Conference 2013

URMA 2013 was held May 21–24 at Binghamton University in New York. Conference accommodations were provided by the Holiday Inn Binghamton-Downtown. For more information, contact Rachel Coker, director of research advancement, at rcoker[at] or 607-777-6135.

Download the Conference agenda (PDF)

Travel arrangements

Binghamton is served by the Greater Binghamton Airport (code: BGM). The hotel is a 20-minute drive from BGM, and there are taxis and rental cars available at the airport. Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport (code: SYR) is about 90 minutes from the hotel.

Binghamton is an easy drive from many east-coast metropolitan areas:

  • 3 hours from New York City
  • 3 hours from Philadelphia
  • 5 hours from Boston
  • 5.5 hours from Washington, D.C.

Hotel reservations

Each guest must make his or her own reservation with the Holiday Inn Binghamton-Downtown. Call the hotel direct at 607-722-1212 (or dial 1-800-HOLIDAY). Identify yourself as a member of the URMA reservation group to get our special rate of $99.95 per night. The rate is available for people checking in May 20 or 21 and checking out on May 24.

Hotel reservations must be received by April 30, 2013.

Conference agenda

Download this agenda as a PDF.

Tuesday, May 21: Finger Lakes Field Trip

Depart 9:00 a.m. from Holiday Inn

10:30: Arrive at Corning Museum of Glass for guided tour, Hot Glass show and time to see the museum and/or shop.

1:00 p.m.: Depart museum with boxed lunches

1:30 p.m.: Arrive at Watkins Glen State Park Hike, eat lunch, take pictures, look at waterfall.

4:00 p.m. Depart Watkins Glen

5:30 p.m.: Return to hotel in time for dinner on your own

8:00–11:00 p.m.: Hospitality suite at Holiday Inn

Wednesday, May 22

8:30 a.m.: Welcoming remarks by Rachel Coker of Binghamton University
Location: University Downtown Center 220, across parking lot from Holiday Inn

8:45–10:00 a.m.: Steve Bradt on Digital Platforms

Steve Bradt, director of news at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a veteran PIO who has worked at Harvard, Penn, Brandeis and the University of Rochester, shares his insights on what makes a digital platform work for research news. MIT News is the most-viewed university news site in the United States.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

shane shanks

10:20–11:30 a.m.: Shane Shanks, Magazine on a Mission

What purpose does your magazine serve? How do you know if it’s successful? Too many institutions are doing it all wrong. They have unclear strategies, they don’t know what their audiences want, they don’t stay current with the times, they don’t have enough frequency, and they certainly don’t have enough flair. Reinvigorating your magazine requires tackling some weighty questions head on. Know your magazine could be something more but aren’t sure how to lead the charge? This session will walk you through the process to refocus your publication into a strategic powerhouse.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

10:00 a.m.: Coffee break

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: David Sloan Wilson, The Science to Narrative Chain

Science is necessary to solve the problems of modern existence — but it’s not sufficient, because most people and institutions rely upon narratives that provide simple guides to action. Most current narratives are only loosely connected to current science, if at all. Solving this problem requires creating a chain of material, with compelling stories linking to more in-depth treatments that link eventually to the academic literature. Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, author of Evolution for Everyone and Darwin’s Cathedral and a distinguished professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University, will describe his efforts to articulate and build a science to narrative chain for the subject of evolution in relation to human affairs.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

12:30–2:00 p.m.: Lunch with researchers

Location: University Downtown Center 120

Joining us will be:

  • David Sloan Wilson, evolutionary biologist
  • Adam Laats, education historian and expert on the teaching of evolution
  • Pamela Mischen, public administration expert with expertise in complexity theory
  • Florence Margai, geographer and expert in environmental justice
  • Shelley Dionne, organizational behavior expert from the Center for Leadership Studies
  • Matt Johnson, clinical psychologist and expert on marriage
  • Leigh Ann Wheeler, historian and author of How Sex Became a Civil Liberty
  • Vishal Gupta, business strategy expert with interest in entrepreneurship

2:00–4:30 p.m.: Field trips

  • Innovative Technologies Complex: Engineering and Science Building and Biotechnology Building, with visits to an anechoic chamber and a solar energy laboratory.
  • Main campus: stops at University Libraries Special Collections and Art Museum.
  • Main campus: stops at the Public Archaeology Facility and E.W. Heier Teaching Greenhouse.

