My former student was on TV yesterday!
Well, not the real TV. Just the fancy flat screen monitor mounted high on a wall by the elevators in my building. The TV appeared a few months ago and originally featured reminders of upcoming talks, bake sales and other fundraisers, and the occasional social event. However, The Powers That Be recently decided to add announcements of published papers and grant awards to the programme listings: just top tier journals and grants over a million dollars to start with, but they’ve now expanded the initiative to include all papers (including my postdoc lab’s new review paper) and multi-year grants.
I think this is a great idea, especially in a large multi-department building where it’s impossible to know everyone. My awesome, friendly, super-social postdoc department already did (and I think still does) something similar: when your paper got published, or your abstract was accepted for an oral presentation at a conference, you printed a copy out (abstracts on colour-coded paper according to the date of the presentation) and gave it to one of the secretaries, who would ceremoniously staple it to the Wall of Honour. It could then be appreciated in all its glory by your respectfully jealous* colleagues, and by bored visitors waiting for someone to find the PI they’d come to see.
Other departments in our building seem to have similar Walls of Honour in place. However, my current department (not known for being particularly social) doesn’t do anything other than get its papers onto the new screen downstairs. Some of the PIs I work with provide champagne and nibbles to everyone involved when a paper gets into a top tier journal, and occasionally when they get a big grant, but those occasions are rare and there’s no formal recognition of smaller achievements. I’d be tempted to try and correlate lab sociability with public recognition of success, but the institute where I did my PhD was even more awesome, friendly, and social than my postdoc department, and they didn’t do anything special either.
Although, thinking back, maybe that was because we all knew each other so well that we always knew when someone’s paper had come out because they’d buy the first round on Friday night…
How does your lab / department / institute recognise milestones such as papers, presentations, grants and fellowships? Do you think there’s any association with how social your department is?
*depending on the journal / conference