Program Chair's Survival Guide

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Program Planning Committee

The Program Chair is responsible for assembling the Program Planning Committee. It’s a good idea to approach potential members during the conference. There are no specific guidelines about the size or composition of the PPC. In the past several years it’s been common to have the chair and secretary/treasurer as part of this committee for experience and training purposes. The average size of the committee has been about eight in the past few planning cycles. It’s good to have a mix of experienced (former chairs, etc.) and newer ELD members on the committee. The positions and roles of members serving on recent committees include:

  • Publications Chair: Works with Program Chair; Coordinates peer review process; recruits peer reviewers. (2008-)
  • Development Chair: Works with Program Chair, directors, development liaisons, secretary/treasurer to obtain sponsorships and coordinate sponsored events. Handles catering for business meeting, lightning talks, breakfast sessions, etc. (2008 -)
  • First-year Director: Organizes annual banquet sponsored by Elsevier.
  • Second-year Director: Organizes welcome reception sponsored by IEEE.
  • ELD member from the host city/region: Provides advice on local venues, public transportation, interesting sites, etc. (2010-)

The members of the Program Planning Committee are encouraged to use the ELDPROGPLAN e-mail list to facilitate communication. (Contact the ELD electronic discussion list coordinator for more information.)

ASEE Program Chair Kit & Author Kit

The ASEE Program Chair Kit is provided to all incoming program chairs at the orientation session at conference. It is also available on the ASEE website. The Program Chair should obtain and read a copy as soon as possible. The kit has an outline of all the important dates and deadlines leading up to conference.

The ASEE Author Kit is available on the ASEE website, usually on or about the first day of abstract submission. The author’s kit includes important deadlines, instructions for submitting abstracts and papers in Monolith, and abstract and paper formatting guidelines. It’s a good idea to read the author’s kit as soon as possible.

Tip: Although the Author Kit is readily available on the ASEE website, be prepared for ELD members to ask you questions that they could probably answer for themselves.


Monolith is ASEE’s in-house conference planning and paper management system. It was first used in 2010-11 to plan the 2011 conference in Vancouver. The Program Chair uses Monolith to submit session requests, request A/V, manage papers, assign moderators, assign reviewers, communicate with authors, etc. The Program Chair is the only ELD member who has access to session, reviewer and paper information.


The Program Chair should make sure that he or she is on the ASEE program chair e-mail list administered by Wayne Davis. Wayne usually collections e-mails at the program chair orientation at conference. Make sure to check with Wayne after the conference to make sure he has your correct e-mail.

The Program Chair is responsible for keeping the membership up to date on planning progress, important deadlines, sponsored events, etc. Communication can be done through the ELD newsletter, e-mail lists and conference blog. Conference updates in the newsletter usually include:

  • September – Call for papers and outline of proposed themes for sessions.
  • December – Conference planning update. Approved sessions and workshops,
  • March – Draft outline of conference events; social events, workshops, sessions, etc., list of sessions.*
  • May – Final ELD program with all details and locations, etc.

Tip: It is not possible to include a list of accepted papers and posters in the March newsletter because the deadline for author registration, proceedings fee payment and copyright transfer is generally at the end of March or early April.

Call for Papers

Since 2009 ASEE has had a “publish to present” policy. All papers and posters must go through the double-blind peer review process. Newer ELD members may not be aware that submitting an abstract means that they are submitting a paper or a poster. It’s a good idea to emphasize this in the Call for Papers. The Call for Papers appears on the ASEE website. The Program Chair also posts it on the ELD e-mail list (usually a week or so before the opening of abstract submission) and in the September newsletter.

Non-US and Non-Canadian residents who have ASEE Global Online Memberships may submit abstracts.

After the abstract submission ends, the Program Chair should send an e-mail to each author. (See Appendix 1: Thank You for Submitting an Abstract.)

Note: The Call for Papers used to be included in the September issue of PRISM, but I don’t believe that’s the case now. MJW 9/15/2011