Policies and Guidelines for Annual Conference Presenters

General Guides:

  • All program presenters must register and pay for the conference. If they are attending the conference only on the day of their presentation, they may register for just that day.
  • All accepted presenters must send any edits to their presentation information and/or professional affiliation information for the program book no later than December 28, 2018. We will not accept any exceptions; the deadline is based on printer deadlines.
  • Panels should include no more than five papers or presentations in order to allow time for audience involvement in the session. All panels must have a moderator or convener who is responsible for ensuring that panelists have communicated with each other before the conference.
  • Each panelist must abide by the time constraints. The moderator should allot at least 15 minutes at the end of the session for question and answer with the audience.
  • Every effort should be made to have a diverse mix of presenters, including both academic and practitioner presenters.
  • Participation in the conference program is limited to one presentation per person, regardless of session format (Section Symposia, ASPA workshops or ASPA panels) to avoid over scheduling of presenters and maximize participation. In addition to presenting in one session, an individual may also serve as a Moderator and/or Discussant on another session.
  • A topic/presenter from a rejected fully formed panel may be accepted individually and placed within a separate panel or workshop.
  • All presentations should be based on current research; presenters should avoid presenting literature reviews and should ensure they are presenting substantive research and other information.
  • Speakers who cancel after being accepted for two consecutive conferences may not be eligible to present at future conferences. The Program Committee reserves the right to alter, combine and edit proposals as it plans sessions for the conference.

Session Information

  • Concurrent panel sessions and workshops are 90 minutes long. Sessions are scheduled Friday through Tuesday, March 8-12, in Washington, DC.
  • ASPA will supply LCD projectors and screens in rooms. Presenters are required to bring their own laptop. Costs for additional audio visual needs, including internet, will be the responsibility of the presenter.

Conference FAQs:

What type of proposals does ASPA invite?
The ASPA Annual Conference encourages four types of session submissions: fully formed panels, individual papers or topics for panel placement, workshops and submission for Section-hosted Symposia.

What is a fully formed panel?
This refers to a proposal submission that includes four or five papers or topics that would form a single conference panel session. It includes a panel chair and an optional discussant. The convener (individual organizing the proposal) of a panel proposal is responsible for recruiting all of the papers and other components and planning for the panel execution.

What does a strong panel look like?
A strong panel contains four or five papers, a chair and at least one discussant. The panel description ties the papers together and clearly indicates how the panel relates to the conference theme and the selected policy and/or cross cutting area. Strong panels include a diverse range of participants, practitioners, scholars, race, gender and affiliation as well as research methods and perspective.

How are individual papers assigned?
ASPA conference program co-chairs and track reviewers are responsible for finding an appropriate session for an accepted paper proposal. Highly rated individual papers are assigned to a panel session with other related and commonly themed, but separately submitted, papers.

What is a workshop?

This refers to a professional development session that is most relevant to practitioners. Workshops usually feature one or two presenters. The presentation is focused on best practices and functional takeaways for attendees.

What are symposia?
These are multi-session programs focused on a specific topic. They are half- or full-day events that usually are sponsored by ASPA Sections. To participate in a symposia, please indicate the selection during the proposal submission process.

What are the descriptions for the various panel roles?
Convener: A convener is an individual responsible for bringing presenters together to address an issue, problem or opportunity. The convener’s primary responsibility is to serve as the organizer and administrator of the collaboration, and to carry out the preliminary and follow-up tasks that ensure the panel proceeds smoothly. The role of convener and moderator are often carried out by the same person, but this is not a requirement.

Moderator: The moderator is responsible for the engagement and timeliness of the panel and ensures the panel is a lively and productive experience for panel members and the audience. The moderator (also known as chair) should arrange at least one meeting, in person or by phone, among the panel members prior to the conference and the panel. On the day of the panel, the chair is responsible for managing time (that the panel starts on time and each panelist has an equitable share of the available time). The chair also ensures that at least 15 minutes of the panel time is set aside for conversation with the members of the audience and that the panel ends at the allotted time.

Presenter: It is the presenter’s responsibility to communicate the big ideas and rich commentary that is at the core of the issue and/or paper. Under no circumstances should a paper—or its summary—be read to the audience. Rather, the presenter should think carefully about major themes, what members of the audience would find most useful and how the topic fits into the panel’s and conference's overall themes. The audience can always read the paper later; they have selected the panel for a chance to exchange ideas. It is the presenter’s responsibility to enable this exchange.

Discussant: The discussant is responsible for synthesizing the big ideas and linking them together throughout the discussion. The discussant provides insights into each presenter’s value by distilling the central arguments, commenting on the methods, suggesting what implications have the most value and providing a measure of peer review. After hearing the individual presentations, the discussant should identify—and share with the audience—the common themes that unite them.

Coauthor: For papers with multiple authors, the authors can be listed separately as co-authors if not presenting on the panel.

Does ASPA collect conference papers?
Yes, but not until after the conference. Presenters will have the opportunity to share their knowledge by sending presentations and/or papers after the conference concludes, when we will post them to the ASPA conference website (and perhaps other digital media). If a presenter is on a panel, we require sharing of papers/presentation topics with fellow co-presenters no later than two weeks prior to the conference.

Evaluation Criteria
Below is a list of the criteria that is adopted by track reviewers and conference co-chairs when ranking and selecting panel sessions for the Annual Conference:
  • Relevance to the conference theme (see considerations below)
  • Relevance to one of the conference tracks
  • Quality and depth of attention to topics at the leading edge of public administration issues
  • Scope of the topic and its breadth of audience appeal
  • Relevance to practitioners and scholars in linking theory and practice
  • Learning objectives identified and applicable to practitioners (workshops)
  • Attractiveness of the executive summary
  • Practitioner participation in panels

Considerations to keep in mind:
Discussion: Conference co-chairs and track reviewers pay close attention to the potential for discussion in a proposal. Panel moderators and presenters are reminded that presentations should NOT be read. It is important that engagement is highlighted as a key part of a proposal.  

Relevance to Conference Theme: ASPA’s 2019 Annual Conference will center around the theme: A Call to Action: Advancing Public Service. Look for more information about the theme and the five tracks here.

Learning Objectives: Panels and workshops are meant to be interactive sessions. Workshops allow practitioners to learn about practical solutions to contemporary issues encountered in the workplace. Workshops are considered "hands on" sessions that should draw attendees into the discussion and offer useful solutions and applications in the work environment. The goal is to created opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas. Workshops should not solely consist of lectures. Workshop proposals should describe how the presenters will incorporate attendees in the learning process. They will need to list three measurable learning objectives identifying what attendees can expect to take away from the session.

Number of panel sessions: The set number of panel slots assigned to a track is decided by the conference co-chairs, in consultation with the ASPA President and track reviewers. Program planners are guided by the goal of creating a quality program.