LINKS Workshop Proves to be a Big Success for the 10th Time

 Recently, we received further proof that "the place to go" for social network analysis is the University of Kentucky and its Gatton College of Business and Economics.

The UK-based LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis held its 10th annual workshop on the campus in Lexington. The weeklong event drew 150 participants representing more than 100 academic institutions, private organizations and governmental agencies. A dozen countries spanning five continents were represented at the workshop, which also featured a team of 30 faculty and teaching assistants, including 10 from other academic institutions.

“Everyone did a great job — one of our best workshops ever,” said Dan Brass, the J. Henning Hilliard Professor of Innovation Management in the Gatton College and director of the LINKS Center.

Brass, who also serves as chair of Gatton’s Department of Management, added, “We all benefit from everyone sharing their research ideas and challenges. A number of collaborations have resulted from the workshop.”

Public and private entities of all types leverage social network analysis research results to achieve practical and positive outcomes in specific areas such as optimizing organizational structures, diagnosing or responding to organizational issues, and as a tool to achieve organizational goals.

Steve Borgatti, Paul Chellgren Endowed Chair of Management in Gatton, organizes and directs the workshop each year. Borgatti is proud of the fact that the gathering provides something for just about everyone, newcomers and veteran practitioners alike.

“This year we offered five unique tracks, including three that required no prior experience in network analysis,” Borgatti said. “While roughly half of our participants were management scholars, the rest were drawn from a very diverse set of academic disciplines: education, public health, social work, economics, medicine, political science, international affairs, psychology, public policy and library science.”

Scott Soltis, assistant professor of management in Gatton and associate director of the LINKS workshop, shares the enthusiasm exhibited by Brass and Borgatti.

“Personally, I find the workshop very rewarding,” Soltis said. “I do one-on-one sessions and getting to see my advice directly impact a research design or helping someone to turn their data into a visualization for the first time is energizing.”

This was the initial time the LINKS workshop was held in the new Gatton College of Business and Economics building since it was officially dedicated last fall.

“What a wonderful opportunity to show off our beautiful facilities, the rest of our campus, and the city of Lexington,” Brass said.