ACA Session Chair Resources 

Volunteering to be a session chair is an important responsibility and service to our society. The annual meeting would not be possible without the dedication and support of our session chairs and we appreciate all of the time and effort you have devoted to the ACA - thank you!  If you are interested in becoming a session chair reach out to your SIG Chair and let them know!  


Official Meeting Site


Meeting Info

74th ACA Annual Meeting: Denver, Colorado
Tentative Schedule:
Workshops & Opening Reception: Sunday, July 7, 2024
Sessions Day One: Monday, July 8, 2024
Sessions Day Two: Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Sessions Day Three: Wednesday, July 10, 2024
Sessions Day Four & Banquet: Thursday, July 11, 2024
Future Planning Meeting: Friday, July 12, 2024


General Information, Links & Documents

Code of Conduct
Conference Policy
Speaker Invitation Policy
Reporting Policy
Session Chair Worksheet
Timing Options
2024 Prospectus
How to Raise Sponsorship Funds
Sample Session Descriptions


Session Chair Onboarding Slides (Fall 2023)
Onboarding Video (Fall 2023)
Session Chair Onboarding Agenda (Winter 2024)
Onboarding Video (Winter 2024)
Session Organization Form to be completed by Session Chairs and submitted to ACA HQ by April 19, 2024 


Session Chair Communication

The predominate method of communication is email and we ask session chairs to safelist the ACA to ensure the timely delivery of emails, notices and deadlines. 

There are four members on the Meeting Committee who are always happy to assist session chairs with questions or issues related to annual meeting.  Please also always feel free to reach out to ACA HQ.  

  Meeting Committee Anna Gardberg (21-24) Samantha Powell (22-25) Stacey Smith (23-26) Sarah Bowman (24-27)
  ACA HQ Kristin Stevens  Kristina Vitale    


The Meeting Committee also utilizes Slack and has asked session chairs to join the ACA Backstage Slack Channel. If you need an invite to the workspace please contact ACA HQ.

At certain moments in the planning process the Meeting Committee will host session chair onboarding sessions to review a timely topic or process.  Attendance at these meetings by the session chairs is not required but highly encouraged.  


General Meeting Schedule For Session Chairs

[These dates are tentative and are subject to change]

The Meeting Committee and ACA HQ move forward once each deadline passes.

You are responsible for your deadlines.

Any single delay directly affects our ability to proceed with other areas of the program.


  • Session Chair Onboarding
  • Final Session description and titles to ACA HQ by October 25th!
  • Prospectus Issued 


  • Web Launch
  • Registration Opens
  • Abstract Portal Opens


  • Abstract submission deadline March 29, 2024
  • SIG Chairs review and select Etter Award Winners
  • Travel Grant Applications Due on March 29, 2024


  • Sessions to be organized by April 19, 2024 
  • Oral authors are notified (via email) of the date/time and session of their talk (on or after April 29, 2024)  


  • Poster abstract submission deadline in order to qualify for poster prizes May 3, 2024
  • Early Registration Ends May 17, 2024
  • Poster authors are notified (via email) of their assigned poster session (on or after May 10, 2024)  
  • Submit speaker reimbursement requests to Meeting Committee


  • July 7th - Annual Meeting Begins!   
  • Planning Meeting for 2025
  • Submit photos and a summary of the session to RefleXions



For logistical reasons, all meeting registrants must also be ACA members.  Non-member rates cover the cost of membership as well as registration.  

Session chairs should register as soon as possible.  The ACA does not waive registration fees for session chairs and session chairs are not permitted to award themselves reimbursement funds from sponsorship.  

Invited speakers must register for the conference.  The ACA does not waive fees for invited speakers.  Session chairs should seek external funds if they wish to reimburse registration fees.  

All presenters must register for the conference.  It is mandatory that at least one author of each accepted abstract attends the session and presents the work. Please note that each abstract shall be accompanied by at least one full conference registration. The presenting author must be fully registered when submitting an abstract. An author per abstract is expected to attend the session where the abstract is discussed. Exceptions to this rule can be granted by request and at the discretion of the ACA Meeting Committee.


Session Proposal Process

Sessions for each ACA Annual Meeting are generated through Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs). Each SIG meets at least once per year generally in the month prior to the Annual Meeting.

Prior to the meetings in June, each set of SIG officers should solicit session proposals for the 2025 meeting from their SIG members. Each proposal should contain (1) a title, (2) two confirmed session chairs and their contact information, and (3) a description of the session (~one paragraph). The proposals will be discussed and ranked at the SIG meetings.

The SIG chairs will submit a prioritized list of their SIG’s proposed 2025 sessions to the Meeting Committee prior to the start of the 2024 Annual Meeting. On the morning following the last day of the conference, SIG officers will attend the Planning Meeting with the Meeting Committee to select the final list of sessions and begin organizing them into the available time slots for the 2025 meeting. 


Session Organization Process

The ACA Meeting Committee has prepared a session chair worksheet to assist session chairs throughout the meeting process. This form does not need to be formally submitted but is for informational purposes only and only intended to assist session chairs by outlining major deadlines, offering fundraising strategies and sharing session organization tips.

Again, we encourage session chairs to register for the meeting as soon as possible to ensure access to all of the meeting platforms and resources.  Once it is launched, in order to organize your session, you will need to log into the abstract platform and familiarize yourself with its features.  

