AMS Annual Meeting survey, Fall 2014

Detailed results

Prior to the 2014 Annual Meeting (2 September 2014), AMS members received a request to complete a survey, "How can we increase participation in the Annual Meeting?". A summary of the survey results appears in the February 2015 AMS Newsletter; further details are provided here.

The full array of responses (classified according to topic) is available via an Excel spreadsheet.

We are grateful to those who responded; the Committee on the Annual Meeting and the Board of Directors will take the comments into careful consideration as they plan future Annual Meetings.

The survey was sent to about 2,900 members, about 750 of whom completed the survey. Results are presented in an Excel file.

1. Given the low ratio of submitted vs. accepted presentation proposals, should the AMS Annual Meeting be changed to enable more participation? (1: strongly disagree; 10: strongly agree)

Responses to question one lean toward the affirmative: it would be better if it were possible to enable more participation. About 52% responded positively, while only about 25% responded less enthusiastically.

2. (1: strongly against; 10: strongly in favor) All other factors being equal . . .

a. we should expand the length of the meeting to include Thursday morning. This would result in three hours of additional meeting time in all nine session rooms (27 hours of additional presentation time).

b. we should add concurrent sessions (currently there are nine; each additional room would net 18 hours of additional presentation time).

c. we should shorten the session length to two hours instead of three, shorten presentation time from 45 minutes to 30, and hold more sessions in the same amount of time.

Question two presented three alternatives and asked for a preference response. 2a, expanding to Thursday morning, received a balanced response with more in favor than neutral or against; 2b, adding concurrent sessions, received a similar response; 2c, adjusting session timing, was most favorably received, with 54% responding positively to the proposition.

The comments submitted were extensive and thoughtful. About 170 members wrote in response to the question “Do you have other alternatives to these three options that you would like to suggest?” The most frequent comments were as follows:

About 230 wrote in response to the question “Feel free to comment on any aspect of the subject that you wish.” The most frequent responses addressed ideas as follows:

Many comments were not easy to categorize. Some took issue with the premise behind the survey. Some pointed out that a longer meeting was more expensive, travel funding was difficult to obtain, and meeting during the semester made for disrupted courses. Some suggested moving the meeting time to a less busy time of year, e.g. August or the winter break. Some encouraged creative thinking to move beyond the traditional “read a paper verbatim” format to other styles and modes of presentation and participation. The full set of responses is available in this Excel file, and you are encouraged to read them and send additional comments. Our goal is to hold the most effective and beneficial meeting possible. The Committee on the Annual Meeting, the Program Committee, and the Board of Directors will be considering the implications and ramifications of the survey carefully over the next few months.

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