Thank You For Your Input!
Fall 2002 Member Surveys Help Shape GSA Meetings
Ann Cairns,GSA Director of Communications
GSA conducted two Web-based surveys on the subject
of meetings in Fall 2002. Members and nonmember meeting attendees
provided a wealth of information considered by GSA's
Annual Program Committee (APC) at its meeting in Boulder
in February 2003. GSA staff and APC would like to thank
everyone who took the time to respond with thoughts,
opinions, and questions!
The first survey, conducted in October 2002, explored possible
sites for future GSA annual meetings. A live link to the
survey was e-mailed to members and nonmembers who
attended annual meetings in 2000 and 2001, as well as to
all those preregistered for Denver 2002. The second survey,
conducted in November 2002, solicited feedback on the
Denver meeting from all attendees.
The responses received prompted the following list of
frequently asked questions as a means of sharing some
ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE MEETING IN DENVER AT FREQUENT INTERVALS?
Yes. A vast majority of respondents are happy with meeting
in Denver at regular intervals. The present rotation
pattern allows us to negotiate lower rates with the Denver
Convention Center and downtown hotels.
WHY DON'T WE MEET IN SOME DIFFERENT, LESS COSTLY CITIES?
Only a limited number of U.S. cities have convention facilities
large enough to accommodate the GSA annual meeting.
While we're presently constrained by that fact, we do monitor
and keep in touch with other cities that are expanding
their facilities. As soon as they can handle us, we're prepared
to add them into the mix. It may take a while because of the
long lead-times involved; we routinely book facilities 8-10
years in advance. In the meantime, we rotate among cities
that give us variety and keep field trips and other meeting
activities fresh. We also try to avoid meeting too often in high
WHY ARE GSA MEETING COSTS HIGHER THAN THOSE OF SOME OTHER SOCIETIES?
As someone once observed, life is a series of tradeoffs. Some
societies choose to meet every year in the same location;
through long-term contracts they are able to negotiate ex-cellent
rates with the convention center and city hotels.
Others have extensive corporate participation in their meetings.
GSA uses both of these cost management strategies to
some extent, while giving attendees the location and field
trip variety they value.
WHAT DOES THE REGISTRATION FEE COVER?
Professional-level registration at GSA's annual meeting provides
access to the technical program (approximately 3,300
oral and poster presentations), Exhibit Hall, welcoming
party (plus tickets for two free drinks), the Internet Access
Center, and the Graduate School Information Forum. At the
same time, the registration fee helps to cover many expenses.
These include: convention center rental, cancellation
insurance, permits, and on-site paramedics; registration
counters, poster boards, and signage; audiovisual equipment;
program book; GSA staff expenses; subsidy of student-level
registration; and the April and June issues of GSA Today.
Annual meeting revenue also helps support GSA as a whole
throughout the year.
ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE THE SUNDAY-THROUGH-WEDNESDAY TECHNICAL SESSION FORMAT?
Yes. Feedback from Denver 2002 was strongly positive.
Saturday stay-overs help attendees keep travel costs down.
Sunday-through-Wednesday also shortens the amount
of classroom time missed by academic professionals.
Exhibitors at Denver 2002 indicated they'd like to close a
little earlier on Wednesday, so we're going to incorporate
that change this year in Seattle.
CAN'T WE AVOID SCHEDULING CONCURRENT SESSIONS IN THE SAME FIELD OF INTEREST?
An enormous amount of effort each year goes into avoidance
of schedule conflicts. The technical program chair and
other members of the Joint Technical Program Committee
review all the sessions, consider input received from divisions,
associated societies, and others, and do their best to
put together a final program that minimizes conflicts.
Given the size of the technical program, it's impossible to
avoid them completely.