
 
            * they are developing two Master Collaboration sessions to highlight           successful collaborations between academics and practitioners.
 
            * they are planning another IGNITE session, utilizing the  presidential theme of “Impact of I/O”.
 
 
 
As part of our Alliance for Organizational Psychology (among SIOP, EAWOP, and IAAP Division 1) we will feature a keynote address from a key member of the alliance, to be determined.
 
We are also considering other speakers to emphasize the impact of I/O, the Presidential theme. For example, we would like to invite Elizabeth Kolmstetter to discuss her work with TSA.
 
Because we are having just one theme track this year, we want to experiment with some different session types to make the conference more “cutting edge.”
 
We are working on developing Past President Eduardo Salas’ idea of a speaker series called “Insight from the Outside” where a professional outside of I/O can enlighten us on a topic that we study.
 
To respond to some concerns that the SIOP program offers more to those at the beginning of their career, we are considering holding a focus group session with participants across career stages to brainstorm new types of programming with broader appeal, or targeting groups at specific career stages.
 
We are in the process of narrowing down a short list of potential speakers for the closing plenary. We have several in mind that will bring in a perspective on what we do from outside of I/O that will be exciting, thought provoking, and stimulate new ideas in our members. Some of our ideas capitalize on the location of San Diego, perhaps including a potential leader in biotech or the military. 
 
 
D. Decrease the perception of a Science-Practice Gap.
 
We will consider new ways to highlight academic-practice collaborations in the program. 
 
Our theme track on Discrimination is particularly designed to highlight science and practice perspectives on this topic.
 
In our features to highlight the presidential theme of “Impact” we plan to emphasize impact of both science and practice. 
 
Our master collaboration sessions will focus specifically on successful academic-practitioner teams. 
 
We will think of ways to facilitate networking between academics and practitioners at the conference to form collaborative partnerships.
 
 
 
2.    Continue to develop and refine innovations to make the 2012 Conference a great member experience.
 
Contribution to SIOP Strategic Planning Goals:
 
            * Goal 3, Organization of Choice of I-O Professionals (through       effects on member satisfaction and retention). 
 
A.         Explore new uses of technology and other innovations to enhance member satisfaction with the conference.
           
Two years ago we premiered the eShow conference registration process, which was thought to be wildly successful. This cut down on member time at the registration desk, lines crowding the area, etc. Last year we continued to expand the eShow functionality and got a lot of positive feedback on the ease of the registration process. We also used an on-line registration process for the vendor booths that was well-received.
This year we rolled out the SIOP Mobile Planner. We advertised this quite a bit before and during the conference, and posted the QR codes for use with smartphones in several places at the conference. Only 15% of the survey respondents used it, but those who did largely seemed satisfied. We are going to continue to use the planner and try to add some new features to it. We will also post the code in additional locations, perhaps even on the nametag or bag or t-shirt. 
We utilized social media to a much larger extent last year. Stephanie Below updated our Facebook page and posted on twitter regularly. We want to enhance this even more. We plan to advertise our conference hash tag ahead of time, and even think about having a public Twitter board. 
Dave noted that this was the first year there didn’t seem to be a line for the Cyber Café computers, and is thinking that perhaps that is becoming obsolete. We are considering instead of the traditional Cyber Café having a Wifi Café where free wifi will be available for use. There is an area outside one of the ballrooms that is spacious and also has access to a balcony. This might be a nice gathering spot. 
 
