Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ICWIP: Day 1 - PM

Whew! That was quite a day.

I had a meeting at 8am, and my last session ended at 9:30pm. We had all of half an hour coffee break in the morning, a 1 hr lunch, a measly 1 hr for poster session, 2 hrs for dinner. The rest of the time was filled with sessions. Yes, it was all very interesting, but also tiring.

I wished we had more time for the poster session, since the posters all looked very interesting, I had barely had time to make one pass around the room. Part of the point of this meeting is networking, and I've barely had the chance to meet all of the US delegation, much less people from other countries!

The workshop on site visits this afternoon was interesting. Successful implementations from the UK and the USA were discussed, and it seemed like a no brainer to recommend that countries try to carry out site visits modeled after the Institute of Physics (IoP, UK) and the American Physical Society (APS, USA) programs. Now, the thing that a site visit does is identify areas for improvement in gender/minority equity to the hosting department, so for that reason the results ought to remain confidential: after all, you have to get an honest assessment of the place before you can make improvements. That's distinct from an accreditation program that might be able to rank the female- (or other underrepresented minority group) friendliness of the department. Granted, I think an accreditation program would be very useful to people applying for grad schools or academic jobs, but I'm not sure that's within the scope of the workshop recommendations.

The other workshop I went to was on negotiation skills. Most of what was talked about could be covered in Women Don't Ask by Babcock and Leschever and this work on implicit bias. There was an interesting discussion, but quite frankly, a lot of us were pretty tired and low energy. I can't use jetlag as an excuse, though. Afterwards, a fellow US delegate recommended upcoming workshops hosted by the APS as perhaps a better venue to learn negotiations skills. Hopefully, posting this remind me to apply when I return to the States. :)

Time for bed now: I have another 8am meeting tomorrow.

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