Session Chair Responsibilities

Congratulations for being invited to serve as a session chair at ION ITM!

As a session chair, you are responsible for inviting, selecting, and reviewing papers and presentations for your session. Your responsibilities begin well before the conference. At the conference, you will act as a moderator and facilitate a smooth presentation for all authors. Below is an outline of your responsibilities.



  • Review the session description for your session.
  • Send any proposed revisions or comments to the program chair by May 1, prior to the printing of the call for abstracts brochure.


  • Actively invite those with relevant knowledge to submit abstracts for the topic of your session. Some of the best sessions in past ION meetings have featured a high number of invited abstracts.
  • The last day to submit an abstract is October 4.


  • Authors have until December 1 to submit a full technical paper for peer review.
  • You will access papers through the Abstract Management Portal (AMP).
    • Sign in to AMP at the following URL:
    • Under “Manage Your Sessions” click on your session title.
    • If you need to create an ION account, click here and select “Create an Account." Once you have created your account, if you do not see your session listed in AMP, email Miriam Lewis at
  • You (or a delegated colleague) will read each paper and complete a short, online peer review form.
  • A paper that passes peer review will be designated as “PEER REVIEWED” in the conference proceedings.
  • While the peer review does not need to be done by you personally (you can delegate it to others), you will be responsible to ensure quality reviews are done on a timely basis. 
  • Peer review will require you to respond to some simple yes or no questions to ensure that a minimal quality standard for a conference paper is met.
  • Papers will only be peer reviewed one time.
  • Both co-chairs will be required to complete the peer review form individually.
  • Each paper must pass peer review by TWO reviewers to receive a peer reviewed designation.
  • Detailed peer review instructions are available online.

PROGRAM ASSEMBLY (December 5-11)

  • After peer review is completed, using AMP you will select the best and most relevant papers for presentation.
  • Full sessions will have 8 presentations, and up to 4 alternate presentations. Half-sessions will have 4 presentations, and up to 2 alternate presentations .
  • In cooperation with your co-chair, select primary presentations and alternate presentations.
  • Arrange the primary presentations in the order they should be presented topically.
    • From the session detail page, assign a primary presentation order to each abstract by using the dropdown box. Click “Update” to save your changes.
  • Arrange the alternate presentations by quality, or in the order in which they should be rotated into a primary slot should you have a cancellation of one of your primary presentations.
    • From the session detail page, assign an alternate order to each abstract by using the dropdown box. Click “Update” to save your changes.
  • Additionally, papers of adequate technical caliber submitted for on-demand presentation may be selected as on-demand presentations.
  • If you feel a paper is worthy of consideration for presentation, but is not appropriate for your session, email the program chair and Miriam Lewis to suggest the abstract be reassigned.


  • When the conference program is published, you and your co-chair should reach out to the presenters in your session to introduce yourself.
  • You can find the email address of your co-chair and each presenter on the session detail page in AMP.
  • This is a good time to verify the in-person participation of each presenter in your session. If any presenters are unable to attend in-person, you should assign an alternate presenter to fill the presentation slot.
  • January 3 is the last day to notify ION of program changes for inclusion in the on-site program and meeting signage.
  • Pay your conference registration fees and book your hotel room on or before January 3. ION provides a $300 registration discount if you stay in the official conference hotel.



  • Attend the morning speakers' breakfast.
  • All presenters and alternate presenters are required to attend the breakfast to present and have their paper published in the proceedings.
  • At the breakfast, ensure that all presenters are in attendance.
  • If any speaker is not in attendance, you can assign alternate presenters that are in attendance to fill the empty slot.
    • Do not rearrange primary presentations.
    • Alternates should be assigned in the order they appear in the program.
  • Alternate presenters must attend the breakfast and must be prepared to present if called upon.
    • If an alternate presenter is not present at the breakfast, or is not prepared to make a presentation if called upon, their paper/presentation will not be published in the proceedings.
  • At the breakfast, you will receive a session chair packet containing the biographies of each presenter (if provided to ION by the presenter).
  • Collect any missing biographies from presenters, as needed.
  • Verify the correct pronunciation of presenter names, etc. as needed.

BEFORE YOUR SESSION BEGINS (Arrive 15-20 minutes prior to session start)

  • Arrive to your session room 15-20 minutes prior to your session start time.
  • ION will pre-load presentations onto the conference laptop (if made available by the presenter prior to the conference).
  • Presenters will load presentations onto the conference laptop before the session begins. You can assist with loading and previewing presentations, and arranging them on the computer’s desktop.
  • Presenters may use their own laptop by connecting to the projector’s HDMI cable.
  • Familiarize yourself with the presentation timing system.
    • Click the “Start” button on the timer laptop to begin the countdown.
    • Click “Reset” at any time to start over.
  • Familiarize yourself with the wireless lapel microphone.
    • Presenters should remove their name badge, clip the microphone onto their clothing 6 inches below their chin, and at the center of their body.
    • Locate the power switch.
  • Familiarize yourself with the handheld microphone.
    • Locate the power switch.
    • You (or your co-chair) will pass this microphone to audience members during Question & Answer after each presentation, as time allows.
  • Familiarize yourself with the audio mixer in the session room.
    • Small adjustments to the volume may be necessary to accommodate various presenter voice levels.
    • There are separate volume controls to adjust the volume of the hand-held microphone, lapel clip-on microphone, and the podium microphone.
  • Note any presentation cancellations, and any alternates that fill these vacancies, directly on the sign located outside the session room.
    • These signs are collected at the end of each day and any changes are recorded to ensure the conference proceedings accurately reflect what transpired during your session.
    • There is a marker in the session chair packet that you received at the breakfast to make these notes.


  • Maintain the schedule printed in the onsite program.
    • Do not begin presentations early.
    • Do not rearrange presentations, other than moving an alternate presentation to fill a canceled presentation.
  • Assist each author with placing and turning on the microphone.
    • If a presenter does not have the microphone placed correctly, or the microphone is not turned on, you should interrupt the presenter to adjust the microphone. It is better to momentarily interrupt the presenter, than to allow them to continue speaking if the audience is unable to clearly hear.
  • As needed, assist presenters with opening their presentation files.
  • You will begin introducing each presenter at the time indicated in the onsite program.
  • One session chair will start the presentation timer as the other session chair introduces the presenter.
    • The presentation timer shows the amount of time remaining.
    • The screen is green for the first 15 minutes
    • The screen turns yellow when 5 minutes remain
    • The screen turns red during the last 30 seconds.
  • If the presenter concludes and there is time remaining before the next presenter, you can accept audience questions.
    • Pass the wireless handheld microphone to each audience member so that the audience can hear both the question and the answer.
    • If time remains after questions, do not introduce the next presenter until the time printed in the onsite program. This allows conference attendees to move between sessions, without missing a portion of any presentation.
  • Watch a short, two minute video that explains your session management responsibilities:


  • Complete the form in the session chair packet (received at breakfast) to indicate any papers that should be considered for publication in NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation (optional). Give the completed forms to any staff member at the conference registration desk.

Questions? Concerns? Contact:

Miriam Lewis
Meeting Services