Guidelines for Submission of Symposium Proposals to SSAR
Purpose of Symposia
Topical symposia bring many benefits to the SSAR and Annual Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH). The symposium format allows presenters to share their latest ideas in the context of a common theme, often resulting in publications, novel approaches, and new directions in herpetology. Symposia serve to attract people from a diversity of backgrounds to JMIH and create an incentive to join SSAR. All participants at the Joint Meetings benefit by interacting with symposium speakers.
The SSAR invites symposium proposals at the Annual Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH). According to bylaws of JMIH, each society may sponsor two symposia at the JMIH. If a society participating in JMIH declines to support a symposium for a given year, then another society may possibly support one additional symposium with approval by the MMPC.
SYMPOSIUM PROPOSALS ARE DUE ON 15 MARCH of the year prior to the planned symposium (i.e., proposals submitted this year will be evaluated for the next year’s JMIH). As such, it is necessary to plan for a symposium proposal about 16 months in advance.
Contents of Symposium Proposals for SSAR
1. Symposium Title.
2. Names and affiliations of the Symposium Organizers and primary contact person (e-mail addresses and phone numbers).
3. Description of the symposium, emphasizing scientific merit and novelty.
4. List of potential speakers and titles:
a. Proposals with documented commitments from named speakers are likely to be more favorably reviewed.
b. Organizers are encouraged by the SSAR Board and will preferentially support proposals that include students, post-docs, and international presenters as speakers.
5. Description of how the symposium will broaden participation of underrepresented groups at JMIH and/or in herpetology more generally. This goal can be achieved in one or more of a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:
a. Highlighting topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
b. Striving to include speakers who represent various axes of diversity (including, but not limited to, race/ethnicity, gender, citizenship, disability, LGBTQ+, veteran status, career stage, career types).*
c. Offering supplemental activities related to DEI and/or local outreach events.
6. Description of how hosting this symposium benefits SSAR and its members
7. Anticipated outcomes (e.g., edited volume, publication, news release, or other scholarly or outreach products)
8. Length of symposium (1/2 day or 1 day).
9. Indicate in a statement if the preference for the symposium would be:
a. In person during the JMIH.
b. Virtual (e.g., Zoom or other format) during the JMIH. (no funding)
10. Budget: (in-person symposia at JMIH)
a. Funding requested from SSAR (maximum $2,000)
b. Detailed description and justification for how SSAR funds will be spent (e.g., travel, publication costs).**
c. Funds should preferentially support students, post-docs, and international presenters.
d. Identify other funding sources and in-kind support if available. Organizers are encouraged to apply for additional external funding (e.g., NSF) to support DEI activities and travel support for students from underrepresented groups.***
*Symposium organizers should not make assumptions about how speakers identify, and the proposal does not need to include numbers based on assumptions about speaker identities. However, organizers should have concrete evidence to reflect their effort recruiting a diverse set of speakers. It is not uncommon for individuals to make clear some of the ways they identify in their online presence, and it is usually not very difficult to determine someone’s career stage and type of institution. Input from colleagues, and lists such as the ones on https://diversifyeeb.com/, https://500queerscientists.com/, and https://www.womeninherpetology.com/directory can also be helpful in identifying a diverse set of people with expertise on a particular topic.
**Symposium organizers and participants will be reimbursed for allowable expenses based on receipts submitted to the SSAR treasurer that matches the budget in the proposal. Requests for changes to the budget must be submitted 10 business days before the date of the symposium.
***For advice on seeking DEI funding send inquiries to the Symposium Coordinator and your request will be forwarded to those who have had successful DEI funding so that they can provide tips and strategies for funding proposal submission.
Proposals should be submitted via email to the Coordinator:
Dr. Richard D. Durtsche
Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Kentucky University
Review Process for SSAR Symposium Proposals
1. Proposals received by the SSAR Symposium Coordinator will be sent for external review, and comments forwarded to the SSAR Board.
a. Reviewers provide their assessment of scientific merit, novelty, qualifications of speakers, and organization.
Reviewers are asked to address the following criteria:
i. Relevance of the symposium to SSAR.
ii. The breadth of the topics covered and potential speakers.
• Should a topic or someone be included that is not already listed?
• Have the organizers provided evidence of an effort to recruit a diverse set of speakers?
iii. Do the topics represent active science of good quality?
iv. Would this symposium be of general interest with the ability to attract a broad audience?
b. Proposals will be discussed by the Board at the annual board meeting of SSAR at the JMIH.
c. Decisions on symposium proposals will be made by vote of the SSAR Board and Symposium Coordinator based on all reviews received and comments made during oral deliberations.
2. Notification will be given to the primary contact person as soon as possible after the SSAR board meeting, or at least 10 months in advance of the JMIH for which the symposium is proposed.
3. If selected for support, the symposium for the JMIH will be submitted to the JMIH Meeting Management and Planning Committee (MMPC) as it’s sponsored symposia. Virtual symposia for a venue outside of the JMIH will be organized through SSAR.