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January 07, 2010


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Bad food is a bad sign. Inedible food will drive me away from a workshop. Then again, I'm pretty much to the stage where I'll have a market-based solution to this (you'll like this, Kim) -- getting my own food and bringing it to workshops.

There's a positive correlation, I believe, between quality of food at a job talk and how faculty assess the talk, or so it appeared to me when I did a job talk at Alabama back in 2000:

Kim Krawiec

Based on that theory, Al, it might be worth the money to cater one's own job talk lunches. If it's a position you really want, bring on the lobster and caviar!

Erik Gerding

This likely goes without saying, but the more people who have actually read the paper before the talk, the better the exchange of ideas. If few have read the draft, workshops become more an exercise in performance and public speaking.

I like the idea of option 4 (a discussant) best too, but perhaps with instructions to that person to keep it brief - or to frame the comments as issues for the audience to discuss.

Here is another question: what makes for good conference panel formats?

Kim Krawiec

Hi Erik -- welcome back from New Orleans. I enjoyed your posts over at the Glom on the financial regulation panels. I agree with you about the importance of reading the paper, and an interesting question is how workshops can be structured to help foster that norm. My post was too long already and so I deleted that part. But I think that's another argument in favor of the commenter format -- it sends a signal about reading expectations. I know that some schools also try to limit the length of papers, so that faculty aren't over-burdened with long papers. For internal workshops, some also try to push "early stages" workshops, where the papers are, by definition, shorter, to try to reduce the workload. If readers have seen other mechanisms that work on this front, feel free to share.

On the conference question, that's much harder, I think. Maybe I'll do a conference format post soon if I have time . . .

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