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   The Easy, Academic life

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: 06 Mar 2000 20:37:22 -0500

"Frank Boumphrey" <bckman@ix.netcom.com> writes:

> > If you're relying on self-selected people who can afford their own
> > plane tickets and hotel rooms, it's no great surprise you get a
> > lot of marketeers pitching products
> This is all very true.
> In academic conferences the people speaking are academics, and one
> of the perks of being an academic is that the University usually
> picks up the Tag.

Nice try, guys, but I survived 14 years of academia from undergraduate
to asst. prof. to Writing Centre Director , and that's not the way I
remember it, especially not from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's.

When I was a graduate student, I received a couple of token grants
(<US$300) to help me speak at the most prestigious conferences, and as
an assistant professor in the English department at a
bottom-of-the-first-rung-but-still-first-rung Canadian university, I
had airfare and registration (but not accommodation or meals) paid for
exactly one conference each year.

For anything else, I would have had to get my hands on an SSHRC
(federal) or similar grant and burn off some of the money, or else
just pay out of pocket, as I ended up doing (at least until I had my
own budget as a director).  Grad students often worked the book tables
to have some of their expenses paid, but I couldn't stomach that.

Of course, things are probably different in the sciences, and
well-endowed U.S. universities have more money to throw around
everywhere, but when I was interviewing for English departments at
some of the big US schools, things didn't seem that much better.

At professional tech conferences, by contrast, almost anyone with a
reasonable-sized employer or customer has their expenses paid even if
they're not speaking (I was amazed when I went out into the private
sector), and all speakers have the registration fee waived and
sometimes get free lunches, at least at GCA conferences -- at academic
conferences, even speakers have to pay for lunch *and* registration,
as I was rudely reminded at WWW8 last year.

Worthy attendees who do not have corporate backing often arrange to
give workshops or tutorials, for which they receive money *in addition
to* having their expenses paid.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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