American Sociological Association

Volunteer to be a Presider, Table Presider, or Discussant

ASA is now accepting volunteers to serve as Presider, Table Presider, or Discussant for sessions on the 2018 program. Volunteers identify the topics in which they are interested, and session organizers will contact volunteers directly if they are looking for presiders or discussants. Volunteering does not guarantee an invitation will be extended, and these roles do count towards the program participation limit of two appearances. The deadline to volunteer is January 11, 2018.

To volunteer:
1. Log in with your ASA username and password on the ASA portal
2. Under the header Annual Meeting, click on the link "Volunteer for Presider, Table Presider, Discussant"

Session Presider Responsibilities:

  • Prior to coming to the meeting, coordinate with the session organizer and the presenters about desired protocols, time limits, and audio visual use
  • Ask authors to summarize their papers, focusing on central issues and findings rather than attempting to read their papers in their entirety
  • Announce the session topic, welcome the attendees, and summarize the structure for presentations/discussion at the meeting
  • Introduce each presenter/presentation, and if applicable, the discussant
  • Apply appropriate time limits for each presentation
  • Moderate Q&A with the audience
  • Adjourn the session on time

Table Presider Responsibilities (for Refereed Roundtables):

  • Introduce the table topic and each presenter/presentation
  • Ensure presenters have equal presentation time
  • Facilitate discussion between presenters and table attendees
  • Close discussion at the end of the session

Session Discussant Responsibilities:

  • Read the papers for the session in advance and contact authors if questions arise as you prepare your comment
  • Identify questions for both the authors and the audience to consider
  • Note points of similarity and, especially, differences in the papers or approaches to the topic
  • Coordinate with the session presider on the amount of time available for your remarks


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