IVSA Montreal Conference Survey Report
Here is a short summary of the survey we circulated among the 2017 conference participants along with some reflections. Thanks to all those who found the time to respond to the survey. We are taking this very useful feedback into account in the planning of our next conference – co-hosted by the University of Paris-Saclay and the University of Evry, in France, June 25-28, 2018.
The first aspect we would like to highlight is that for 40 of the 71 survey respondents Montreal was the first IVSA conference they attended. While this means that we triggered the curiosity of many newcomers, on the other hand this information indicates that less than half of survey participants were repeat attenders/returners. Past conferences have followed a similar pattern (that there are more new delegates than repeat attenders). How to keep attracting past presenters is a key issue we should consider in our future conversations.
Most respondents learned about the conference through our website or by word of mouth. Far fewer were aware via social media or other channels. With our new website, we hope to attract more people next year. We aim to build our social media presence to promote any website related updates. We also aim to improve our IVSA listserv communication. During our last board meeting we decided to send regular “What’s up with the IVSA?” email bulletins to IVSA members. Future bulletins will include details about the next conference so that all IVSA members are informed about the conference, and past contributors are encouraged to participate again.
We are delighted that the majority of respondents were “very satisfied” with the Montreal conference, including its venue, registration process, accommodations, food/refreshments, social events, and communication. Regarding networking opportunities, and the quality of the social events people were divided between “satisfied” and “very satisfied”. 40 respondents were satisfied with the quality of the presentations, while 28 were very satisfied.
The element of the conference that respondents seemed least satisfied with was the business meeting. 15 people were very satisfied with this meeting, most respondents were “satisfied” and 10 were dissatisfied. This should be a reminder of the importance of distributing the business agenda in advance to all participants, so that everyone is well informed and can participate more effectively at the business meeting.
Another less than satisfactory feature was the high number of parallel sessions. Regarding the high number of parallel sessions, respondents suggested that we consider including more presentations in each panel, fewer parallel sessions, and more time between sessions. This last point is important since the time from one session to the next is used by many to meet other people interested in the same topic. In other words, networking happens not only during the social events, but also during the conference itself. Indeed, the majority of survey respondents reported that the most valuable aspect of the conference was the networking opportunities available to delegates.
We will conclude this summary on a positive note – to the question, “how likely are you to recommend this conference to a colleague?” over 45 people responded “very likely” and 40 stated that they would like to attend future IVSA conferences.
The call for submissions for the 36th IVSA conference is now live, and closes on January 22nd, 2018.
We look forward to seeing you all again in June 2018, in Evry, France!