In addition to compiling invited talks, session chairs review contributed abstracts submitted to the session and incorporate them into the schedule of talks. Session chairs should monitor the submissions to their session starting in January to (1) confirm that invited speakers are submitting their abstracts and (2) that there are contributed abstracts being submitted.  If there is an inadequate number of talks in a session, that session chair is responsible to solicit additional abstracts.  

Each abstract submission shall be accompanied by ONE paid registration.  To be eligible to present (either orally or during a poster session), at least one author of an accepted paper is required to register for the conference prior to the submission of the abstract.  

A minimum of 40% of the talks must be from contributed abstracts.  The author of a contributed abstract that is selected for an oral presentation must be contacted by the Session Chair to make sure he/she is willing to give a talk.  Authors can only submit one abstract unless submitting a second abstract for an educational session but should seek permission of the Meeting Committee before submitting.  

Once the abstract deadline has passed and all abstracts have been submitted it will be the session chairs responsibility to arrange talks and assign times to speakers including incorporating Etter Award winners.  

  • Morning (AM) sessions will run from 8:30AM to 11:30AM. Session chairs should schedule a half-hour coffee break at 10AM.
  • Afternoon (PM) sessions will run from 2PM to 5PM. Session chairs should schedule a half-hour coffee break at 3PM.
  • Evening (EVE) sessions will run from 7PM to 9:30PM.
  • Award sessions will take place at 11:45 AM on days two, three and four (if needed) of the conference.
  • Poster sessions will run from 5:30 to 7:30PM on days one, two and three of the conference.

The Meeting Committee has put together a list of timing options that session chairs can utilize when organizing their session.  

One each session is organized, HQ will notify speakers of their acceptance (via email) along with the date/time of their talk however we encourage session chairs to touch base with the presenters to make sure they are aware of presentation guidelines and the session schedule. 

Please note that it is impossible to guarantee potential speakers a specific day or time for their presentation because of the amount of work involved in scheduling sessions. In extraordinary cases, speaker requests can be accommodated if Session Chairs communicate these conflicts early in the planning process.  Please report these requests to the Meeting Committee at this stage, who will address each request individually.  

As of 2024 the ACA Annual Meeting is a live in-person event and all presentations are expected to be given live and onsite. If there are any special accommodations needed by a speaker, please alert ACA HQ so that arrangements can be made prior to the start of the meeting.  


Speaker Reimbursement & Session Sponsorship

Session chairs are asked to raise sponsorship funds to provide support to invited speakers as needed.  The ACA does not issue complimentary registrations, however, limited funds have been budgeted to the Meeting Committee to support individual cases of true need.  

In the Fall of 2023 ACA HQ will issue a prospectus with information on sponsorships and exhibiting opportunities at the annual meeting.  In January of 2024 the official website will be launched with a direct link for sponsors to submit support.  Sponsor payment must be received by June 14, 2024 for the sponsor to be recognized on conference materials.

In early June, ACA HQ will notify session chairs of the amount of funds raised for their session and collect speaker reimbursement forms from session chairs.  At this time, if you have a case of need, the Meeting Committee will also collect speaker reimbursement requests.  The Meeting Committee will compile all of the requests and issue a final list of speaker reimbursements.  Authors receiving a reimbursement check will be contacted, via email by ACA HQ, that same is available at the registration desk during the conference.  

Please note the following regarding speaker reimbursement:

  • If you (as session chair) decide to reimburse an invited speaker, those speakers MUST register by the early registration deadline, as they will not be reimbursed at the higher rate. 

  • Speakers may receive funding from only one session. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis in consultation with the Meeting Committee.

  • The only form of payment/reimbursement is an ACA check, drawn on a U.S. bank. No cash will be distributed.

  • All checks will be ready for pickup at the registration desk and must be collected during the meeting.  No checks will be mailed after the meeting.  

  • Participants who are eligible to receive a check must produce original receipts totaling (at least) the dollar amount of the check.

  • Recipients, who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and whose funding exceeds $599, must have a U.S. Tax I.D. Number. ACA will supply recipients with the appropriate form to obtain one. Recipients, who are not US citizens or permanent residents traveling from outside the U.S., must produce a copy of their travel VISA.

  • Checks will not be cashed by ACA.


Onsite Session Chair Information

ACA session chairs are for all intents and purposes the host of the session.  At the meeting session chairs should be prepared to:

  • Plan to arrive at your session at least 10-15 minutes before the start time.

  • Prepare a slide with sponsor logos to project at the beginning and end of the session as well as during the intermission.

  • Introduce yourself to the audience before the start time, giving the name of the session and asking people to take their seats quickly.  Encourage the audience to take center/front seats and to silence their cell phones.

  • Familiarize yourself with the speaker line up and find out how to pronounce author names.

  • Keep the session on time. Starting and closing of the session at the scheduled time is essential. Please be prompt to start the session.

  • Keep track of the presentation time. Remind the speakers when their time is going to be finished with warnings at certain intervals. Please be somewhat flexible and courteous in handling your authors, but don’t let any author have an inappropriately large amount of time so that the subsequent authors do not have sufficient time for presenting.

  • Session chairs should be prepared to stimulate informal discussion and questions for each speaker. Please encourage the audience to take part in the discussions and to ask questions without any hesitation. Please ask the discusser to identify him/herself before asking a question.

  • Prepare a list of questions for each speaker in case the audience has none.

  • Instruct any invited speakers receiving reimbursement to stop by the registration desk during the meeting and pick up their check.


After the Meeting

Session chairs should submit a session summary and any photos to the RefleXions editor within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the conference for inclusion in the Fall issue.  Examples of past session summaries can be found in the fall issue of the archived issues of RefleXions.