The chair is responsible for introducing each paper and the authors as well as the discussant(s). The chair is also responsible for managing the time for each presentation, making sure no author exceeds his or her allotted time, and ensuring that the discussion is polite and productive. Please allow an equal amount of time for each presenter, followed by comments from all discussants, and audience discussion.

Chairs may recommend papers to the MPSA for research awards. The Chair will also help with the questions that may be posted by virtual attendees through Zoom chat and assist with basic technical challenges that presenters may experience (there will be tech support staff who are available for this as well). A higher level of comfort using Zoom or Skype, or experience teaching online is key.

Before the Conference

  1. Use the online conference program to review the schedule and lineup for your session.
  2. Reach out to your panelists via email and introduce yourself. Inform your panelists of the time that they will be allotted to speak during the 90-minute session (e.g., if there are five presenters, 10 minutes each; if four presenters, 12 minutes; if three presenters, 15 minutes). You can find the email addresses for your panelists by logging in to view the online conference program, navigating to your session, and clicking the name of an individual panelist to open their “Person Summary” page. Please note that email addresses will only be visible on the “Person Summary” page if you are logged in.
  3. Remind your authors to upload their papers to the online conference program. You can also request that presenters distribute their papers to the rest of the panel via email.

If you are chairing a roundtable, there will be no papers to upload or distribute. You should still reach out to your panelists to introduce yourself, briefly describe how the roundtable discussion will be structured, and if there are specific topics or questions you would like panelists to speak to.

Hybrid Conference Responsibilities

Chairs will help to facilitate the hybrid conference format by overseeing the virtual Zoom meeting room during the session. Please consult our Zoom instructions if you are not comfortable with the Zoom platform. Tech support staff will also be available to assist the chair at the start of each session.

  1. Arrive at the conference room 10 minutes prior to the session start time.
  2. MPSA tech support staff will arrive prior of the session to open the Zoom meeting room on the laptop computer at the front of the room. In the event that a staff member does not arrive by the start of your session, you can open the Zoom meeting room yourself by following these steps:
    •  The virtual conference platform will be open on the computer in the hotel conference room. From the Home Page, click Zoom Hosting Assignments under the Navigation Menu on the left-hand side of the page. This will open a list of all sessions scheduled in this hotel conference room for the day, in order of occurrence.
    • Scroll to your session and click Start Zoom Session. This will open the meeting room for virtual attendees.
  3. At the scheduled start time, begin recording the session in Zoom.
  4. Introduce the session and all speakers. Welcome virtual audience members and inform them of the chat feature in Zoom if they would like to submit questions for the panelists.
  5. The order of presentations should cluster in-person and virtual presentations together, rather than switching back and forth between in-person and virtual presenters.
  6. Ensure that all presenters use the Share Screen feature in Zoom while they are presenting. Help the panelists keep their presentations within the allotted time and signal the amount of time remaining toward the end of their presentations.
  7. When presentations are concluded and discussants begin to give their comments, the chair should start monitoring the Zoom chat for Q&A from virtual audience members.
  8. When discussants are done speaking, moderate Q&A and/or discussion among the panelists for the remainder of the session.
  9. Wrap up the session on time. The Zoom meeting room will close automatically for virtual attendees at the end of the session, so it is crucial that sessions do not run late.