B.         Examine San Diego location to facilitate logistics for members.
 
The conference committee met on June 10 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and toured the facilities. We were thrilled about many aspects of the hotel. First, it is quite spacious. Although we won’t have a lot of very large meeting rooms the smaller ones are bigger than what we had to deal with last year. Although we are spread out over several floors, the signage in the hotel is better, the layout is more logical and streamlined, and we will incorporate more of our own signage this year. 
One challenge is that the Placement Center will need to be located adjacent to the Exhibit Hall and not as out-of-the-way as usual. However, the space is large and the entrance to the center will be quite far from the entrance to the exhibit hall.
Many of the rooms have windows with a view of the bay, and there are several ballrooms that have a foyer with access to a balcony. 
The hotel has several locations on-site to meet for a meal or drinks, and then it is adjacent to an area called “Seaport Village” that boasts many shops and restaurants. This runs along a boardwalk area with ample space for walking/running/biking. It is only a short walk to the famed “Gaslamp Quarter” that is filled with many places to eat, drink, dance, and sing karaoke!
Although there are so many choices for restaurants in the area, our local arrangements coordinator, Mark Ehrhart, will be putting together a restaurant guide highlighting recommended restaurants in different neighborhoods with different price points.   
The airport is less than 10 minutes away by cab, which is a wonderful convenience.
Many of the costs at the hotel should be down from last year due to the fact that we are no longer dealing with Chicago union rules for our AV. We are pleased that San Diego will not charge for water! The main drawback of the hotel for our members is the cost of the sleeping room, which is up slightly even from last year. 
There are several hotels in the vicinity, including a Marriot right next door and an Embassy Suites across the street. We have not yet considered a spill-over hotel. 
 
C.       Enhance opportunities for networking and feelings of inclusiveness for all members.
 
Two years ago Membership Chair Adrienne Colella led the development of the Ambassador networking program for first time attendees. Last year it was passed on to membership chair Kim Smith-Jentch where it underwent some improvements in the matching process and was enhanced with an on-site meeting of Ambassadors and Newcomers. Many members took advantage of this program we will continue this program and look for ways to heighten its impact.
We will continue the Newcomer reception and work with membership to find ways to improve and perhaps extend the networking opportunities that stem from that event.
Mentioned above under “technology,” we will try to increase SIOP’s use of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN, perhaps in a way to increase feelings of inclusiveness and allow individuals to interact before meeting at the conference. 
For the past two years there has been a very successful Speed Mentoring event headed by Mark Poteet. We will connect with him and other SIOP subcommittees to work on continuing this and starting other possible networking activities at the conference.
We are thinking of possible events or other ways of bringing back a “small conference feel” to the big conference for those members who have been attending for many years and feel as if some of its intimacy has been lost. One idea we are working on is a “Reunion” for those who attended at least one of the first five SIOP conferences. 
As mentioned earlier, we also hope to have some sort of focus group/brainstorming session with representation of members at all career stages to see if there are more ways we can enhance the feelings of inclusiveness for all members. 
 
D.   Continue to increase the “environmental friendliness” of the conference.
We will continue to feature the ‘green’ conference bag (although we are planning to go with a tamer color this year – perhaps navy with white for the sailing theme of San Diego).
We will promote the green features of the hotel.
We will continue to reduce any unnecessary printing.
 
3.    Maintain communication and outreach with membership regarding issues such as:
·          Changes in program/scheduling.
·          Member communications about Conference planning decisions and Conference goals.
·          Conference activities and events.
·          Outreach to all members (e.g., international members, minority members).
 
Contribution to SIOP Strategic Planning Goals:
 
            * Goal 3, Organization of Choice of I-O Professionals (through       effects on member satisfaction and retention). 
 
Each year the Call for Proposals gets clarified in response to member input and questions.
We will keep members informed of conference progress planning and preparation through TIP articles, the electronic newsletter, and social media outlets.
We will coordinate with the International Affairs Committee, CEMA, and LGBT to meet their needs for their meeting, reception, and any other special events. The CEMA reception in particular seems to be down in attendance so we will be talking to the CEMA chair on ways to promote this event. 
We are also coordinating with the Masters Consortium, Doctoral Consortium, and Junior Faculty Consortium leaders to continue to improve these venues. 
Last year the THEO outreach program kicked off. This was an effort to educate local high school and college instructors on I/O psychology and was spearheaded by CEMA and E&T. Unfortunately there was a very low attendance. These two committees are going to think of ways to improve attendance and try one more time this year.
 
4. Examine possible ways to enhance the 2012’s return on expenses to SIOP.
 
Contribution to SIOP Strategic Planning Goals:
 
            * Goal 3, Organization of Choice of I-O Professionals (via the         responsible financial management of SIOP). 
 
Fortunately many of the challenges we faced with union rules in Chicago will not be in place, but we are faced with the likelihood of lower attendance in San Diego, particularly for the workshops, as it would require a day of travel on Tuesday. We had an excellent return on expenses for the Chicago conference and we will be adjusting the budget to account for lower projected attendance. We will redouble efforts to promote the workshops as well, particularly to the local community.