2009 Annual Meeting Wrap-up Reports

Program Committee Final Report

Program Chair Report

There were 2,676 total attendees registered for the 2009 ESA AM in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The scientific program at the 2009 ESA AM featured 1,855 scientific presentations (1,234 oral papers and 621 posters).  These totals include the virtual posters (discussed later) and those presentations that were withdrawn just prior to the meeting.  Some new presentation ideas and rules were applied to this meeting.  There were 3 special plenary sessions, an international virtual poster session, and a YouTube contest.  We expanded the number options for individual participants by implementing the “Rule of Three” for determining the number of presentations given at the meeting.  We feel all of these were successful to varying degrees.

There were 64 total “invited” symposia (69 in 2008).  We had 8 program symposia with 93 presentations; 21 section symposia with 195 presentations; and 35 member symposia with 275 presentations.  Program enhancement funds (PEF) were distributed as follows:  23 program symposia recipients received $10,681; 26 section symposia recipients received $13,240; and 7 member symposia recipients received $5,100.  There were 77 total “contributed” sessions (66 in 2008).  Each individual committee report below will provide more detail with regard to their particular sessions.

We recorded and report here the section percentages of presentations across all categories to give people an idea of the topics being presented at the AMs.  Section IPMIS ranged from 12-22% of the presentations across all categories (posters, TMPs, Student posters and TMPs).  Section PIE ranged from 43-50% of the presentations across those categories.  Section SysEB ranged from 19-29% of the presentations.  Section MUVE ranged from 7-12% of the presentations.

We had three special plenary sessions.  We believe those sessions went very well.  However, because those sessions were held from 11:15am to 12:30pm, adjustments had to be made in the times allowed for symposia and contributed sessions.  Some of the sessions had to begin at 7:00am.  Many concerns were received around these early start times. 

Our recommendations for improvements on the changes to the 2009 meeting: 

Symposia Start Times and Special Plenary Sessions:  We recommend the next program committee co-chairs consider moving these session start times back to 8:00am.  We do see value in the special plenary sessions, but it might be worth reducing to 1 or 2 and planning the sessions accordingly to avoid early and/or late session meeting times.

International Virtual Electronic Posters:  International Virtual Electronic Poster Presentations was a concept that Dr. Grayson Brown initiated.  A good trial number of posters were observed.  There were some challenges in the process including software challenges, advertising challenges etc.  Grayson made the following suggestions for 2010:  1) Bigger marketing push:  January – June 2010; 2)  Software tweaks to handle on-site display of the increased number of virtual posters:  July – August; 3)  Scheduling the posters, including them in the program, coordinating the authors during the summer program committee meeting; and 4)  On-site management of the virtual posters at the 2010 AM in San Diego.

YouTube Contest:  The YouTube contest went very well.  It is recommended to keep this going as is.  The categories were:  1) Discovery (research-based); 2) Instruction (teaching-based); 3)  Outreach (extension-based), and 4) Open (anything goes).

“Rule of Three” – Expansion of number of presentations:  We also instilled the following “Rule of Three” as a way to provide some guidelines and help people do multiple presentations at the meeting.  The only sub-rule was that you could not present more than one “invited talk”.  If a presenter is invited to two or more “invited” symposia, this becomes very difficult to schedule.  We had some individuals not follow these rules, but we did not catch early enough to prevent them from presenting.  It was challenging to enforce this rule because the Confex system does not capture all the name changes and the time involved with cross-referencing the entire program can be limiting.   That said, we believe this rule allows our scientists more opportunities to present their research and if it can be managed and enforced, an attempt should be made to continue.  This decision will be left to the new president and program co-chairs.

“Rule of Three”

Invited Talk (Symposium)

1

1

 

 

 

Submitted Papers

1

 

1

2

 

Submitted Posters

1

2

2

1

3


Suggestions for the New Program Committee:

Confex Training Webinar:  For the 2010 program committee, we recommend sometime in April or May holding a training webinar for the entire program committee on Confex.  A review of Confex will ensure everyone can be more prepared for the summer meeting and improve the likelihood of competing our responsibilities at the summer meeting or shortly thereafter.  This would also provide everyone the opportunity to review timelines and any updates the program co-chairs or current president may want to provide the committee.

Communication Protocol:  We recommend that the new program committee develop a protocol to keep each activity committee updated on any significant changes that might occur after the initial program rollout.   If a major change occurs in the program late, a communication would go out to all people in charge of different activities.  We received a few comments on missing communications to people that were in charge of different functions.  They would have changed those times if they had known about changes that had occurred after the initial program rollout.  This note should come directly from the program chairs.

