Guidelines for Hosting a Visiting Lecturer
Attention to detail, by both visitor and host, is crucial to an effective visit. These guidelines will help you plan and prepare.
When You Decide to Host a Visiting Lecturer
- Which speaker(s) and topic(s) are preferred?
- What else do you expect from the visit? (Do you want a discussion as well as a lecture? With whom?)
- What dates and times are possible? (Avoid conflicts with final exams, major all-school events, vacations, and faculty meetings.)
- Who will be responsible for inviting the visitor, publicity, social events, local arrangements, etc.?
- Discuss dates. (The lecturers are busy people, but each has agreed to make one or two VLP trips during the year. Can your visit be coordinated with another institution?)
- Discuss the topic and possible prerequisites. (Tell the speaker what you can about the audience and their background. For example, are they juniors and seniors who have taken statistics?)
- Discuss what else, beyond the lecture, is planned for the visit. (Coffee hour in the common room, dinner with faculty and/or students, etc.)
- Mention the special interests or expectations of the department (curriculum? jobs outlook?) and ask about the visitor's requests or suggestions. (Take advantage of the visitor's experience and expertise.)
- Discuss tentative travel plans, including local transportation and accommodations. (How will expenses be handled? Be explicit about money matters. Rememberthe host institution is responsible for travel expenses.)
- Ask to be sent a title, abstract, and prerequisites for the talk. (What else? Would you like references or additional biographical information?)
- Ask what facilities or equipment the speaker will need.
- Have someone check out the room and equipment in advance of the lecture. (Is the room really available? Does the blackboard need erasing?)
- Provide introductions to students, faculty, and people from outside your department who show up. (You're the host.)
- When you introduce the speaker at the talk, include some background information, along with the title of the lecture. (The speaker may suggest something to say that would lead into the talk.)
- Afterwards, thank the speaker, of course, and call for questions. (You should have a question in mind, in case the rest of the audience is too shy to ask.)
- Offer the visitor free time, but make a host available if requested.)
- Help the visitor be prepared for social as well as technical events.
- Thank the visitor again by letter or e-mail.
- Give careful attention to the prompt reimbursement of the lecturer's travel expenses.
- Send a brief report to the SIAM office. (Use the Post-Visit Fill-in Form, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your input is critical to the continuing improvement of this program.).