Jenny Baker
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President’s Column: Autumn Fruition

Mo Wang

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year,
bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.

-Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden

 

Happy Autumn, SIOPers 😊

Before I start this column, I would like to congratulate everyone who has submitted or is in the process of submitting to the 2023 SIOP Annual Conference. I share your pride as you see your work come into fruition and celebrate your hard labor as it nurtures the fertile ground where the science and practice of I-O psychology root!

In this column, I would like to share updates related to two aspects of SIOP business where our recent efforts are bearing fruition as well. First, with “Go Beyond” as my presidential theme, SIOP has been making important progress in cultivating an international landscape for SIOP’s operation and expansion. The newly established Committee on SIOP Virtual Programming for the Great China Region (https://www.siop.org/Events-Education/China) has been working very hard to set up the program for its first year (academic year 2022–2023). So far, about 20 institutions in the Great China Region have signed up for this program, and we are still receiving many inquiries and interest. During the first year, the program will deliver monthly synchronous workshops via an exclusive channel for institutional members. Recorded workshops will also be available on demand. Moving forward, SIOP will aim to further include short courses and small conferences as part of the program in the coming years. I thank Daisy Chang (chair of the committee), Tingting Chen, Yanjun Guan, Yueng-Hsiang Huang, Wen-dong Li, Junqi Shi, Jie Wang, Lin Wang, Yongyue Wang, Xiang Yao, and Yue Zhu, for their tireless work on this committee. This work has also inspired SIOP to explore similar opportunities in India, currently managed by a task force led by Reeshad Dalal.

Second, in the past several months, SIOP has also made important strides in helping shape national/federal-level policies on AI-based assessment. Currently, we have two working groups that are engaging with members of the EEOC to address the topic of AI in hiring. In February, I gave a presentation on fallacies related to using the common adverse impact ratio in AI-based assessment to EEOC Commission Chair Burrows’ office. In April, EEOC Commissioner Sonderling and his senior counsel attended the annual conference and had a fruitful discussion with SIOP’s Task Force on AI-Based Personnel Assessment and Prediction, led by Christopher Nye. In June, SIOP’s Professional Practice Portfolio also organized a work group led by Tracy Kantrowitz that provided a SIOP debriefing for EEOC on the topic of AI-based assessment and UGESP. Via these continuous communications, we are making sure that SIOP’s expertise on personnel assessment and selection is recognized and advocating for policy making related to AI-based assessments. I-O psychologists ought to feature as a leading scientific force for the development and evaluation of AI-based assessment.

Now, circling back to the annual conference in Seattle, we had 4,132 conference attendees (3,053 in-person and 1,027 virtual), which represented a huge jump from our pandemic years (3,154 in 2021 and 2,143 in 2020). Big thanks go to Scott Tonidandel (Conference Portfolio Officer), Whitney Morgan (Conference Chair), and Richard Landers (Program Chair), as well as many, many others for making the conference successful.

As the Conference Portfolio and SIOP Administrative Office are working hard to prepare for the Boston conference, I would like to use the opportunity to sensitize you with some of the difficulties the conference team faces so that there is good appreciation on how hard and financially costly it is to host a great conference:

  • Streaming a single room in Seattle cost approximately $20k. If we were to stream all of the concurrent session rooms, that would cost $400k. That is why we have to limit the number of rooms for streaming service.
  • Event audiovisual services are usually quite expensive. A small screen and projector can easily cost more than $700 per day, plus labor for installation and removal. Even something as simple as a power strip with an extension cord can be priced at $60 each.
  • Every year, we are trying our best to include and accommodate as many receptions and events at the conference as possible. However, the food and beverage costs grow significantly as a result, especially given the skyrocketing inflation.
  • Other super expensive items may include Wifi, breaking down rooms (transforming them to a different set-up), and coffee breaks (e.g., a gallon of coffee can cost $100, $125, even $150, depending on the venue).

All this is to say that running the SIOP conference is no small task, and we are grateful for conference attendees’ trust in us to keep our conference financially viable. Although there is still some way to go to fully recoup our historical high of 5,500+ attendees in 2018, with the conference team’s diligent work, I am optimistic that our conference in Boston next year will be a big success!

 

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