Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines

About the Visiting Lecturer Program

The Visiting Lecturer Program (VLP) provides the SIAM community with a roster of experienced and inspirational applied mathematicians and computational scientists in industry, government, and academia, who can speak on topics that are of interest to developing professional mathematicians.  Mathematical sciences students and faculty, in particular, SIAM student chapters, can invite SIAM VLPs to their campus to give a talk and to meet with students and faculty so that they can learn directly from working professionals about research, career opportunities, and general professional development.

In addition to making arrangements directly with the visitor, departments are expected to publicize the VLP lecture and related events, act as host throughout the visit, cover travel expenses, and provide feedback to SIAM. An honorarium for the speaker is not mandatory. If travel costs are especially large, a host is encouraged to coordinate with neighboring institutions to share a visitor’s expenses. SIAM Student Chapters may use their annual support money to help with expenses.  

The SIAM Education Committee, sponsor of the VLP, recognizes the need for all educated members of our increasingly technological society to be familiar with the achievements and potential of mathematics and science. We are grateful to the accomplished applied mathematicians who have volunteered, with enthusiasm, to be Visiting Lecturers. We hope you will welcome them to your campus.

Guidelines for Host Institutions

Attention to detail, by both visitor and host, is crucial to an effective visit.  

When you decide to have a Visiting Lecturer:

  • Which speaker(s) and topic(s) are preferred?
  • What else do 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, etc.)
  • Determine who will be responsible for inviting the visitor, publicity, social events, local arrangements, etc.?

Contact the Visiting Lecturer directly:

  • Discuss dates. (The lecturers are busy people, but each has agreed to make one or two VLP trips during the year.)
  • 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 handles? Be explicit about money matters.)
  • 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.

Get ready:

  • Publicize the lecture and related events well in advance of the visit. (The lecturers will be devoting a good chunk of time to each visit, and they deserve a respectable number of students and faculty in attendance. Faculty should be encouraged to attend.).
  • Plan informal get-togethers, conducive to discussion and socializing. (Include refreshments, and remember that students may find it easier to talk to the visitor after the lecture than before.)
  • Make sure the faculty is aware of the visitor’s interests and expertise, and urge them to take advantage of this resource for the department.   
  • Find out what whether the presenter will use his/her own laptop or whether it will be emailed to the host ahead of time.

During the visit:

  • Check out the room and equipment in advance of the lecture. (Will the presenter use his/her own laptop for the presentation?  Does the department or the presenter have the right kind of connector.)
  • 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.
  • If the visitor is getting reimbursed for travel, make sure that you give the speaker the appropriate forms to fill out.

Follow up:

  • Thank the visitor again by e-mail.
  • If the visitor is getting reimbursed for travel, make sure that you receive any receipts that you may need and that the appropriate forms are filled out.  
  • Send any reimbursement or honorarium as soon as possible.
  • Student chapters will be asked to report on their usage of the Visiting Lecturer Program in their annual Chapter Final Report.