Session Chair Manual


Table of Contents










Individual technical sessions usually fall into the following categories.

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

B. Tutorial - A Tutorial is appropriate when there has been 1) a rapid development in new technology which requires an update to set the stage for one or more technical sessions of the subject or 2) where there is sufficient number of attendees who would benefit from a basic primer.

C. Panel Discussion – Panels are useful for communicating views and experiences by authorities in a field.  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.

D. Poster Session – Poster Sessions are a less formal method of covering technical information.  Speakers post their papers and any other pertinent data on a bulletin board.  Attendees may then discuss the paper with the speaker in allotted time periods and gain additional input from other attendees.

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A. If a Vice Chair has not been already appointed by your Group/Area/Topical Chair, recruit and appoint one as soon as possible.  For consistency and communication purposes, it is necessary to designate only one Chair and one Vice-Chair.  However, multiple vice chairs are permitted.

B. Develop a Call for Papers to announce your session’s area of interest and to encourage the submission of proposals to present.  Distribute the Call for Papers to key contacts in your session’s area of interest and include it in the appropriate Group or Division newsletters.  In addition, Topical Conference on Program Groups/Area may prepare call for papers addressing broader subject areas.  (The MPC will also list your session and your name, address, phone number and e-mail address on the AIChE web site (

C. Let author know that presentation records (full paper/extended abstract) is the official policy of AIChE.  Accepted authors will be sent instructions on how to upload papers after the technical program is finalized.

D. Maintain regular communication with your authors to monitor progress, remind them of deadlines, ask them to be prepared with a replacement speaker should they be unable to present their paper, and direct them to a Style Manual for Writers and Speakers.

**The manual is located in the style manual.

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A. You may want to consider seeking sponsorship for refreshments to encourage more interaction and networking among session participants, but please coordinate these efforts with AIChE staff by contacting Deb Swift at


Changes within sessions such as corrections and session changes other than changes within papers may be made through Confex up until the upload process for the CD-Rom commences.

Papers within sessions may be corrected anytime up until the commencement of the meeting.

Note:  Once the program book preparation has been initiated, all written changes should be minimized and will not be reflected in the on-site program book.

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A. Two weeks prior to the meeting, communicate with each speaker to reconfirm session arrangements, schedules and plans regarding their attendance at the meeting.  Request them to arrive at the session room 30 minutes prior to the start of the session to receive any last-minute instructions.  Check that your speakers have all arrived and that you have all necessary A/V equipment.

B. There may be a session aide in your meeting room.  The aide will be available to take attendance twice during each session.  You or your Vice-Chair must handle the duties of lights and audio visual monitoring.  In addition, one of you should estimate attendance during each paper presentation and turn this in to AIChE headquarters room after the session.  Audio technicians are available outside the meeting room for any issue which may arise with audiovisual equipment.

C. During your session, please keep your speakers on schedule, if a scheduled paper has been cancelled or the speaker is a “no show,” fill the extra time with discussion or a break, if at all possible.  Do not advance subsequent papers ahead of the schedule printed in the Meeting Program.  “No shows” should be reported in the session attendance form in the Session Chair material provided because they seriously affect the quality of meetings and the Institutes’ reputation.

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A. Expenses and Honoraria – Regrettably, AIChE cannot provide expense reimbursement or honoraria to session participants.

B. Policy on Non Commercialism in Presentations – The aggressive promotional use of trade names or other forms of commercialism titles, text or figures is not permitted.  Authors may be shown as affiliated with companies or universities, and affiliations may be mentioned in acknowledgements.  Presentations that are promotions of a commercial product or process are not permitted.

C. All Session Chairs, Vice-Chairs, and Speakers must complete a Registration Form and return it with payment.  Please refer to AIChE’s registration policy.

Requests for complimentary registrations will be considered by the Director of Meetings or Director of Programming at AIChE in accordance with the above policy.

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Prior to 12 months out Accept a position as Chair of a session(s), have your name and contact information entered into the Confex online Technical Program and Abstract Collector, and receive a link and password to Confex
11-5 months prior to meeting Call for Papers is officially open and chair can begin to actively solicit papers and monitor paper submission to session(s).  Any special scheduling requests need to be directed to Group/Area/Topical Chairs and MPC.
~ 5 months Call for Papers is officially closed.
Two weeks following close of CFP Session Chair, in compliance with any policies established by MPC and Group/Area/Topical Chairs, completes accept/reject transfer function for all submitted papers and establishes preferred order and paper duration through Confex.
Occurs in the next 1-2 weeks MPC distributes draft technical program to all participants for final comment and to resolve scheduling conflicts.
~ 4 months echnical Program goes live on the AIChE Meeting webpage and Paper/Extended Abstract upload begins.  Chairs should encourage all authors to upload papers.
2 months Paper/Extended Abstract upload period closes.

Chair should initiate and maintain contact with all accepted authors and resolve any problem in consultation with Group/Area/Topical Chair, MPC(s) and staff.

Note: Dates subject to flux

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  • Arrive to Session Room 15 minutes before 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 an audiovisual technician located nearby to ensure correct operation.  Test the microphones if time permits.
  • Room Lights.  Make sure you know where the light switches are and how to operate them.  (Note: Some rooms do not have dimmers.)
  • Session Attendance.  Session aides or AIChE will take a random head count at least twice during each session.  Session chair should also estimate attendance during each paper presentation.  Return this data to AIChE registration desk at end of session.
  • Seating.  As the room starts to fill up, try to direct attendees to empty seats.  Notify Staff Headquarters via the audiovisual technicians if you run out of seats.
  • Familiarize yourself with the safety exits in and outside the room.  Announce the safety exits and procedures to the session attendees.  Make known, in event of a fire do not use elevators, use staircases.
  • Refer to safety message located in the Program Book for further safety information.

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