2008Q3 Reports: Office

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Priscilla Rasmussen 31 May 2008


ACL Business Office Report

John Kirby, my assistant, and I have been kept quite busy with the memberships (especially February through mid-April, when most memberships are renewed) and registrations for ACL 2008.

Graeme Hirst, Kathy McCoy and I are continuing the major task of transitioning all financial records over to Graeme as he takes on the Treasurer role for the next five years. Summarizing and capturing all that has gone on over the past ten years and communicating it in an understandable, but not overwhelming, way is a challenge!

Publications: Publications orders seem to be dropping off somewhat the first half of this year over last year. It will be interesting to see if there is a large increase in orders of hardcopies of our conference proceedings once they are available post-conference or whether the “world†has truly moved away from hardcopies and we need to further reduce our hardcopy ordering for future conferences.

Membership: We had a record-breaking total of 2,123 members in 2006. For 2007, after taking out fraudulent and conference no-shows who did not pay at all, we ended the year with 2,104 total members. I am optimistic that we are “holding steady†at roughly 2,000 members now. With NAACL hosting ACL this year and not holding its own event, as well as EACL not holding a European conference this year, there is a possibility we may not “hit†2,000 in memberships by the end of 2008 but I am confident we ought to be close.

Walker Fund: Thanks to the Executive for their approval of increasing Student Travel Awards funding beyond the previously typical 1-3 Walker Fund awards (basically never exceeding 10% of the roughly $30,000 in the Walker Fund account). I received a total of 51 applications for Student Travel Awards and was able to extend the $10,000 to make meaningful awards to 15 students.

Conferences:

ACL 2008 promises to be another great success! So far, we have about 685 registrants and more come in each day. There will be six tutorials and ten workshops as satellite events before and after the conference. Plans are moving ahead with the great efforts and dedication of the entire conference committee that we’ve come to enjoy.

I had provided the Executive Board with a report of my site visit to Singapore for ACL/IJCNLP 2009. The venues will be great, especially the convention center which is very flexible to meet whatever additional needs might arise. The local team is made up of many familiar people and their enthusiasm and competence was evident. This should turn into a very successful meeting!

EACL 2009, to be held in Athens, Greece, promises to also be a wonderful meeting. The Office continues to provide advice and support as requested.

And, NAACL 2009, in Boulder, Colorado, will be an exciting meeting, with the beautiful mountains surrounding our venue. Graeme Hirst and I met with Martha Palmer and her capable local crew for a site visit and they will certainly do a fine job to welcome us.

The Office has also been heavily involved in reviewing future conference bids and offering input to the evaluation of the bids. Thanks to the many who accepted the challenge of submitting great bids, it is a difficult process to select only one each year.

Conference Sponsorship:

A Sponsorship Committee was created to consolidate efforts in obtaining sponsorships for our conferences. The Office played a role in helping to set our goals and policies, determine what we would and could offer as sponsorship benefits and to what levels, and then began reaching out for ACL 2008 and the three 2009 (ACL, EACL, and NAACL) conferences. I am very pleased to report that, for ACL 2008, we have commitments totaling $33,000 which is a very healthy amount of support, indeed! Additionally, two workshops (BioNLP and SIGdial) found their own support of their 2008 workshops, totaling $5,250. Many thanks to all sponsors who helped to make our conference and workshops successful!