Session Chairs

Session Chair Guidelines

  • Arrive a few minutes before your session begins. Introduce yourself to the speakers. Make sure you learn how to pronounce their names properly. Review procedures, including the gestures you will use to signal time (below).
  • Try to begin and end the session on time. If one session runs late, others are affected.
  • Obtain (and maintain) order. If people are talking, they will not be able to hear either you or the speaker.
  • Introduce yourself and the title of your session. If there is a concurrent session in an adjacent room, indicate both the title and place of that session in case some students are in the “wrong” room.
  • Introduce each speaker. Be brief, clear, and consistent.
    • e.g. “Our first speaker is ….., a freshman/sophomore/junior/senior at ……., majoring in ……. [and ………]. …….’s presentation is titled, “…….”
  • Unless otherwise specified, each speaker will have a presentation time of 20 minutes. Keep time and signal the speaker in an unobtrusive way when 5 minutes remain. Signal again when 3 minutes remain, then 1, and again when the 20 minutes are up.
  • If the speaker exceeds his or her allotted time, it is your responsibility to cut them off (courteously, but firmly).
  • Thank the speaker and introduce the discussant.
  • Each discussant will have 3 minutes to comment on the paper and initiate discussion.
  • If the discussant exceeds this time, it is your responsibility to cut them off (courteously, but firmly).
  • Depending on the actual length of presentation and discussant’s remarks, you will now have approximately 10-15 minutes for open discussion. Moderate but do not force the discussion. Do not allow a small handful of people to dominate the entire period.
  • When forced to choose, call on students before professors (after all, this is an undergraduate conference).
  • As tempting as it may be to allow discussion to extend beyond the allotted period, it is your responsibility to keep track of time and enforce the schedule (thereby insuring a fair environment in which each speaker has equal opportunity for presentation and discussion).

At the end of the session, thank the participants and the audience. Announce the titles and locations of the next sessions or events.

Have fun! You have the easy job.

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