Academia (Re: Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF)

Theresa Enghardt <ietf@tenghardt.net> Thu, 25 February 2021 04:00 UTC

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Subject: Academia (Re: Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF)
To: Fernando Gont <fgont@si6networks.com>, Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com>
References: <37eecb9b-f0eb-e21c-b162-b1f0339e4981@si6networks.com>
Cc: "'ietf@ietf.org'" <ietf@ietf.org>, GENDISPATCH List <gendispatch@ietf.org>
From: Theresa Enghardt <ietf@tenghardt.net>
Message-ID: <41698b83-25ff-574e-390a-65a8c3dc591a@tenghardt.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 19:59:59 -0800
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Hi Fernando, Keith,

On 2/22/21 4:07 PM, Fernando Gont wrote:
> We have submitted a new I-D, entitled "Diversity and Inclusiveness in 
> the IETF".
>
> The I-D is available at: 
> https://www.ietf.org/archive/id/draft-gont-diversity-analysis-00.txt

Thank you for this document.

One perspective that I missed in this document is academia, as I have 
participated in the IETF as an academic for a few years.

The document mentions "Universities" as an example of organizations for 
which IETF participation might not [be] attractive or feasible. I'm not 
sure I agree.

Some benefits of participating in the IETF for researchers, PhD 
students, etc, potentially to be added to Section 4 as a separate group, 
include:

- Getting feedback on your work, e.g., assumptions you may be making, 
things you may have overlooked, direction for future work
- Input for your own teaching (learning about the IETF and its processes 
has very much enhanced discussions with my students)
- Making industry connections, e.g., for joint projects
- Professional networking, career advancement

When it comes to attending IETF meetings, I think it's worth mentioning 
that they are sometimes co-located with ANRW, an academic workshop, and 
that a lot of IRTF meetings are taking place during the same week. Also, 
there are efforts in the IRTF, such as the IRTF research prize, which 
may help PhD students get an ROI for their IETF-related work, feedback, 
and the opportunity to attend an IETF meeting.

Of course, a lot of the same structural problems that the draft mentions 
still apply to academics, and not all universities are "equal" (e.g., 
big/famous ones probably often have an easier time sending people than 
smaller ones).

One specific example would be Economic Constraints, Section 9: 
Universities usually have a travel budget and they may also have rules 
on how much a hotel is allowed to cost per night. IETF hotels are 
usually, if not always, outside of that budget, and overflow hotels are, 
too. I've usually managed to find something in adequate distance, but it 
did feel a bit strange to be basically excluded from the "official" hotels.

That's just my initial thoughts, and feel free to include them in the draft.

Best,
Theresa