Duties and Responsibilities for Presiders at the 26th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Oregon State University

Presiders for symposia, general papers and poster sessions are essential to ensuring that each presentation in their session starts on time and ends on time according to the printed schedule in the BCCE program book. All presiders receive a summary of their duties and responsibilities, which is also posted on the 26th BCCE website. The 26th BCCE conference organizers and members of the ACS DivCHED Biennial Conference Committee all very much appreciate the fact that you take time out of the conference to serve in this vital role. We all know when you serve as a presider you are not attending some talks at the conference being presented at other sessions you want to hear. Once you have experience serving as a presider you have acquired a set of people communication skills very few individuals possess and, if you are physically fit, you will be eligible to enroll in classes to become a soccer referee.

Chemistry educators who volunteer to serve as a presider prior to February 24, 2020 will receive a thank you e-mail message from one of the program chairs or from the symposium organizer, a complimentary “Al D. Hyde and the Key Tones” guitar pick actually used by one of the ADHKT guitar players during band practice and one extra complimentary adult beverage ticket to be redeemed at the Tuesday late afternoon poster session and social or at the “Al D. Hyde and the Key Tones” social on Wednesday night. In addition to these fabulous gifts, each presider will receive a special icon on their BCCE registration badge. This icon entitles the bearer to have an extra scoop of ice cream at the Ice Cream Social. Presiders can list their service on their c.v.’s.

We Need More Conference Participants to Serve as Presiders

Another area of difficulty – there are some individuals who come to the BCCE, make only one oral presentation, present a poster, or facilitate one workshop, then depart the conference. While we certainly do appreciate everyone’s contribution to the program, we need more people to interact with our presenters and volunteer some of their time to contribute to the program as presiders. We acknowledge one purpose of the BCCE is to serve as a venue for chemistry educators to make a professional contribution, but it takes a village to run a BCCE. You can help by volunteering to serve as session presider at the BCCEs.

Therefore, anyone attending the conference who is listed as a presenter in the general papers, or as a presenter in the poster sessions, or as a workshop leader and doing two presentations (The Rule of Two) and or is organizing a symposium (The Rule of Four) is cordially invited to serve as a presider during the scheduling of sessions (which ends February 24, 2020). If during the next two months of scheduling the BCCE program chairs need a presider, we will be contacting you.

Presider in Training Program

Individuals who are asked or who volunteer to serve as a presider, and who have no experience being a presider will enter the “Presider in Training” program. Go to the BCCE website and find the link to the “Presider in Training” program. Indicate the half-day and time you have available to serve as a presider. You will be assigned to work with an experienced presider. All presiders receive a summary of their duties and responsibilities, which is also posted on the 26th BCCE website (see below). “Presiders in Training” will receive the same fabulous gifts and perks as experienced presiders. Presiders can list their service on their c.v.’s.

Duties and Responsibilities of Presiders

Presiders of sessions should ensure that presentations begin and end on time and transpire in a manner that promotes meaningful academic exchange. To this end, presiders should…

