Hello fellow ornithologists,
I hope you're all having a wonderful and productive fall. Plans for the spring 2013 WOS meeting in Williamsburg, VA are well underway, including the process of travel award applications. A website is set up for students to access directions, an application, and information about approximate costs for the meeting (follow the link at http://www.wilsonsoc...avelawards.html). Completed travel applications are due (to me) by Nov. 15, and I hope to notify applicants about award decisions by about Dec. 15. This is well in advance of the deadline for submission of abstracts to the scientific program on Jan. 7. Therefore, students will know how much support that WOS is providing them before they need to commit to the program.
Why am I writing? I need volunteers for help with evaluations. I am forming a committee to evaluate the student travel award applications. If you’re willing to evaluate student applications, would you please email me by this Friday, Nov. 9? My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. In your reply, please also use the list at the bottom of this email to indicate which areas of research you would prefer to evaluate. Indicate primary areas (areas most related to your own research) and secondary areas (other areas you would be comfortable evaluating). I may be reaching out to you to consider reviewing other areas if I end up short of coverage.
So what is the process for evaluation? I plan to have at least two (if not three) evaluations for each student application. Once I have received and organized all the applications, I would send each of you electronic copies of the applications you are to assess, along with guidelines to do so. I intend to follow an evaluation process similar to that used for the NAOC. Applicants would be assessed on (1) overall writing and grammar, (2) clear objectives and methods, (3) adequate data presentation and appropriate analysis, (4) completeness of the study, and (5) clear conclusions and significance. I helped create these guidelines with Wilson in mind, several of you are already familiar with these guidelines, and they worked rather well to create an objective and fair process for the student applicants. Item 4 (completeness of study) was a key issue for the NAOC because of the shear number of applicants; however, at Wilson we also encourage student presentation of studies that are earlier in development. So we will take that into account in our assessment and rankings. I also have guidelines to avoid conflicts of interest – particularly, you would not be evaluating your own students or the students of collaborators working on similar research.
I know this is a very busy time of year for many of us. However, this is an important task to facilitate student involvement in ornithology and the WOS. So I appreciate your attention to this responsibility. Depending on the total number of applicants and volunteer evaluators, I anticipate that each individual evaluator will only need to spend 3-5 hours of time reading and evaluating applicants.
If you know of any other colleagues who might be able to help with this important task, please send me their name and contact information. I would like to reach out beyond the council in creating this committee. Also, be sure to encourage your colleagues to have their students apply for travel funding too.
Thank you again for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from each of you.
Mark E. Deutschlander
Associate Professor of Biology
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Please select your primary areas (those in which you conduct research) and secondary areas (other areas you would be comfortable evaluating):
diseases and parasites
ecological models and survey methods
ecotoxicology and pollution
migration and stopover biology
movements and dispersal
physiology, hormones, or immunology
song and vocalizations
systematics, taxonomy, or morphology
urban and agricultural ecology
Volunteers needed to help evaluate student travel applications
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