Chapter D8: Plenary Session

Prepared by John Heaton of IMS2009

Table of Contents

o       IMS2010

o       IMS2011

o       IMS2012

o       IMS2014

o       IMS2015

o       IMS2017

Purpose and Duties

The purpose of the Plenary Session is to provide the IMS attendees with insight in an area of high interest from an expert or industry leader, and to present some MTTS awards, usually to newly elected fellows.One or two speakers depending on the session length are chosen by the Plenary Session chairperson and General Chair in an emerging or growing field of high interest to attendees.The Plenary Session Chairpersonís duties include initially compiling lists of proposed topics and speakers, then a short list for discussion at the steering committee meetings.Then comes selection of a speaker candidate and alternates in concert with the General Chair.Next, the Plenary Chair contacts the selected speaker and if necessary alternates to schedule participation. The Plenary Session Chair then plans the session including the awards and arranges publication of the Plenary Program that is distributed to all attendees.Close interaction with the MTT Awards Chair is needed to determine which awards will be presented at the plenary, and to obtain necessary information for the Plenary Program Book. Also included are selecting the location and set-up for the session with Local Arrangements, generation of the slide set that will be used in the session, and generating the detailed step by step play book for the session. Finally, the Session Chair participates in the running of the session and may serve as the master of ceremonies for the session.

Suggested Membership Structure

The Plenary Session Chair may select a co-chair but in general interfaces with local arrangements, publications, protocol, and MTT Awards Chair to accomplish the needed tasks.If possible, the co-chair would take responsibility for the Plenary Program Book. A Master of Ceremonies for the Plenary Session may be recruited from MTTS leaders.

Timeline of Events

The critical timing aspect of the Plenary Session planning is selecting a short list of speakers with enough advance notice for them to clear their schedules for the date of the Plenary Session.Potential speakers are normally very difficult to book without at least 6 months notice.This can become more critical if potential speakers do not respond to the invitation to speak in a timely fashion.


A suggested time line appears in the table that follows. Timeline.doc

Description of Events


Select Plenary Session Chair:

At the time of formulation of the IMS steering committee, the General Chair asks for interested persons to support various functions and selects a Plenary Session Chair.

Plenary Session Topics and Preliminary List of Possible Speakers for Discussion at Steering Committee Meeting

To facilitate selection of a topic for the Plenary Session, the Plenary Chair leads a discussion of topics at a Steering Committee Meeting. A good starting point is a table showing topics and speakers for previous IMS and CSIC meetings (IMSCSICPastPlenarySpeakers.xls)As shown, the most popular topic has been the future of the high volume commercial market.Once a topic has been selected, the Plenary Chair generates a list of potential speakers for discussion.

Select Short List of Speakers and Send Invitations to Speakers

After some discussion at Steering Committee meetings, the Plenary Chair, General Chair and TPC Chair meet to generate a short list of potential speakers in order of preference.The Plenary Chair then uses this list to contact potential speakers and engage a speaker.It is important to begin this process early in case potential speakers do not respond quickly or several must be contacted.

Request Speakers Abstract and Generate Input for Program Book

Information is needed from the plenary speaker for the program book which will have a hard publication deadline.It may take the speaker several weeks to generate his abstract so plan accordingly.The Plenary Session Program Book material from IMS2009 appears in PlenaryForProgram.pdf

Expanded Abstract for CD ROM

There is an opportunity to use an expanded abstract of the Plenary Session in the CD ROM, because the CD ROM will have a later publication date.Alternately, the abstract from the Program Book may be used.The expanded abstract used for IMS2009 appears in PlenaryForCDROM09.pdf

Contact MMT Awards Chair

A number of awards are usually presented at the Plenary Session with the remainder being presented at the Awards Banquet.The Plenary Chair working with the General Chair and MTTS Awards Chair must determine the awards to be presented at the Plenary Session.Usually the new MTT Fellows and some Fellows recognized by other IEEE societies receive their certificates at the Plenary.The MTT Awards Chair will contact new Fellows and other award recipients to determine if they will attend the Plenary to receive their award and to request photographs and biographies.If he is unable to do so, the Plenary Chair will need to do this, as the material is needed for the Plenary Session Program Book.At this time the Plenary Chair should establish that the MTTS Awards Chair will have the award certificates and plaques made and will make sure they are delivered to the auditorium before the session.

