Amber Stark

2022 SIOP Annual Conference Town Hall Recap

2022 SIOP Annual Conference Chair Whitney Botsford Morgan and Program Chair Richard Landers recently held a virtual Town Hall to provide a brief vision of the conference and a summary of the biggest changes. The hour-long event also included a question-and-answer session.

The Town Hall can be viewed in its entirety here. A summary follows:

Introduction
As always, this year’s conference goals are aligned with SIOP’s mission and the Conference Guiding Principles, which were introduced in 2020. In 2022, SIOP is excited to offer both in-person and virtual registration options. This will allow a virtual pathway for both presentation and participation to increase accessibility of the conference for people who traditionally have been unable or found it difficult to attend.

The 2022 SIOP Annual Conference will take place in Seattle. We will be in both a convention center and hotel. Most of the educational programming will take place in the Washington State Convention Center, with major social networking events taking place in the Sheraton, which is across the street. The Seattle and King County health officer just issued a public health order requiring full vaccination or a negative test to enter an indoor entertainment or recreational area. We don’t know what it will be like in April, but these requirements are becoming more common across the country, so we want you to be aware of this. We’ll continue to evaluate, monitor, and provide additional information as April approaches.

Another change to share is that we are shifting the timeframe slightly. We are going to offer a four-week conference experience, also known as “SIOP Season”. Detailed information is available on the conference webpage. The Opening Plenary will now be held on Wednesday evening (April 27) in Seattle, followed by the Welcome Reception. We’ll also be ending a bit earlier on Saturday with a Closing Lunch Reception, however, we invite you to explore the city on your own or join in one of the planned tours that afternoon.

Additional changes impact the submission process, including a simplification of roles into Speaker and Non-Speaking Contributor and clarification of submission rules. One of the biggest changes is the virtual submission option. Additional information can be found on the Call for Proposals.

Question-and-Answer
Q. What criteria will you use to decide if the in-person conference will go on as planned? By what date will you make the call?
A. We do not foresee cancelling the in-person conference. We will continue to keep health and safety considerations top of mind, monitoring and adjusting plans according to CDC recommendations, public health orders, government regulations, etc.

Q. Can we have mixed registrants (both virtual and in-person) on the same panel?
A. The Conference Charter does not allow virtual presenters in in-person sessions, but a virtual session can contain both virtual and in-person registrants.

Q. Will virtual participants use the Whova app as in previous years?
A. All registrants, including in-person, will use Whova as our online conference hub.

Q. ​I'm new to the field. How will the conference benefit me?
A. The in-person event offers many opportunities for connection, and there are specific programs and supports in place to help newcomers navigate the conference. We’ll also have some social content for virtual registrants to help re-create some of that experience. In both formats, there is an enormous amount of current, educational content.

Q. Will SIOP submission date be permanently shifted to October or should we expect it will return to September in future years?
A. We do not expect it to go back to September, but it is a possibility. The specific timing is at the discretion of each conference’s Program Chair, and this person changes each year.

Q. ​For the poster sessions, will there be set expectations on how many people will be able to join a room in-person?
A. There are currently no restrictions, but we will continue to monitor local guidelines. The in-person posters sessions will take place in the exhibit hall, which is very large.

Q. What happens if a panelist for an accepted in-person session is no longer comfortable coming to the in-person conference? Can the session be flipped to virtual?
A. The in-person session will still be on the schedule, and we expect a session to be held in-person. We recommend that you swap panelists if this happens to you. In-person sessions will only be able to flip to virtual if the entire in-person conference must be cancelled due to public health mandates from local or national government.

Q. I love the accessibility angle, will this be something we'd consider keeping in some capacity even after a return to "normal"?
A. Even before the pandemic, there was interest in a virtual option, so it will likely continue in the future. The size and scope of any virtual offering is subject to change.

Q. Will virtual sessions be running concurrently to in person sessions?
A. Yes. The program grid will show virtual sessions alongside in-person sessions. A small amount of virtual SIOP-curated content will also be released ahead of time.

Q. Do the acceptance standards vary for alternative sessions? Or are they just as likely to be accepted?
A. The standards do not vary by submission type.

Q. Can you clarify how in-person attendees will attend virtual sessions?
A. We will set aside space in the conference center for in-person attendees who are presenting virtually. In-person attendees will be able to attend virtual sessions from their hotel rooms, a hallway, etc., as is convenient for them.

Q. Do all panelists have to be current SIOP members, or can we have non-IOs (i.e., executives, HR directors, etc.) as panelists?
A. Membership is required for submitters. Anyone else will need to register for a SIOP account on the website, but this is free. Anyone non-SIOP member attending or presenting will need to pay the non-SIOP member conference registration rate.

Q. It sounds like if you have co-authors who are not going to be speakers, they can attend virtually and the session can still be in-person so long as all speakers will be in-person, right?
A. Right. The scheduling of in-person sessions is based around people in spaces. We spend a lot of time ensuring people are not scheduled to present in two places at the same time. This means non-presenting co-authors can register however they want.

Q. If we have a panel with both in-person and virtual panelists, should we submit it as virtual? SIOP will allocate physical space at the in-person conference for on-site panelists to participate virtually?
A. Yes. We think this serves the most communities possible within the constraints we have.

Q. ​Regarding the diversity of affiliation rule - are submissions with presenters from only 2 organizations typically rated lower than more than 2?
A. We’ve never analyzed this number before. It is up to peer reviewers, which can also change from year to year.

Q. How many in-person attendees are you expecting?
A. We had more than 3,000 participate in the virtual conference in 2021, so we’re looking to surpass that for our in-person attendance in Seattle.

Q. Whom can I contact if I have further questions about submitting?
A. Questions about your submission can be sent to Program Chair Richard Landers at program@siop.org. General questions about the SIOP Annual Conference can be directed to siop@siop.org or 419-353-0032.

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