Policies and Guidelines for Annual Conference Presenters

Policies and guidelines may be adjusted throughout the 2023 conference planning process based on updated planning details. ASPA staff will keep interested parties as informed as possible; please continue to check these details for updates as well. 

Please read the below bullet points carefully as they will guide your 2023 Annual Conference participation. Failure to abide by any of these guidelines could result in your not being able to serve as a presenter.

  • All program presenters must register and pay for the conference. No exceptions will be made.
  • Payment must be received before your presentation takes place, whether recorded or held live. (No exceptions.)
  • All accepted presenters must send any edits to their presentation information and/or professional affiliation information for promotional purposes no later than January 20, 2023.
  • Participation in the conference program is limited to one presentation per person, regardless of session format (ASPA workshops, panels or Chapter/Section sessions) to maximize participation across the profession. Individuals may also serve as a Moderator, Discussant or Coauthor for another session (or sessions) without limitation.
  • Panel sessions should include no more than four papers/presentations to allow time for audience participation. All panels must have a moderator or convener who is responsible for ensuring panelists are communicating with each other both in advance of the panel taking place as well as throughout any other conference responsibilities associated with the panel.
  • Each presenter must abide by the session time constraints. Sessions that are pre-recorded and run over time will be truncated to fit the time allowances with no regard for the content being presented.
  • Every effort should be made to have a diverse mix of presenters, including demographic diversity and academic and practitioner perspectives.
  • A topic/presenter from a rejected, fully formed panel may be accepted individually and placed within a different panel or session.
  • The conference co-chairs, track reviewers and staff reserve the right to alter, combine and edit proposals as they plan sessions for the conference.
  • Speakers who cancel their participation after accepting a presenter role two consecutive years in a row may be deemed ineligible to participate on future sessions.
  • Concurrent sessions are up to 60 minutes long and may be adjusted as needed by ASPA staff.

Session FAQs:

What type of proposals does ASPA invite?
The 2023 ASPA conference encourages three types of session submissions: fully formed panels, individual papers or topics for panel placement, and workshops. 

What is a fully formed panel?
This is a proposal submission that includes four papers or topics that form a single conference panel session. It includes a panel chair and an optional discussant. The convener (individual organizing the proposal) of a panel proposal is responsible for recruiting all of the topics and other components, and planning for the panel execution.

What is a workshop?
This refers to a professional development session that is more relevant to practitioners. Workshops usually feature one or two presenters. The presentation is focused on best practices and functional takeaways for attendees.

What does a strong panel look like?
A strong panel contains four papers, a chair and a discussant. The panel description ties the topics together and clearly indicates how the panel relates to the conference theme and the selected policy and/or cross cutting area. Strong panels include a diverse range of participants taking into account practitioners and scholars; demographic diversity; and research methods and perspectives.

How are individual papers assigned?
Program co-chairs, track reviewers and staff are responsible for finding an appropriate session for an accepted paper proposal. Highly rated individual papers are assigned to a session with other related and commonly themed papers/topics.

What are the descriptions for the various panel roles?
Convener: A convener is an individual responsible for bringing presenters together to address an issue, problem or opportunity. The convener’s primary responsibility is to serve as the organizer and administrator of the collaboration, and to carry out the preliminary and follow-up tasks that ensure the panel proceeds smoothly. The role of convener and moderator are often carried out by the same person, but this is not a requirement.

Moderator: The moderator is responsible for the engagement and timeliness of the panel and ensures the panel is lively and a productive experience for panel members and the audience. The moderator should arrange at least one conference call or online meeting among the panel members prior to the session taking place (either by recording or live broadcast). During the session, the moderator is responsible for managing the time, ensuring the panel starts on time and each panelist has an equitable share of the available time. The moderator also ensures that the panel engages with Q&A, and that the session ends on time. 

Presenter: It is the presenter’s responsibility to communicate the big ideas and rich commentary that is at the core of the issue and/or paper. Under no circumstances should a paper—or its summary—be read to the audience. Rather, the presenter should think carefully about major themes, what members of the audience would find most useful, and how the topic fits into the panel’s overall themes. The audience can always read the paper later; they have selected the panel for a chance to exchange ideas. It is the presenter’s responsibility to present intriguing ideas.

