Policies and Guidelines for Annual Conference Presenters

Policies and guidelines may be adjusted throughout the 2022 conference planning process based on updated planning details. ASPA staff will undertake to keep interested parties as informed as possible; please continue to check these details for updates as well.

Please read the below bullet points carefully as they will guide your 2022 Annual Conference participation. Failure to abide by any of these guidelines could result in your not being able to serve as a presenter.

  • All program presenters must register and pay for the conference prior to arriving in Jacksonville.
  • All accepted presenters must send any edits to their presentation information and/or professional affiliation information for promotional purposes no later than January 28, 2022.
  • Participation in the conference program is limited to one presentation per person, regardless of session format (ASPA workshops, panels or Chapter/Section sessions/symposia) to maximize participation across the profession. Individuals may serve as a Moderator, Discussant or Coauthor for another session (or sessions) without limitation.
  • Panel sessions should include no more than five papers/presentations to allow time for audience participation. All panels must have a moderator or convener who is responsible for ensuring panelists are communicating with each other both in advance of the panel taking place as well as throughout any other conference responsibilities associated with the panel.
  • Each presenter must abide by the session time constraints. Opportunity for Q&A will be incorporated into many sessions.
  • Every effort should be made to have a diverse mix of presenters, including demographic diversity and academic and practitioner perspectives.
  • A topic/presenter from a rejected, fully formed panel may be accepted individually and placed within a different panel or session.
  • The conference co-chairs, track reviewers and staff reserve the right to alter, combine and edit proposals as they plan sessions for the conference.
  • Speakers who cancel their participation after accepting a presenter role two consecutive years in a row may be deemed ineligible to participate on future sessions.
  • Concurrent sessions are up to 75 minutes long and may be adjusted as needed by ASPA staff.

Session FAQs:

What type of proposals does ASPA invite?
The 2022 ASPA conference encourages three types of session submissions: fully formed panels, individual papers or topics for panel placement, and workshops.

What is a fully formed panel?
This is a proposal submission that includes four to five papers or topics that 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 topics and other components, and planning for the panel execution.

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

What does a strong panel look like?
A strong panel contains four to five papers, a chair and a discussant. The panel description ties the topics 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 taking into account practitioners and scholars; demographic diversity; and research methods and perspectives.

How are individual papers assigned?
Program co-chairs, track reviewers and staff are responsible for finding an appropriate session for an accepted paper proposal. Highly rated individual papers are assigned to a session with other related and commonly themed papers/topics.

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 lively and a productive experience for panel members and the audience. The moderator should arrange at least one conference call or online meeting among the panel members prior to the session taking place. During the session, the moderator is responsible for managing the time, ensuring the panel starts on time and each panelist has an equitable share of the available time. The moderator also ensures that the panel engages with Q&A, and that the session ends on 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 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 present intriguing ideas.

Discussant: The optional discussant is responsible for synthesizing the big ideas and linking them to the topics presented at the panel. The discussant provides insight 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.

Does ASPA collect conference papers?
Presenters must share their paper or presentation materials amongst their panelists no later than one week prior to the session taking place. ASPA also will post any papers authors care to share with all conference attendees to its website. You will receive a request from ASPA staff to supply your paper/presentation; should you wish to provide your documents, please reply in a timely fashion.

Evaluation Criteria

Below is a list of the criteria that is adopted by track reviewers and conference co-chairs when ranking and selecting sessions for the Annual Conference:
  • Relevance to the conference theme and one of the tracks (see considerations below)
  • 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
  • Practitioner participation in panels
  • Learning objectives identified and applicable to practitioners (workshops)

2022 Conference Theme: Democracy under Threat: The Future of Equality in a Post-COVID World
The past several years have witnessed emergent and growing threats against both social equality and public health. The gulf between the “haves” and “have nots” is not new but recent decades have seen it widen dramatically, encouraged by economics, partisan politics, racism, sexism and more. Far too often, policies characterized and put forward as benefiting the middle class and poor have, in fact, provided much greater benefit to the most affluent members of society.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened things: Those with the most often have benefited; those with the least often have been the most victimized and fallen further behind. Simultaneously, attacks on democracy and integrity of governance—both in the United States and abroad—have frustrated service delivery, lowered morale, increased burdens and reduced trust in government to an all-time low and further impeded countries’ abilities to combat the pandemic. Where do we go from here?

The questions we are tasked to solve are never ending. Living wage or minimum wage? Universal child care or private systems? Flexible work environments or status quo? Broadband for all or pay to play? Access to health care and at what cost? Fix the bridge or build a road around? Who gets vaccines? Who gets to vote? Fascism, socialism or democracy? Most important: Who gets to decide and whose rights and freedoms matter more? Our answers will impact how we define and encourage democracy and equality—and effective public administration as a result.

The 2022 Annual Conference will address the most challenging concerns our society faces right now: Upholding democratic institutions and advancing equality. Practitioners, scholars and students from around the world are encouraged to attend and contribute their research and practice to this critical dialogue. We will need ideas and strategies from a variety of cultures and perspectives to move forward and shore up our threatened systems.

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.

Learning Objectives: Panels and workshops will aim to include interaction. Workshops allow practitioners to learn about practical solutions to contemporary issues encountered in the workplace. They 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 create 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, even if through virtual interactions. They will need to list three measurable learning objectives identifying what attendees can expect to take away from the session.

Number of Sessions: The set number of session slots assigned to a track is decided by the co-chairs in consultation with track reviewers and staff. Program planners are guided by the goal of creating a quality program.