5:00 p.m.: Reception
Reconvene at the second-floor atrium of the University Downtown Center with Binghamton hosts, including the vice president for research.

6:30 p.m.: Dinner on your own

8:00–11:00 p.m.: Hospitality suite at Holiday Inn

Thursday, May 23

8:00 a.m.: Continental breakfast
Location: University Downtown Center, second floor

8:30 a.m.: Announcements from URMA leaders/Rachel/etc.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

jen christiansen8:45–10:00 a.m.: Jen Christiansen, Illustrating Science
Jen Christiansen, art director of information graphics at Scientific American, shares her thoughts about using information graphics to enhance and engage. Graphics can often communicate scientific concepts more efficiently than words. But when does it make sense to include them in an article, and how does one go about producing them? This session will include strategies for working with research scientists and artists to develop information graphics and data visualizations for a science-savvy (but non-specialist) audience.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

10:00 a.m.: Coffee break

10:20–11:30 a.m.: Natasha Martineau and Melissa Beattie-Moss, Eventful Science
Natasha Martineau, who has established a yearly science festival as well as a monthly series of events at Imperial College London, and Melissa Beattie-Moss, who leads Research Unplugged and Research on the Road for Penn State, speak about ways to build excitement about research through events.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

11:30–12:30: Joseph McClain, Mentoring Student Writers
Joseph McClain, editor of Ideation at the College of William and Mary, has student interns just about every semester. He’ll share some lessons he has learned about how to work with student writers and how to maximize their potential, even if they come to you with virtually no relevant experience.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

12:30–2:00: Lunch, featuring a Binghamton specialty — Spiedies!
Location: University Downtown Center 120

2:00–3:00 p.m.: Kristina Woods Butler and Laura Perry, Using Videos to Promote Research
Kristina Woods Butler of Texas Tech University and Laura Perry of the UCLA School of Nursing will share some of their insights and experiences in creating videos to promote research, showcase some examples of successful projects, and then open the floor for a discussion and Q&A.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

3:00–4:00 p.m.: Shane Shanks, Communications Trends

Does your institution have the vision-and the guts-to look for smart solutions outside higher education? This session spotlights the latest trends in the outside world and award-winning work in higher ed. You’ll see inspirational ideas from all over — research magazines, admissions viewbooks, newsstand magazines, and even postcards — that you can adapt in your work.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

4:00 p.m.: Snack

jonathan weiner4:20–5:30 p.m.: Jonathan Weiner, Science and Storytelling
We all love a good story. And when the subject is science, the power of narrative can make a huge difference in reaching readers. Here are seven lessons in the art and science of storytelling — stolen from masters old and new. Stick around after the talk for a book-signing with Pulitzer-winning science writer Jonathan Weiner.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

6:30: URMAfest

Join us at the Violet Room for a cocktail party.
Location: Lost Dog Café, 222 Water Street, Binghamton, a short walk from the hotel


8:00–11:00 p.m.: Hospitality suite at Holiday Inn

Friday, May 24

8:30 a.m.: Light breakfast
Location: University Downtown Center, second floor

9:00–10:00 a.m.: The Good, The Not-So-Good and How to Tell the Difference
Headline writing is a critical skill. Headlines can turn browsers into readers, but they can also turn off would-be readers. We’ll critique headlines from research magazines from around the U.S. Then we’ll discuss ways to compose headlines that will attract readers while accurately representing the content of the stories those headlines accompany. This session will be led by Mary Haupt, a copy editor, columnist and longtime Binghamton University faculty member who was among the educators featured in the Princeton Review’s 2012 guidebook The Best 300 Professors.
Location: University Downtown Center 220

10:15–11:30 a.m.: Panel Discussion on Working with Freelancers
Diana Bean, editor of the Binghamton University Magazine, speaks about the care and feeding of freelancers. Writers Merrill Douglas and Todd McAdam, contributors to Binghamton Research, Diana’s magazine and numerous other publications (online and in print), weigh in with their thoughts about what the best editors do (and don’t do).
Location: University Downtown Center 220

11:30–12:30: URMA business meeting
Location: University Downtown Center 220

Download this agenda as a PDF.