Chapter D4

Panel and Rump Sessions

The International Microwave Symposium

Guidelines and Procedures Manual

Prepared by: John Cowles, updated by Phillip Smith (2009)

Reviewed by: Barry Perlman

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose and Duties
  2. Suggested Membership Structure
  3. Timeline of Events
  4. Description of Events
  5. Problems Encountered
  6. Suggestions and Recommendations
  7. Conclusion
  8. IMS Recent Reports
    8.1 IMS2004

8.2 IMS2006

8.3 IMS2009

8.4 IMS2010

8.5 IMS2012

8.6 IMS2015

8.7 IMS2017

1. Purpose and Duties

The panel session committee is responsible for arranging relevant technical and non-technical panel sessions for the symposium. These typically include several lunchtime panels as well as one evening rump session. The first duty is to solicit panel topics and prospective organizers within the Call for Papers. The committee collects the submissions and decides which ones are to be accepted for presentation at the symposium, or if an insufficient number have been proposed, to initiate and/or otherwise solicit additional panel session proposals. A key responsibility is to prepare all the publicity and technical content for the symposium brochures and technical digest. It is also important for the committee to keep in continuous communication with the panel organizers throughout the process, maintaining the schedules and ensuring the panel information is accurate. Finally, the IMS panel session committee must coordinate with the RFIC Symposium Panel Session Chair and the IEEE MTT-S GOLD Committee since they organize separate panels during Microwave Week and may need assistance with local arrangements (signage, room setup, etc.).

2. Suggested Membership Structure

Although this function has been performed by a single person in the past, we recommend that two persons serve on this committee, with one as the lead. One committee person might be sufficient for arranging the panel sessions prior to the symposium, but a second person is required anyway at the symposium in order to help with the logistics and smooth operation of the panels, so we suggest that the second person be involved all along. Some considerations:

  1. Two IMS lunchtime panels may occur simultaneously (often the case on Wednesday)
  2. One IMS and one RFIC panel session typically occur simultaneously on Tuesday
  3. IMS Committee person should arrive early at panel session venue, check room setup, perform manual headcount, and remain in room throughout in case anything unexpected happens (A/V problem, etc.)
  4. Student volunteers can help to perform some functions during the panel session (in 2009, they passed out and collected written feedback forms).
  5. If any additional activities are planned during the panel session, then a third committee person is recommended. In 2009, a third committee person was responsible for setting up RF audience response system (clickers) and ensuring this ran smoothly.

3. Timeline of Events

1. Call for Papers    -12 months

2. Deadline for Proposal Submissions  -9 months

3. Notification of Acceptance   -7 months

4. Finalized Abstracts & Panelists  -6 months

5. Final Details for Publication -5 months

6. Final Instructions to Panel Session Organizers -1 month

7. Symposium  0 month

8. Feedback 1 month

4. Description of Events

1. The Call for Papers, in addition to soliciting technical papers, workshops and special sessions, also solicits panel session proposals from interested organizers on topics of current relevance to Symposium attendees. Anyone may submit a panel session proposal. The Call for Papers invites interested organizers to visit the symposium Website where there is a link to a document (Panel Session Proposal Instructions.doc) that provides instructions on how to submit a panel proposal, as well as the necessary form to complete. Aside from direct e-mail submissions to the Panel Session Chair, proposals may also arrive ad-hoc via the various MTT technical committees.

2. The Deadline for Submissions closes the process to new submissions, assuming enough proposals have been submitted. At this point the collected submissions are forwarded for review/scoring by a subset of the TPC, which typically includes Panel Session Committee Chair and Vice-Chair, TPC Chair(s), Workshop Chair, Special Session Chair, Student Competitions Chair, and Short Course Chair, as well as the IMS General Chair.

3. Once panel topics have been tentatively selected for the symposium by the TPC, it is necessary to confirm with relevant TCC’s that they have no objections to these panels as proposed. This “veto” power must be used sparingly, and only when TCC’s have serious objections to the proposed panel—in which case the panel proposal could be rejected outright or the organizer asked to modify the panel to address the TCC concerns.

4. Once the final panels have been reviewed by relevant TCC’s, a Notification of Acceptance is issued to each organizer who proposed a panel session that was accepted (Acceptance.doc). Notification of any rejections must also occur.

