Recommended Guidelines for Conference
Panel Chairs: Please introduce
all the panelists on your panel. You can make introductions all
at once, at the beginning, or you can introduce panelists
time before each presenter reads his or her paper or makes their
- May I suggest you try to be generous but brief in your
introductory remarks. While our organization has only eloquent
speakers, remember most of those in the audience are there to
hear the presenters.
- Those who do not (most) have a discussant may choose (at
the end) to make a few concise remarks expounding on the panel
theme and/or the significance of the papers. I know you
probably know this but remember you are not the discussant so
be kind and succinct.
Panel Timing: All panels are one
(1) hour and 30 minutes long. Please keep a tight rein on the
length of the presentations.
- Panels with two (2) papers and no discussant should allow
25 minutes per paper; three (3) with no discussant 22 minutes;
(4) with no discussant 18 minutes.
- If you have two (2) papers and a discussant keep papers
to 22 minutes or less; three (3) papers and a discussant 20
minutes or less; and four (4) papers and a discussant 16
minutes or less. The discussant should take only 10 minutes on
- I know most people know this, but attempt to be polite yet
firm when enforcing time limits.
- May I suggest passing notes to presenters reminding them of
the time remaining beginning with about five (5) minutes left.
- Try to have about ten (10) minutes at the end for questions
and answers (Q&A).
- Limit the number, and control the nature, of the questions
and/or remarks using your best common sense.
- Contact each panel member well before the conference to
make sure he or she sends you his or her resume and paper. Set
your deadline two (2) weeks before the conference. E-mail
addresses for all participants will be listed at the end of
the program and on SEC/AAS web site to facilitate
Moderators for Roundtables: Please
follow the same general guidelines as the panel chairs even
though some specific procedures must be different due to the
nature of the setting and purpose of the roundtable.
- I suggest you introduce all roundtable participants at the
- Have each presenter keep his or her opening remarks to 5
minutes. After all, these are not complete papers rather
remarks designed to stimulate an exchange of ideas.
- Try to balance the exchange so that no one person
monopolizes the discussion.
- Be sure the audience participates as much as it seems to be
Panel Presenters: Again, the
vast majority of you are experienced scholars so try to remember
that common courtesy
and professional etiquette demand that all those who are
stick to their assigned time limits?
- Time Limits: Let me repeat these limits: those on two (2)
paper panels should take no more than 25 minutes; three (3)
no more than 22 minutes; and four (4) paper panels no more
than 18 minutes. Two paper panels with a discussant should
limit papers to 22 minutes or
less; three (3) papers with a discussant 20 minutes or less;
and four (4)
papers with a discussant 16 minutes or less.
- Pre-Conference Etiquette: It is also important to provide
your FINAL paper to both the chair and discussant at least two
(2) weeks before your panel date. To this end, your deadline
for sending out these items should be January 5, 2003.
- Frankly, if you want a fair reading of your paper you
should send it to the discussant as soon as possible.
- Of equal importance is your responsibility to send the
chair a one (1) or two (2) paragraph resume. PLEASE no 20-page
vitae. That may impress the tenure committee, but in this case
it forces the chair to decide what your most important
achievements were. It would seem you would want to do that.
- Send a copy of your paper to the chair so he or she can
follow along as you present and so he or she can give it to
chair for inclusion in the SEC/AAS annual proceedings.
Roundtable Presenters: Please
follow the same general guidelines as those presenting papers on
panels–EXCEPT: keep in mind you are NOT presenting a complete
paper. As such, limit your opening remarks to 5 minutes, or less
if you have three (3) or more presenters.
- Your job is to lay the groundwork for the exchange of ideas
among other roundtable members and the audience.
- You should also send the moderator a brief resume. The
moderator may want a copy of your remarks although that is
Discussants: Try to follow the
general guidelines laid out above. As the vast majority of you
already know, the discussant’s job is to find a common thread
and link the papers into a general thematic framework.
- While some organizations may allow biting criticism and
commentary, SEC/AAS encourages professional respect for, and
behavior toward, all our fellow conference attendees.
- While pointing out questionable scholarship might be
necessary, keep in mind that it is better to “suggest” or
“recommend” such things
as “additional research sources.” Indeed, providing
alternative viewpoints is what scholarship is all about, not
administering personal attacks and/or participating in
political diatribes. Such things are rude and not what
SEC/AAS is all about!
- Discussants should remember their roles are secondary to
the presenters’ and that they should limit their remarks to 10
minutes or less. In short, make your point and sit down.
- As a matter of suggestion, one excellent technique is to
suggest a panel theme, explain how each paper relates to that
theme and end
by asking each panelist a question that will initiate the
Q&A portion of the panel.
- You too should send a brief resume to your panel chair so
he or she can introduce you.
Audience: While it may not seem
so, members of the audience have a responsibility too! Again
courtesy and good manners should be your guiding principles.
- Please do not interrupt the chair, presenters, or
discussants while they are speaking. There will be time at the
end to ask questions or make comments.
- When you ask questions or make remarks, make them brief
and to the point. Don’t ramble on. Remember there are others
to ask questions too. We all remember the guy who asks four
straight questions and makes a three-minute statement using up
all the Q&A time. And, then the panelist’s first remark
when this questioner ends is, “I can’t remember the question.”
Let’s don’t do that. I am sure none of us will.
- Make your question relevant! It is annoying for someone to
ask a question just to hear him or herself talk or repeat a
previous question because he or she was chatting with the guy
next to him/her and not paying attention.
- Lastly, real colleagues support each other by attending
panels not sightseeing or hanging around the registration
desk. You expect
people to come to your panel and you should attend theirs.
you go to a panel about something you are not familiar with
you might actually
learn something new. Isn’t that what conferences and
scholarship are all
Again, I know the majority of you are familiar with these
but it never hurts to be reminded in order to assure a smoothly
I know we are all looking forward to a great conference and a
deeply enriching experience. Remember that SEC/AAS exists to
bring people from all over the world and from a myriad of
disciplines together to exchange ideas in an effort to find
consensus. We do that so people all over this planet can
have a richer, fuller, longer and more peaceful existence.
Indeed, the magnificence
of humanity is in its infinite diversity and how that diversity
can be blended into a magnificent tapestry for progress and
peace. In short, not everyone does things the same way so try to
be patient and understanding of language and cultural
differences as well as professional and disciplinary uniqueness.
Thanks for your participation and support! I look forward to
seeing everyone in Jekyll Island!
Proposed by Bill Head
42nd Annual Meeting
Jekyll Island, GA
January 17-19, 2003