MAPACA

Mid-Atlantic Popular &
American Culture Association

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Acting as Session Chair

MAPACA members will sometimes be invited to serve as chair during a conference panel. Such session chairs are typically appointed by area chairs. Anyone acting as a session chair should consider the following tips and information to help maximize the MAPACA conference experience:

  • MAPACA recommends that area chairs invite returning MAPACA members or senior presenters to act as session chair. (Note: A session chair does not need to be a presenter on the panel he/she chairs.)

  • Bring a laptop, or arrange to borrow one, so that someone on the panel has an internet-connected device and a way to project visual aids.

  • Adhere to the presentation order listed in the program so attendees can follow the conference schedule.

  • Begin and end sessions in a timely fashion.

  • Help participants keep presentations within the allotted time per presentation. Consult the appropriate area chair with questions about time allotments.

  • Leave ample time for a discussion period, which the session chair should lead, following the session’s final presentation. (One of the key values of presenting work at a conference is obtaining feedback prior to development and publication. Thus, presenters ideally have time to present and discuss their work.)

Additional resource: “Helpful Hints for Chairing Academic Sessions” by Timothy J. Madigan, available via the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association site.

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