Continuous Communication:  We also recommend continuous communication once a month from the program co-chairs to update the committee as well as keep timelines and any changes top of mind.  It does not hurt to over communicate during the year.

Poster Sessions as part of a Symposium:  We had a symposium linked to a poster session in 2009.  A recommendation was provided by the Poster Co-Chairs with regard to accommodating this particular scenario and we agree with their recommendation.  Please see their comments below.

Timing of Program Publishing (online/in print):  Another area of concern is with editing and publishing the program.  This past fall, early versions of the program was published on the internet before editing of the final program was complete.  This created much confusion among those looking to plan their meeting and when to attend.  We had to make several changes as travel plans were made based on the early publishing of the program.  We highly recommend waiting to publish the ESA AM program on the internet until the final program is complete and ready to print. 

Need for LATC chairs:  There has been discussion around the need for LATC at future ESA AMs.  If eliminated, it would be recommended that there be one- or two- focal points for the Presentation Review Room.  If LATC is to continue with Moderator Training and uploading talks, ESA will need to provide for this or contract through Tri-Societies to provide personnel.  The LATC chairs for 2009 recommend keeping this activity as part of ESA, as there is some merit to understanding the science during presentation uploads, etc.

Program Committee Facility Walk-Through:  We recommended a walk-through of the facilities for the program committee in 2010 and beyond.  The summer Program Committee meeting will be held 14-15 July 2010 in San Diego to enable a walk-through of the facilities where the ESA meeting will be held in December.

Program Layout:  There were several changes made to the 2009 Program layout that we felt were beneficial and wanted to commend the editors and ESA for those changes.

While there are many suggestions for improvements and things to consider changing, we felt the meeting was very successful and want to thank the program committee and all of those involved.  We enjoyed serving as Program Co-Chairs and it was a pleasure to work with all of you.

Submitted by Clint and Carol Pilcher, 2009 Program Co-Chairs
 

Poster Chair Report

There were 532 posters accepted for presentation at the 2009 ESA Annual Meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana. On Monday, 148 (150 in 2008) student competition posters were displayed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 463 (382 in 2008) regular posters and 30 invited IPMIS posters were displayed.

Symposia that include poster displays

This year we had one symposium that sought to have invited posters included with the symposium. Although to the best of our knowledge this situation was coordinated to the satisfaction of both the Program Co-Chairs and the symposium organizers, the situation did result in considerable confusion concerning who was taking care of organizational matters. As we are now organized to use CONFEX to enter program items, symposia and display presentations are completely separate operations as the poster co-chairs do not have password permission to work with symposium posters. This results in considerable confusion particularly to submitters of poster displays. In fact if the symposium also has a reception there would be three separate submissions – oral presentations, poster presentations, and functions. Currently two of these submissions are made by the organizer (oral presentations and functions), though many organizers do not realize this.

a) While the symposia organizers are currently required to submit trough CONFEX their oral presentations, they do NOT submit the poster presentations.

b) Those submitting poster presentations do not have a specific choice in CONFEX for a symposium. Their only choice is for a section with perhaps a key word choice. This could be cumbersome as symposia are invited but the posters are not.

c) The poster chair(s) currently do not know if a particular submission is meant to go into a symposium, or is just a regular submission unless there is an overt notation in the comments. Even an overt comment may be confusing in the same way that multiple common names of insects are confusing.

SUGGESTION: The symposium organizers should be responsible for the entry of all oral, and poster presentations, through the addition of a specific page in CONFEX for the poster presentations or a combination of the two. This will NOT solve the problem of the physical location of the posters, but perhaps that could be dealt with in the function application.

2) Need for Poster chair(s)?

Posters presentations are currently submitted into COMFEX in section based groups. The poster chairs simply organize the submitted posters into sessions, grouping them as they see appropriate by subject and day. It would appear that the sections would be much better served by having a member(s) of a particular section divide these presentations into appropriate subsets and spread the over the available time. Individuals from within a section are more likely to develop subsets understandable to one’s own section members, than a nonmember of that section.

SUGGESTION: Allow the Section leadership to replace the poster chairs with a member(s) from the section. This would be a good introduction to the program committee process for a newly elected section officer, who may eventually be in charge of the sections oral presentations.

3) Questions concerning late posters.

There was some miscommunication concerning the availability of space for the occasional late poster.  The poster co-chairs were under the impression that the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) might consider late poster requests based on space availability and inclusion in the program addendum. If unused poster display space is not going to be used, and added posters will not be listed in the daily updates, that needs to be clarified at the summer Program Committee meeting.   We would recommend that consideration might be given to special cases e.g. foreign members that might need to have their poster listed in the updates in order to receive travel permission/support and late breaking topics.

