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Session Chairs

The deadline for the Session Chair Submission Form has now passed. The form is closed, and responses can no longer be edited.



Session Chair Submission Form




The success of Academic Excellence Showcase is dependent upon the many faculty and staff that serve as session chairs.  Session chairs play a critical role in developing sessions that best fit the needs of their discipline or program including promoting participation from their colleagues and students and managing student submissions.  Session chairs serve as an important link between the PURE coordinator who steers the AES planning committee and the presenting students with their sponsoring faculty or staff member.  Please consider chairing a session at this year’s showcase!

Note that all session chairs must sign up using the session chair submission form. Verbal or email confirmation is not sufficient.

Sessions at the Academic Excellence Showcase are reserved for student work, presented by students. However, certain other events such as award ceremonies or guest speakers may still qualify for inclusion in the printed AES program. To qualify such events must take place on the day of the showcase, be free and open to the public, and celebrate student achievement. The submission form for these other events is here.







Types of SEssions



Presentations may follow different formats, such a longer, more formal symposium based on an academic paper. The total time devoted to a specific paper is generally 15 or 30 minutes including discussion time.

Another presentation format is an artist’s talk, in which visual artists share images of artwork (projected slides, projected digital images, or actual work) and discuss their approach, methods and content. Note that students of Art History can also present papers (in a symposium-style presentation).


Students in theatre, dance, and music may present short performances. Care will be taken to schedule performances in rooms appropriate for successful presentation quality.  Note that students of history and theory in performing arts can also present papers, symposium-style (which falls under the Presentation category).

Poster Sessions

Poster Sessions are an alternative, interactive method of presenting papers.  Presenters post their papers and any other pertinent data on a bulletin board. Attendees may then discuss the paper with the speaker and gain additional input from other attendees.  Poster sessions are held in a single large room for a period of two hours where attendees can casually visit posters of interest and discuss their content with poster presenters.  Contact the WOU print shop (8-8440, printshop@wou.edu) for information about printing and production of posters.

Panel Discussions

Panels are useful for communicating views and experiences by a group of presenters who have worked on the same project or topic. One variation is to follow the presentation of papers with a panel discussion. The authors of the papers as well as other experts may participate in the panel.


As a Session Chair, you have the opportunity to structure your session in a manner that best accommodates the students from your discipline. If these formats don't fit your needs, contact the PURE Coordinator with your creative ideas for a new session format. A hands-on workshop to demonstrate a new pedagogy or methodology would be good example of an alternative format.




Once you have decided on the type of session you want to chair, you will need to announce your session to fellow colleagues and students in your discipline.  You might consider developing a “Call for Presentations” and disseminating it to colleagues in your discipline via email and by including it in appropriate Department or Division meetings and announcements.  You will also need to complete and submit the appropriate forms to the PURE Coordinator.


Forms and Deadlines


As the Session Chair, you will need to complete and submit the AES Session Planning & Scheduling Form  online to notify the Showcase committee of your intentions. Please note that you must be logged into your WOU Portal to access this link. The AES Session Planning & Scheduling Form must be completed by midnight Monday week two of spring term. Note that all session chairs must fill out this form; verbal or email confirmation of your intent to participate is not enough.

Following approval of your session idea, you will be issued (via email) a link to an online Proposal to Present form to share with your students to collect their showcase submissions. You will also be given access to the Google spreadsheet that collects these submissions, so that you can:

  • accept or reject student submissions
  • modify submissions as needed
  • assign order and times to accepted presentations and performances within your allotted session schedule

Please do not alter the spreadsheet format, and note that you must be logged in to your school google account to edit.

All submissions and revisions to presentation information must be completed by the Friday of week five, spring term. At that point the Google spreadsheet will be closed to you, and the information collected will be used to create the AES Proceedings Program.

As the session chair, you have the responsibility of accepting or rejecting presentations for your session in a timely manner.  Maintain regular communication with your student authors (or the faculty or staff members sponsoring students for your session) to monitor progress, remind them of deadlines, and provide them with guidelines or instructions specific to your session.

You, the session chair, are responsible for managing the Proposal to Present submissions for your session including assigning times to each approved presentation or performance within your session’s allotted schedule.  The dates listed on this page are hard deadlines. We recommend setting internal deadlines for your students and colleagues that provide buffer time for you as the session chair to complete all tasks prior to the AES deadlines.

Should I complete an IRB application?

The purpose of Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight of research is to assure the protection of both the research participants and the researcher. If your student’s work involves human participants, please check with the IRB to determine whether you are exempt from IRB approval, or must obtain it for your students’ research and presentations. For more information about the WOU IRB process, please visit the website at http://www.wou.edu/irb.


Scheduling and Managing your session

Scheduling a Session for the Academic Excellence Showcase

The length of individual presentations should be scheduled in 15 minute increments with lengths such 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes in order to conform with the overall Showcase schedule and allow attendees to switch seamlessly between different sessions. In some cases, shorter works such as a series of short films may be combined to form one of these 15 minute blocks.

Poster sessions are arranged into 2 hour interdisciplinary blocks in which presenters will be expected to stand beside their posters and discuss their work with attendees.

Regardless of the format you employ for your session, feel free to schedule breaks if they are appropriate and/or necessary.

Managing your session

On the day of showcase session chairs play an important role in maintaining a professional atmosphere and keeping showcase running smoothly and on schedule.  Please consider the following tips and recommendations:

  • One week prior to the meeting, communicate with each presenter to reconfirm session arrangements, schedules and plans regarding their participation at the showcase.  Instruct them to arrive at the session room 30 minutes prior to the start of the session to receive last-minute instructions.
  • On the day of showcase before your session begins, arrive to session room well in advance of the session and check that your speakers have all arrived and that you have all necessary A/V equipment.
  • There may be a session aide in your meeting room.  The aide will be available to with the distribution attendance verification tickets, and to help with other duties, such as dimming the lights for LCD computer projector presentations.  In the event that a session aide is not available during your session, you will need to handle these duties. Note that many aides will be assisting with the Showcase for the first time.
  • During your session, please keep your speakers on schedule.  If a scheduled presenter has been canceled or the presenter is a “no show,” fill the extra time with discussion or a break.  Do not advance subsequent presentations ahead of the schedule printed in the Showcase Program.
  • Check the A/V equipment and microphones.  Make sure you know how to operate the audiovisual equipment that is being used in the session and that everything is in working order ahead of time.  If you do not know how to use the equipment, you may ask a Session Aide to contact the A/V Coordinator and they will send someone to the room to show you.  If you or your speakers are using videotape, make sure the equipment is operating properly.  Test the microphones if one is provided.
  • Session Attendance.  The Showcase planning committee has adopted an attendance verification system so that faculty members can document individual student attendance. This strategy involves the distribution of “tickets” following each presentation.  Session Aides can be used to facilitate the orderly dissemination of tickets.
  • For questions regarding session information, please contact the Showcase Planning Committee.

To view a PDF of the powerpoint given during the 2017 Session Chair Information Meetings please click here: AES Session Chair Information Presentation 2017.





Academic Excellence Showcase

(503) 838-9500 | or e-mail: howarda@wou.edu