Last call for Area Chairs — A call for Diversity!

Dear readers:

[TL;DR: We need a diverse set of candidates!  Nominate someone (yourself) for area chair here!]

Many of your have stepped forth to answer our call for nominations for Area Chairs.  Thank you very much for doing so!  Our experiment at crowdsourcing area chairs is going great — we have over 40 nominations thus far.  We are both very happy with the nominations and we are getting to know some of our peers better through this initiative.

However, as I was poring over our nominee pool, I was struck by the some of the issues that I have worked on this year.  Specifically, I was privileged to serve on an ad hoc committee committee of the ACL this past year examining diversity in our organization, which gave its report to the ACL executive and at the business meeting at ACL 2016 in Berlin*.  It was clear from our investigations there that there was a sizeable gap to bridge.

Looking at our current pool, some of the ACL membership by demographics are not sufficiently represented in our nominee pool.  We could stand with better representation from all minorities (in practically every sense of the word — gender, region, occupation and seniority, among others).  Some worrying stats include the underrepresentation of women  (21%**), and Asia, Middle East, Pacific Rim nominees(11%).  Also, there is the concern of the fair representation of research areas (see the data below), so that important but smaller areas of NLP get sufficient representation in our AC nominee pool.  As such, we still need your help to nominate diverse talents, as we believe a good scientific program benefits from the organization and talents of people from diverse backgrounds.

Undoubtably, the scientific program will be successful when the conference is cooperatively organized by scholars of high scientific prowess, responsibility, energy and respect from within the community. These remain the key criteria which we will judge and recruit area chairs from the nominee pool.  We are adding diversity to these criteria too.

Here’s the link to the nomination form (just a few minutes of your time)!  The current demographic summary statistics are appended below***.  Help yourself be represented, and help others who you think deserve to be heard!

We look forward to (self-) nominations by the 15th of November (just days away).



* The ad hoc ACL report is here: .  We think
it’s worth a read!

** In case you were wondering, the percentages for self-nominating women were roughly the same as that for men ~70:30.

*** [These are rough demographics — certain metrics are self-judged by
the co-chairs]

[Textual version of the above]
Nomination Source: 68% Self Nominated, 31% Nominated by Others
Gender: 78% Male, 21% Female
Region: 56% Americas, 32% Europe, 5% Asia and Pacific Rim, 5% Africa
and Middle East
Professional Sector: 83% Academia, 18% Industry
Seniority: 26% Senior, 19% Middle Level, 59% Junior

Nominees’ Areas of Expertise (Counts, truncated at frequency 2; slight attempt made to map the free text input to categories)

machine learning 8
machine translation 7
semantics 7
information extraction 5
parsing 5
social media 4
applications 3
discourse 3
generation 3
information retrieval 3
lexical semantics 3
question answering 3
sentiment analysis 3
summarization 3
computational social science 2
dialogue 2
domain adaptation 2
evaluation 2
grounding 2
morphology 2
multilinguality 2
paraphrase 2
relation extraction 2
resources and evaluation 2
text mining 2
text summarization 2
treebanking 2