Discussant: The optional discussant is responsible for synthesizing the big ideas and linking them to the topics presented at the panel. The discussant provides insight into each presenter’s value by distilling the central arguments, commenting on the methods, suggesting what implications have the most value, and providing a measure of peer review. After hearing the individual presentations, the discussant should identify—and share with the audience—the common themes that unite them. 

Does ASPA collect conference papers?
Presenters must share their paper or presentation materials amongst their panelists no later than one week prior to the session taking place (either via recording or live broadcast). ASPA also will post any papers/presentations authors care to share with all conference attendees to its website and/or virtual conference platform. All papers/presentations must be supplied by February 24, 2023 in order to be posted in a timely fashion. Any papers/presentations provided after that date will be posted to the virtual conference site as staff time permits.

What presentation technology must I use?
All presenters will utilize PowerPoint to prepare and display presentations. You must have a computer with a webcam and microphone, and a strong internet connection. ASPA urges all conference participants to ensure that use of this technology does not interrupt or delay a session. With no more than 60 minutes for virtual sessions, even a minor delay can greatly hamper the success of a session. Presenting authors will be responsible for screensharing and advancing their slides.

Evaluation Criteria

Below is a list of the criteria that is adopted by track reviewers and conference co-chairs when ranking and selecting sessions for the Annual Conference:
  • Relevance to the conference theme and one of the tracks (see considerations below)
  • Quality and depth of attention to topics at the leading edge of public administration issues
  • Scope of the topic and its breadth of audience appeal
  • Relevance to practitioners and scholars in linking theory and practice
  • Practitioner participation in panels
  • Learning objectives identified and applicable to practitioners (workshops)

2023 Conference Theme: Protecting Democracy for the Next Generation: The Role and Responsibility of Public Administration
The threats to democratic norms in the United States and around the world are known to all of us. The time has come for public administration—as a profession—to shore up our resources, steer the conversation and provide avenues to reinforce democratic principles for current and future generations. Many voices must contribute to these efforts. Ours must be at the forefront.

ASPA’s 2023 Annual Conference, taking place virtually March 20-24, will bring together practitioners, scholars and students from around the world to continue a century-old tradition of bridging research and practice to develop new frameworks, share best practices and showcase new scholarship. 

Recent years have shown weakening democracies amidst a global pandemic that has taken millions of lives and increased inequalities that have existed for decades, if not centuries. Now, emerging global economic volatility has begun to affect nations through inflation and recessionary concerns. Issues considered problematic before are now crises; what were crises are now catastrophes. Notwithstanding noteworthy success in saving lives from COVID-19, improving aging infrastructure and placing renewed emphasis on social justice and racial equity, we also have seen significant backsliding toward autocracy, oppression and ignorance. Even more, the debate between individual freedom and authority undercuts basic societal necessity and rational government structure. Now is the time to loudly and publicly proclaim our commitment to democratic norms and practices, not only in the interest of good governance but to ensure they continue in the near and long term. Public administration “done right” is a beautiful thing. We must celebrate it and showcase its successes.

ASPA’s Annual Conference is the ideal forum for the varied and diverse voices within the public administration community to share information, invite others to learn alongside us and advance excellence in public service. During plenary lectures, concurrent panels, symposia and other forums, we will plan for a more democratic and equitable future.

Seven tracks will shape the discourse, providing focused space to concentrate on current research and practice to help those in the field take the necessary steps for future successes. Review track details to better understand the discussions we anticipate and submit your ideas for how you can contribute by the November 4, 2022 deadline.

Discussion: Conference co-chairs and track reviewers pay close attention to the potential for discussion in a proposal. Panel moderators and presenters are reminded that presentations should NOT be read. It is important that engagement is highlighted as a key part of a proposal. 

Learning Objectives: Workshops will aim to include interaction. Workshops allow practitioners to learn about practical solutions to contemporary issues encountered in the workplace. They are considered "hands on" sessions that should draw attendees into the discussion and offer useful solutions and applications in the work environment. The goal is to create opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas. Workshops should not solely consist of lectures. Workshop proposals should describe how the presenters will incorporate attendees in the learning process, even if through virtual interactions. They will need to list three measurable learning objectives identifying what attendees can expect to take away from the session.

Number of Sessions: The set number of session slots assigned to a track is decided by the co-chairs in consultation with track reviewers and staff. Program planners are guided by the goal of creating a quality program.