Chairs play a major role in facilitating each session, introducing the session topic, the presenters, and the titles of their individual papers. A few words about each presenter—year or class rank, university affiliation, and academic interests—can also make each session friendlier and more relaxed. While the faculty moderator will be assigned in advance for the session, a quick-witted chair might also need to locate a faculty member willing to serve for an absent moderator. Chairs promote the congenial atmosphere necessary for collaboration and discussion. They model the best kind of session participation, often even asking questions during the moderator-led Q & A and demonstrating their careful attention to the subjects of the papers


  • Arrive at your session at least five minutes prior to the beginning of the session.
  • Before formally starting the session, introduce yourself to the presenters and check to see if all of them have arrived; check the pronunciation of each presenter’s name.
  • Remind presenters that they have no more than 15 minutes and that the moderator will keep track of the time.
  • Encourage presenters to stand while they present so all the members of the audience may see and hear them.
  • If a presenter has a handout, assist them by distributing it as their presentation begins.
  • Begin the session on time. Timing is tight, so assist the moderator in keeping track of the time.
  • Ask the audience to hold all questions until all presenters have finished.
  • Ask everyone to turn off all notification sounds and vibrations on their cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Sit in the front row. Immediately before each presenter begins reading, stand up and off to one side as you introduce that presenter by name and college/university or alumni affiliation, include any additional details you collected, and give the title of the work being presented. Follow the order of presenters as listed in the program.
  • Jot down thoughtful comments and questions as the presenters read and be willing to participate in the discussion of the works with the moderator, presenters, and audience, but yield the floor to session attendees.
  • If a faculty moderator does not arrive, be ready to ask a faculty member in the audience to moderate, or be ready to take on the additional duties of the moderator.  When you get a break, please inform the staff at the registration desk about the missing moderator.

A Reminder to All Attendees

Help your colleagues to remember: do not enter or exit a room while a presenter is at the podium; wait until the applause between presenters for your cue to leave or enter.