Submitted by Doug Johnson and Ric Bessin, 2009 Poster Session Co-Chairs
 

Student Competition for the President’s Prize Report

SUGGESTION:  It was suggested to change student presentation categories for registrations in Confex to the top of the list so students in the competitions do not register by mistake for regular presentations.  Everyone registering a presentation might be asked “Do you want your presentation to be in the student competition or not?”  An “Undergraduate” presentation category should be added for competition by undergraduate students.

Following are data on the numbers of students, judges, and moderators in the 2009 student competitions for the President’s Prize:

 

Papers

Sessions

Registered

Presented

Cancelled

Judges

Moderators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPMIS

4

45

41

4

12

8

P-IE

12

132

118

14

36

12

SEB

7

83

75

8

21

14

SVPHS

3

37

36

1

9

6

TOTAL

26

297

270

27

78

40


Posters

Sessions

Registered

Presented

Cancelled

Judges

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPMIS

2

26

24

2

6

P-IE

7

75

67

8

21

SEB

3

39

35

4

9

SVPHS

1

16

8

8

3

TOTAL

13

156

134

22

39

 Submitted by Drs. Megha Parajulee and Bonnie Pendleton, 2009 ESA Student Competition Co-Chairs
 

Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity (SysEB) Section Report

 Comments and suggestions by the membership (2009 Annual Meeting):

• Our membership was not in favor of scheduling presentations at 7am to make room for more plenary sessions. Many mentioned that with the exception of Mark Moffett, the other plenary sessions were poorly attended.  

• It was pointed out the printed program contained many misspellings and other mistakes. They recommended the program be proof-read by multiple parties.  

• Many members commented on how frustrating they found the room changes. I believe this was mainly in reference to the plenary sessions. Room changes apparently occurred after the programs were printed and members felt that they should have been e-mailed this information.  

• Many members commented on how much they like the meeting this year, but that due to the high cost of both membership and registration fees they were considering leaving the society. Many members feel that the society is getting too large and too expensive…  

Submitted by Marc Branham and Anthony Cognato, 2009 SysEB President and Vice President 
 

Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology (MUVE) Section Report

Recommendations and issues to address for the 2010 Program Committee

  • On-site summer planning meeting is essential and the section VP should continue to be present at this meeting.

    • The dates for this meeting should be set VERY early to allow for the committee members to be present. 

    • The meeting should also occur prior to mid-August as many members carry teaching responsibilities.

    • Include a walk-through of the facility before sessions are added to the board.

    • Explain the system of adding functions (section symposia, member symposia, 10-min papers, etc) and add these functions one grouping at a time.  Review the additions prior to proceeding to the next grouping to ensure that rooms are appropriate.

  • If possible, allow Section Presidents/VP access to memberships of submitted presentations, including symposia, 10-min papers and posters through the Con-Fex system. 

    • This will allow easier access to lists of people that are reasonably expected to attend the meeting and likely to serve as volunteers.

  • Provide a calendar or list of dates for upcoming reports and duties expected for Section Presidents to ensure that responsibilities are met on time.

  • Allow access through Con-Fex, even if it is read only, of submitted symposia to Section President/VP as they are submitted (perhaps e-mail notification).

    • This is especially needed to solicit Section symposia.

    • Allows for a smoother review of symposia and perhaps earlier contact with submitters in our sections with regard to problems with their symposia submissions.

    • If Section officers are to organize the student competitions (papers and posters), they should have access to this well before the meeting.  Doing so on-site is difficult.

    • If the paper/poster sessions to be arranged can be exported to Excel, the arrangements would be considerably easier.

  • Although we go to great lengths to explain the differences in the symposia, many/most people do not understand the differences in types of symposia.

  • Volunteers:

    • Remain in contact with volunteers after their initial agreement. 

    • At the 1-month before the meeting reminder many volunteers notified us that they could not meet their responsibilities.

    • Develop a complete list of back-ups.

    • Engage young volunteers (post-docs, etc.) to serve

    • Obtain on-site contact information (cell phone/e-mail) and bring that with you to the meeting.

  • Student competition:

    • Please include multiple student judging training sessions, including one the morning of the sessions.  This will be easier if no 7:00 AM session are scheduled.  Many people do not arrive until later on Sunday and missed the training sessions.

    • Student competition chairs should have direct contact with the volunteers, rather than asking the Section Presidents to send forms and instructions.  However, Section Presidents/VP’s should be copied on the e-mails so they are also informed.

    • Answering questions used to be a part of the student evaluation form and was eliminated this year.  It is important that students take questions (judges should carry responsibility of asking if no one in the audience does).  Moderators often have students in the session and should therefore be excluded, if this is the case.

  • Start times:  Many people disliked the 7:00 AM start times.

