Traditionally, the IfA colloquia have been held in the late afternoon, with faculty, postdoc, and grad students optionally taking the speaker to dinner. The grad students have traditionally had a take-out lunch (pizza or sandwiches) with the speaker as well.There are a number of drawbacks of this arrangement:
We, the IfA colloquium committee, decided to explore alternate arrangements to see if we can revitalize the colloquium attendance and the interactions with the speaker.
In the new concept, the colloquium talk starts at 11:45, ending around 12:45. After the talk, the faculty, postdocs, and students will have the option to join the speaker in a sit-down lunch at a nearby restaurant at 1:00pm. The grad students will have a mid-afternoon (~3:30pm) coffee/tea with the speaker, replacing the grad student lunch.
We are optimistic that the new arrangement will allow greater engagement from the faculty and more strongly motivated conversations with grad students.
We brought our proposal to the IfA faculty who voted in favor of the proposal. We will try this new schedule for this semester (2016B) as an experiment. At the end of the semester, we will assess the experiment and decide if we should continue.