Improvement to the VGTC Award Process
To our VIS and VR Community Members:
Under the leadership of Jim Ahrens, the VGTC Executive Committee has been working to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the committee, in part through more fully specifying and documenting the roles and responsibilities of the VGTC. Towards meeting this goal, as well as to respond to an open letter critiquing the VIS Academy Awards in 2019, the VGTC decided to review and update our award policies and processes. In December 2019, the VGTC Chair, Jim Ahrens, formed a subcommittee consisting of Miriah Meyer (Chair), Arvind Satyanarayan, and Paul Rosen to address this issue. Our charge was to document current practices and propose changes to improve and modernize the Awards portfolio and processes.
Over the 5 months that followed, our subcommittee met regularly and sought out feedback from members of the community currently and formerly involved in the award process, as well as other junior and senior community members. We sought to develop policies that we believed would increase oversight and transparency of the award process and diversify the applicant pool to reflect the increasing diversity of our community. Eventually, we formulated a set of 3 proposals, which the VGTC voted on and approved.
While the complete language can be found at the end of this statement, a brief summary of highlights is:
- Establish specific duties for the VIS and VR Award Chairs that includes developing a nomination plan that seeks out and welcomes input from a broad spectrum of community members, and documenting the selection criteria for each award.
- Expand the portfolio of VGTC awards to include a new Early Career Award (up to 2 per year) and reviving of the Service Award, and supports the expansion of the Technical Achievement Award to up to 2 per year.
We believe these changes will improve the VGTC Awards mandate and increase the inclusiveness, transparency, and fairness of the nomination and selection processes. We acknowledge that there is still much room for improvement and we encourage the community to reach out to us with additional suggestions for productive and positive changes.
Miriah Meyer, Arvind Satyanarayan, and Paul Rosen
On Behalf of the VGTC
VGTC Voted and Approved Proposals
VIS and VR Award Chair Responsibilities
VOTE 1: This vote is to agree upon a new job description for the VIS and VR Awards Chairs. This is a modification of the existing Awards Chair job description.
The VIS and VR Awards Chairs are tasked with overseeing the selection process for each award in the VGTC award portfolio (as defined by VOTE 2). The Award Chair is not responsible for running the selection committees or deciding on awardees. The specific tasks include:
- Transition existing committees, and appoint new members as needed for each award
- Publish selection committee members along with awardees
- Serve as a tiebreaker when necessary
- Document the selection criteria and process for each award for publishing on the VGTC website
- Develop a nomination plan for awards that explicitly considers how to reach a broad spectrum of community members
Each committee will continue to select awards independently and have its own Chair that reports to the VGTC Awards Chair. Yearly or bi-yearly rotations would be instituted in each committee. We suggest the following initial set of existing committees:
- Technical Achievement, Career
Responsibilities 1, 4, and 5 require VGTC ExComm approval.
VGTC Award Portfolio Expansion
VOTE 2A: The following list is an expanded set of awards that the VGTC VIS and VR Award Chairs will oversee.
- Service (REVIVE)
- Technical Achievement
- Early Career (NEW)
VOTE 2B: Allow up to two awardees per year for Early Career and Technical Achievement awards.
Giving two awards in these categories would be at the discretion of the award committees, in consultation with the VIS/VR Award Chair. The expanded number of awards would support the recognition of significant achievements within our growing communities.
Allowable Award Expenses
VOTE 3: VGTC Awards budgets can only expense plaques, a meal for new awardees, and, in the case of dissertation awards, travel funds for awardees.