Submit Plenary Program Book to Publications

The Plenary Session Program Book is distributed to Plenary Session attendees.The publication deadline is typically 4 to 6 weeks before the symposium but may be somewhat variable, depending on the firm selected for printing.The Plenary Chair must interface with the Publications Chair on format and the schedule for initial submission, reviews, and final review.The Program Book will contain the Agenda, and a photograph and biography of each major award recipient as well as of the speaker(s).The new fellows are typically listed without photograph of biography.The 2009 Plenary Session Program Book appears in IMS2009-PlenarySessionBook-Cover.jpg and IMS2009-PlenarySessionBook-Inside.pdf

Generate Slides for Plenary

The Plenary Session slide set contains slides to be used by each of the speakers.Typically there is a session title slide, General Chairís welcome slides, TPC Chairís welcome slides, Possibly MTTS Presidentís welcome slides, introduction slides for the person presenting the awards (usually the Awards Chair), a photograph of each awards recipient, and the speakerís slides.†† In addition, a photograph of each speaker is shown as they are introduced.The Plenary Chair should request slide from those speaking early enough to allow for negotiations if some have more slides than the Cue list has planned for.The Plenary Session slide set from 2009 appears in CueListSlidesPlenary2009Final.pdf


Generate Cue List for Plenary

The cue list is a time sequenced list of activities including who is speaking, duration of the activity and what is being projected.It serves as a detailed schedule, and must sum to the allocated time for the schedule.The cue list is circulated to all plenary speakers to alert them of time allocations. Some negotiation may be required to make everything fit. The Plenary Session cue list from 2009 is shown in the following: 2009_plenary_cue_list_Final.xls

Check Auditorium

The Plenary Chair should meet with the projectionist the day before the session and go over the slide set.In addition, like video of speakers is typically projected as well and the projectionist will want to know when to switch from a photograph of the speaker to the live video.The auditorium should be set up with a stage with two sets of stairs for award recipients to enter and exit, a table with microphones for those giving presentations, a podium for speakers and a table to hold the awards.

Dry Run

A walk through for all those presenting is advisable to make sure everyone understands who is presenting what and who they will be introducing as the next speaker.It is not necessary to have the award recipients present.Last minute details need to be arranges, such as who is bringing the awards to the auditorium, who is bringing the programs to the auditorium and who is placing the programs on the seats.

During the Session

It is helpful if the Plenary Chair or a delegate sits with the projectionist during the session.He will be able to make real time decisions as to what slide to project if someone is missing or gets out of sequence and when to go from photos of speakers to live video.

Problems Encountered


One problem encountered in 2009 was excessive slide being submitted for those speaking during the introduction.The actual slides were late in being submitted leaving very little time to negotiate reductions.One speaker committed to moving quickly rather than reducing the number of slides and the session ran overtime.Luckily, no event immediately followed the Plenary, and the overrun was accommodated.

Another problem was the failure of one of the award presenters to attend.Another presenter filled in without an issue.To prevent this from happening, the Plenary Chair should contact each speaker the day before the session to reiterate place and time for the dry run and session.

Suggestions and Recommendations


In 2009, the Plenary Session was held on Tuesday at 5:00 following the regular sessions.The time slot was reduced to 90 minutes, allowing time for one speaker.Although there was concern that attendance might be adversely impacted it was not, and in the future this time could be used without concern for attendance.It has also become customary to have a venue specific video or performance before the firs speaker takes to podium.Foe 2009, a minute men reenactment group was commissioned and marched in playing fife and drum.



By following the plan and recommendations above, future Plenary Sessions should be very successful.The 2009 session was well received and was carried out without incident for the most part.

IMS Recent Reports



IMS2010_Reports\PLENARY SESSION Final Report.doc












IMS2014_Reports\IMS_ Program_Special_Sessions.docx







IMS2017_Reports\2600 IMS2017 Plenary Session.pdf