Guidelines for Panel Speakers, Chairs, and Respondents
at the RSA Annual Meeting
As you prepare for your session in Boston, please keep in mind these standards of good academic etiquette as well as the practices of this particular conference.
- Registration and membership. All participants must be members of RSA for the conference year (2016). Current membership allows you to register at the member rate. Registration pays for the costs
of organizing and running the meeting, and everyone must register in order to participate in any capacity, and to attend sessions.
- Contacting your panel members. You can contact members of your panel by doing a Member Search from the Membership menu of this site (sign in to the site first: members' contact information is only made available to other members).
- Commitment to attend; no third-party readers. Should illness or other emergency
leave you unable to attend the meeting, please notify both the RSA office
and your session chair. Please do not ask a session chair or other
substitute to read your paper for you. RSA conference policies do not
allow that. A third party cannot answer questions or contribute to the
discussion in your stead. If you must cancel, the presentation of your
paper is canceled as well. Scholars who fail to appear at their session
without giving notice may expect not to be included as participants in
annual meetings for several years in the future.
- Adherence to time limits. Please be mindful of the time
constraints and the fair allocation of time to all as you plan your talk
and your session. Most sessions have three 20-minute papers. Presentation
time per session should total one hour to allow for discussion. You may
expect your chair to give you notice as you approach your time limit in
presenting your paper, or to ask you to wrap up quickly if you have
exceeded it. All presenters need equal time; sessions need time for
discussion; and the room needs to be readied for the next session in a
- Advance copy of your paper for chair and/or respondent. Please send a copy of your paper
to your chair well in advance, even if there is no respondent or
commentator. Your chair needs to know about the length of your
presentation; more importantly, they need to put some questions together
to ensure a good discussion. If there is a respondent, it is doubly
important that they receive a copy in time to compose thoughtful comments.
Please do not send them a longer copy and then cut it down at the last
minute; too many respondents have labored over their remarks only to
discover as the paper is delivered that the section on which they focused
has inexplicably failed to appear in the presentation.
- Contact your presenters well in advance and give
them a date by which they should send you their papers. You may also want
to ask them for a short bio or cv so that you can introduce them. If you don't have the presenters' contact information, use the Member Search from the Membership menu of this site (sign in to RSA first).
- Should someone on your panel cancel, please
inform the RSA office.
- Assemble a few questions in advance to ask each
presenter, to start off discussion, or to balance it as it proceeds.
At the session:
- Be sure all speakers are in agreement about the
order in which they speak, how you plan to introduce them, and whether
the discussion of all papers will occur after all presentations (as is
more common), or whether you will take questions at the end of each paper
- Have a plan in place for keeping speakers to time
limits, and inform your speakers about it before the session begins. If
you must enforce it, you will want to be both professional and firm.
- Moderate the discussion and question-and-answer
After the session:
- Please report to the RSA office any problems or difficulties,
including (but not restricted to) malfunctioning equipment, overcrowded (or
cavernous) rooms, and above all the failure of a participant to appear. We
would like to know approximately how many attended your session; this
will help us assign rooms more accurately in future years.
For Respondents and Commentators:
- Your session organizer or chair should ensure that both you and the presenters are clear about when you want and need to see copies of their papers. But you
should certainly feel free to contact them all yourself if need be. Be
sure you know how much time is to be allotted to your remarks, so that you
can keep to that limit.
We look forward to seeing you in Boston!