5. The Notification of Acceptance reminds the organizers to submit their Finalized Abstract for the panel session along with an updated list of Panelists with their affiliations.

6. The Finalized Abstracts & Panelists information is submitted for the Program and the Symposium Digest. A summary of all panels appears early in the Program Book (Program All Panels.doc) and more detailed panel summaries appear later in the Program Book (Program Panel Summaries.doc).

6. Shortly before the conference, the organizers are provided final procedural information (Preparation.doc).

7. During the Symposium, the committee is present to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

8. Following the Symposium, the organizers and sponsors are asked to feed back any suggestions or comments to the committee (feedback.doc)

 

5. Problems Encountered

The single largest problem with IMS panels has been a recurring issue with the low number of panel session proposal submissions—in some years only 1 or 2 panels have been proposed before the submission deadline, where typically IMS will seek to put on 5 panels at the conference (4 lunchtime and one evening rump session.)  Efforts to increase the number of proposal submissions include:

  1. Call for panel session proposals included prominently in the Call for Papers.
  2. Communication with TCCs during the summer prior to submission deadline to solicit panel session proposals.
  3. Simplification of the proposal process to allow anyone to submit a panel session proposal, with review by the TCC’s later rather than requiring TCC sponsorship of the proposal during the original submission.
  4. Creation of awards for “highest quality panel” and “highest attendance panel” to incentivize proposal submissions (this was first done in 2009).

A second problem that has occurred recently has been poor coordination with the RFIC Symposium panel session chair. This can be especially problematic since an RFIC panel typically occurs on Monday of Microwave Week, and if RFIC has assumed IMS has taken care of all panel session logistics and we haven’t, that RFIC panel will have issues (such as lack of signage and improper room setup, with no table microphones for panelists, etc.).

Another common shortcoming of IMS panels is that they need to be more interesting and interactive. It is common for panels to be no more than “mini-sessions”, with panelists presenting short summaries to fill the entire time period, allowing little or no time for audience interaction. The best panels:

1.      Pick topics of current interest, and have panelists representing differing viewpoints (i.e. controversy)

2.      Involve the audience. The moderator must manage time carefully, allowing time for audience interaction. Use “audience response systems” to enable real-time polling of audience members (see final report for 2009).

6. Suggestions and Recommendations

  1. Need to aggressively solicit panel session proposals so that there are more proposals than available slots, allowing a downselect that results in the best possible panels being presented at IMS.
  2. Keep the proposal process simple, better educate the general IMS population to the fact that anyone can submit a panel session proposal, keep the TCC review as an “after-the-fact” check rather than a prerequisite that might deter submissions.
  3. Expand the use of audience response systems that was begun as an experiment in 2009 (with purchase and use of only 52 clickers). More detail on this can be found in the IMS2009 final report.
  4. Continue the use of awards as an incentive to organizers, and to recognize their hard work after the conference has occurred. “Highest attendance panel” requires only a headcount to be performed, while “highest quality panel” requires written feedback/scores to be collected (this was first done in 2009).
  5. Closely coordinate with the RFIC Panel Session Chair and the GOLD Committee as they will need assistance with local arrangements for their panels.

7. Conclusion

Panel sessions play a valuable role in IMS, as one of the few events where topics of current interest and importance to the field can be discussed and debated openly, and where anyone in the audience has the opportunity to ask questions of expert panelists as well as express their opinion, no matter how bizarre or controversial.

We need to ensure that IMS panels continue to discuss hot topics of current interest to the microwave community, and that we as conference organizers create the format, structure and tools for these panels to educate, entertain and otherwise involve IMS attendees.

8. IMS Recent Reports

8.1 IMS2004

TPCFinalReport_panel_sessions.doc

8.2 IMS2006

IMS2006_Reports\IMS2006_Panel_Sessions_Final_Report.doc

8.3 IMS2009

IMS2009_Reports\IMS2009_Panel_Sessions_Final_Report.doc

8.4 IMS2010

IMS2010_Reports\PANEL SESSIONS Final Report.doc

8.5 IMS2012

IMS2012_Reports\IMS2012CFPR_Panel_and_Rump.pdf

8.6 IMS2015

IMS2015_Reports\Panel_Session_IMS2015.pdf

8.7 IMS2017

IMS2017_Reports\2300 IMS2017 Panel Sessions.pdf