  • Prior to coming to the meeting, coordinate with the session organizer and the program chair about desired protocols, time limits and audio visual use.
  • Prior to the start of the session. Arrive at the room early and ensure that the room is arranged in a way that features the speakers.
  • 20 minutes prior to the start of the session, confirm that all audio/visual aspects of the session are operational. Test the microphone to see if it is loud enough. If anything is not working contact the tech person assigned to your room.
  • 15 minutes prior to the start of the session meet and greet each of the speakers. Introduce speakers to each other if they have not met. Quickly remind speakers that they have 15 minutes for their presentation and 4 minutes for question and answers and explain to the speakers the timing cards that will be displayed (next two bullets).
  • All presiders at the 26th BCCE will use the same protocol to help speakers stay on time. All symposia rooms will have a standard set of color-coded “presider cards”. If your room does not have the set of cards send someone to the BCCE office (Wells Fargo Room, LaSells Stewart Center) to obtain the cards before the start of your session. Note, the 26th BCCE has a limited number of these presider cards and the cards need to shared with other presiders. These cards are not issued as personal property.
  • PROTOCOL. At 5, 10 and 14 minutes into each talk, hold up the “10 minutes left”, “5 minutes left” and “1 minute left” card so that the speaker can see them and be sure that the speaker has seen the card. At 15 minutes into the talk, if the speaker has not stopped, hold up the “TIME IS UP” card and stand up; the speaker must wrap up and start taking questions at this point so that the next speaker can get up and be sure that their slides will be ready for their talk on time.
  • Assist speakers, either connect their laptop computer to the projector or load their talk on one of the conference computers. Pay attention to Mac vs. PC issues with respect to displaying fonts and special symbols. If there is time, test-drive a portion of each presentation. Check the lights. Know how to control the lighting in your session room.
  • Start the session. Announce the session topic, welcome the attendees and summarize the structure for presentations and Q&A session or discussion for your session.
  • During the session. Provide a brief introduction of each presenter – name, institution and title of talk.
  • Your primary objective goal is to get each speaker to end their presentation with enough time for at least one or two questions from the audience and to start the next speaker on time. You need to keep track of the speaker’s time and the current time. Hence, it is often wise to consider yourself to be a soccer referee – you are responsible for starting and ending the game on time and for enforcing the rules of the game. You might need to issue a “yellow card” in order to get the attention of a speaker – a warning that he or she needs to stop soon.
  • Within the first three minutes of the presentation, get up, go to the back of the room and determine if the microphone is loud enough (but not too loud), if the lights are at the correct level, and if any doors need to be shut.
  • Moderate the question and answer time in such a way that a civil discussion occurs. Remind the audience they can ask a question – they are not to provide editorial comments unless invited by you or the speaker. It is best if you choose who gets to ask the questions – be fair – one question per person. If there are no questions, it is incumbent upon you to ask a good question. If there is time you might encourage participants to talk for 40 seconds to their neighbor and come up with a question. If a participant is rude to a speaker, or has an inappropriate or off topic question, you must step-in and disallow the question or comment and go to the next person’s question.
  • While the Q&A is occurring indicate to the next speaker to come to the front of the room and get his or her presentation in the ready mode.
  • End the discussion portion of each presentation at least 30 seconds before the next speaker (or session) is scheduled to begin. Be sure to get the microphone from the current speaker and hand it to the next speaker.
  • Attendance. The BCCE requires presiders take use the official ACS attendance form and take attendance at the “high water mark” of the symposium. At some point during symposium when you believe there are a good number of people in the room, go to the back of the room and count the number of people in the room and record this number on the attendance form. Remember a count is an exact number and does not follow the rules for working with significant figures.
  • Adjourn the symposium session on time. At the conclusion of the symposium session, stand up and thank the attendees for their participation and say, “Let’s thank all of our speakers”. Also say, “Some of our speakers are available for questions.”
  • Take the attendance form and the “no show speaker form” to the BCCE office. If your symposium is a half-day morning session, leave the set of “presider cards” in the room. If your symposium is a half-day afternoon session, leave the set of cards in the room. If you have the last symposium session on Thursday morning, please take the set of “presider cards” to the BCCE office.

The most critical role of the presider is that of timekeeper. Do not be surprised if speakers prepare more than they can share in the allotted time. When this happens, the presider must encourage the speaker to immediately conclude the presentation. The presider should help transition the participants in the room to the next speaker perhaps with a one-sentence announcement of what was just presented and then announce the title of the next talk and introduce the speaker.

Occasionally, scheduled speakers will be unable to attend the meeting and not be able to present their talk. When this occurs, do not move up later talks or otherwise rearrange the schedule. Do not provide the speaker before or after the “hole” in the schedule additional time for their talk. Presiders should inform all participants and presenters that the presentations will be presented at the scheduled times. The presider may a) declare a break in the session for 20 minutes or b) ask the speakers from other talks to answer questions from the participants either formally or informally in a discussion period in place of the talk. Presiders make a note of the absent speaker’s name and report this occurrence to the BCCE office on the “no show speaker” form provided.