Home » For Session Chairs

For Session Chairs

for session chairs


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, promoting participation from their colleagues and students, and managing student submissions.  Session chairs serve as a critical 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!


Developing your session


As a Session Chair, you have the opportunity to structure your session in a manner that best accommodates the students from your discipline.  Please consider employing one or more of the strategies below as you design your session.  If these formats don’t fit your needs, contact the PURE Coordinator with your creative ideas for a new session format.


In a symposium, the total time devoted to a specific paper is generally 15-30 minutes including discussion time.  For each symposium, up to five minutes should be scheduled at the beginning for an introduction and between five and ten minutes at the end for a summary by the Session Chair.

Performing Arts

Students in theatre, dance, and music may present short performances. Care will be taken to schedule performances in rooms appropriate for successful presentation quality. Also, students of history and theory in these disciplines can present papers.

Visual Arts

Visual artists present an artist’s talk, which includes images of artwork (projected slides, projected digital images, or actual work) and discuss their approach, methods and content. This type of presentation usually takes place in 15-30 minutes. Also, students of Art History can present papers.

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 several hour period 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.


A Tutorial is appropriate when there has been a rapid development in new technology, which requires an update to set the stage for one or more technical sessions on the subject.  Tutorials can also take the form of “hands on” guided demonstrations of new pedagogies or methodologies.

Panel Discussions

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


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 include 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 (link coming soon) 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 April 8th, 2016 at midnight.

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.

All submissions and revisions must be completed by May 2nd, 2016. At that point the Google spreadsheet will be closed to you, and the information collected will be used to create the AES Proceedings for 2016.

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, insuring they conform to the AES style guide (forthcoming), and 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.

Scheduling a Session for the Academic Excellence Showcase

Posters should be scheduled for one of three interdisciplinary sessions:

  1. morning session from 9:00 to 11:00 am,
  2. mid-day session from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
  3. afternoon session from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Symposia, Creative Arts, and Panel Discussions  should be scheduled during one of two time blocks: (1) morning block from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, and/or (2) afternoon block from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  In order to allow attendees the greatest flexibility in planning you should schedule presentations on 15-minute intervals, or multiples there of.  For example:

  • a 15-minute presentation would, perhaps, allow for 12 minutes of actual presentation time and 3 minutes for addressing questions
  • a 30-minute presentation might allow for 25 minutes of presentation time and 5 minutes for addressing questions
  • a 45-minute presentation might allow for 35 minutes of presentation time and 10 minutes for addressing questions
  • a 60-minute presentation might allow for 45-50 minutes of presentation time and 10-15 minutes for addressing questions

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

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.


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 attendance at the symposium.  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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Arrive to Session Room well in advance of the Session.
  • Introduce yourself to any Session Aides (if provided).  Introduce them to your Co-Chairs and speakers if possible.  Let them know if you wish them to operate any of the A/V equipment and give them anything you need handed out before the session.  This is the first session for many aides so any assistance you can give them will benefit both the aide and the success of your session.
  • 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.  If you do not, 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.
  • Room Lights. Make sure you know where the light switches are.  You may ask the Session Aide or A/V Person to dim or brighten a room during presentation.  (Note: Some rooms do not have dimmers.)
  • 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.
  • Seating. As the room starts to fill up, try to direct attendees to empty seats.
  • Be Courteous and Professional.  We should strive to make sure that their Session Aide experience is not only an opportunity for career networking but a professional experience from which they benefit from organization and leadership.
  • For questions regarding session information, please contact the Showcase Planning Committee.

To view a PDF of the powerpoint given during the 2016 Session Chair Information Meeting please click here.



Academic Excellence Showcase

(503) 838-8702 | or e-mail: howarda@wou.edu