  • The section business meeting was very well attended.  The room was of adequate size, however, several rows of chairs should have been removed to allow for the refreshments.  Perhaps this could have been avoided with a walk-through.

  • Students should be required to be a member of the Section that they are competing in.  If they wish to join a second section, that would satisfy their membership.

  • The program book and website had numerous errors.  These were noticed by numerous section members and a review of the proofreading system employed for this year’s meeting should be considered.

Submitted by Phil Kaufman and Mike Merchant, 2009 MUVE President and Vice President
 

Plant-Insect Ecosystem (PIE) Section Report

Recommendations, Learnings, Observations:

  • Important for Section to start recruiting Volunteers early

  • Recruit more volunteers than typically needed and put extras on Alternate Reserve list with cell phone number

    • 19 P-IE volunteers were on this list in 2009; did not have to ask any to fill-in after meeting started

  • Confirm/remind volunteers of their assignment with multiple emails

  • Remind all Section Members to update their ESA Profile and Contact info in Member Directory to avoid bad email addresses and match volunteers with areas of interest/expertise

  • Important for Section Program Committee Members to have access to Confex paper submissions as soon as possible before summer meeting to create appropriate session names and assign papers to same, balancing numbers as much as possible, prior to the summer meeting

  • Student competition co-chairs should declare the requirements and expectations of all judges as soon as possible, so the Section recruiter is able to include those in his/her recruiting effort and avoid extra broadcast emails

  • Explain the meeting room selection process very clearly prior to the start of the Summer meeting when there is a mass, free-for-all for Sections to secure the best date/time for their symposia & TMPs

  • Do not allow students to compete in Section(s) in which they are not members

  • Ad hoc feedback from Student Competition TMP Moderators was that 1 Moderator was enough to run the session.

  • For ALL Future Summer Program Planning Meetings, the Program Chairs need to provide time for a Walk-Through of the convention site, to minimize any surprises, regarding the room size, etc., for Section Networking meetings, as well as symposia.  We did not do this at Indy, and had a few surprises.

Submitted by Paul W. Borth and Bill Hutchison, 2009 PIE Vice-President and President
 

Local Arrangements and Technology Committee (LATC) Report

Overall Summary/Recommendations. The primary function of the LATC during the meeting was to provide moderator training and oversight of the presentation preview room.  We received very good feedback (often unsolicited) on the training sessions, which helps moderators understand “best practices” on time management and how to use the software for their paper sessions.  We highly recommend that the moderator training sessions continue for the annual ESA meeting, even if the LATC is disbanded. 

The Confex team in the Presentation Preview Room (PPR) were highly customer focused and able to quickly resolve any issues in the preview room or session rooms.    Most of the technical problems in the presentation preview room were experienced by Mac users who found images missing or unviewable in their uploaded presentations.  By uploading/previewing in advance, these MAC users had their problems successfully resolved by the Confex team.  This message needs to be reinforced with MAC users, let the “MAC buyer beware” if they choose to upload at the last minute. 

We also thank the student volunteers who provide valuable assistance in the preview presentation room.  Nearly all the volunteers that signed up for the PPR arrived on time for their shift and did so with a good attitude.  The student volunteers in the PPR were also asked to serve as special “ushers” on Sunday (to divert cheerleader traffic away from ESA meeting rooms) and did so without complaint. 

We were also pleased to have arranged a special tour of the Dow AgroSciences (DAS) research facility for our ESA student membership.  This tour was “sold out” with a waiting list, as over 130 students toured the DAS research facility (and learned about career opportunities).  It is obvious that our student membership are highly interested and greatly benefit in these science-based, career oriented tours.       

Most of the feedback from moderators in the evaluation forms were highly complimentary of the software system used for the paper sessions.  When issues did arise, it was usually caused by a late minute upload in the session from a MAC user.  There was also several moderators who wished ESA would again supply laser pointers, which perhaps shouldn’t be an issue if presentations are no longer being recorded.  ESA has a huge box of laser pointers that were not distributed in the rooms.  Also, some of the timers no longer work and there were not enough timers available on Tuesday for every room.  ESA needs to purchase more timers for the next meeting.  

One other common complaint was the early start times (7am -7:30 am) for many of the morning paper sessions.  Attendance was clearly at the lowest point at the beginning of these early sessions but would increase in size later in the morning. 

There was also confusion during the day of the student paper competitions.  Judges came into the PPR looking for guidance and evaluation forms, and the LATC was not prepared to assist them in the beginning (eventually copies of forms were made available in the PPR).  Next year, copies of the student competition forms should be made available in the PPR in case judges did not get them in advance.

Submitted by Ed King and Mike Culy, 2009 LATC Co-Chairs