2024 AERA Call for Volunteer Chairs and Discussants
2024 AERA Call for Volunteer Chairs and Discussants


2024 AERA Annual Meeting

Call for Volunteer Session Chairs and Discussants
Deadline to Volunteer: September 19, 2023


The quality of the AERA Annual Meeting depends on education researchers with appropriate expertise serving as chairs and discussants for paper sessions and as chairs for roundtables. The portal for Chairs and Discussants to sign up to volunteer for the 2024 Annual Meeting is open and accessible on the AERA website (click on ‘My AERA’ at the top of the screen, after logging in, and then scroll down to 2024 AERA Annual Meeting and click on "2024 AERA Annual Meeting Online Portal - Click Here to Volunteer to be a Chair or Discussant." 

Researchers are encouraged to volunteer and provide sufficient information on their backgrounds and expertise to permit program chairs in divisions and SIGs to create sessions with persons appropriate to serve in these roles.

Persons interested in serving are encouraged to volunteer early. The portal for volunteers will remain open until September 19, 2023. After that date, program chairs and committees will be constituting sessions; chairs and discussants will be identified for their units’ paper sessions and roundtables.

In volunteering, please keep in mind that the 2024 Annual Meeting will be held from Thursday, April 11 – Sunday, April 14, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All chairs and discussants must be registered attendees. Please review the roles and responsibilities of the chair and discussant, as set forth below. Serving as a chair or discussant is an important substantive role. The quality of sessions is enhanced by the participation of individuals with appropriate substantive background and facilitative skill.  

Volunteer for Service

When? The system will remain open through 11:59 pm Pacific time on September 19, 2023, for volunteering as chair or discussant only.

How? Individuals interested in being considered to serve as chairs or discussants are encouraged to register as a volunteer for a specific unit (division, SIGs, or committees) through the AERA 2024 Annual Meeting Online Portal. Log in with your username and password by clicking "My AERA" at the top of the screen. After you login, scroll down to 2024 AERA Annual Meeting and click on "2024 AERA Annual Meeting Online Portal - Click Here to Volunteer to be a Chair or Discussant." Volunteers who are selected by program chairs to serve on review panels will be notified by email on November 14, 2023. 

Where? Individuals may serve for more than one unit as a chair and/or discussant. Keep in mind the participation limits as described in the Call for Submissions: an individual may not appear as first author on more than two submissions; in addition, an individual may not appear on the program more than four times (e.g., in the role of chair, discussant, presenter, or participant).

Who? Any attendee may volunteer for consideration to serve as a chair or discussant. Chairs and discussants need to have substantive background and expertise appropriate to the substance of the session; thus, please answer the questions relevant to your background and experience. Graduate students may serve as chairs or discussants as long as they bring the appropriate level of expertise. All individuals selected as chairs and discussants are expected to register and attend the Annual Meeting and be present at the scheduled sessions. 

Paper Session and Roundtable Session Formats

Paper and roundtable session formats are used by program chairs to group accepted papers. Formats provide a means for grouping related papers into sessions, with different opportunities for audience interaction and participation.

Paper Session. Paper sessions must have a chair; discussant(s) are optional. Chairs and discussants for paper sessions are identified by unit program chairs, co-chairs, or chairs and program committees. In paper sessions, authors present abbreviated versions of their papers, followed by comments/critique, if there is a discussant, and audience discussion. A discussant (or discussants) is to be included as part of a paper session only if a discussant’s expertise can add to the understanding of the papers. A typical structure for a session with four or five papers is approximately 5 minutes for the chair’s introduction to the session, 10 minutes per author presentation, 20 minutes of critique, and 15 minutes of discussion.

Session chairs may adjust the timing based on the number of presentations and discussants (where applicable) scheduled for the session. Individuals must be attentive to the time allocation for presenting their work in paper sessions. In the case of multiple authored papers, more than one person may present, but multiple presenters are urged to be attentive to the total time available to them. They should take steps to ensure that including more than one speaker does not detract from the overall presentation of the work or infringe on the time allotments for other presentations. 

Roundtable Session. Roundtable sessions allow maximum interaction among presenters and with attendees. Papers accepted for roundtables will be grouped by the program chair into a table of three to five researchers of accepted papers clustered around shared interests. Each roundtable at a roundtable session will have a designated chair knowledgeable about the research area to facilitate interaction and participation. Because the emphasis is on interaction among authors and attendees, there will be no discussants. Each roundtable session will be scheduled for a 90-minute time slot. Also, because of the emphasis on interaction, presenting author(s) of each paper make very brief opening remarks to capture what was done and the salience of the work. Each roundtable session is scheduled for a 90-minute time slot. After the chair introduces the roundtable session, each presenting author speaks briefly (approx. 5 minutes max) with the rest of the time being discussion. Authors are not making long paper presentations but rather, are briefly sharing their perspective.