SMT wishes to create a meeting in which all participants feel safe, welcomed, and included. The items below are suggestions for attendees, including session chairs, to assure that meeting interactions are respectful and inclusive. Session chairs should play an important role in assuring that presenters and audience members are not subject to explicit or implicit displays of bias.
For Individuals: Being Engaged
The goal of achieving an intellectual and social forum that is productive and welcoming depends on the participation of all members of the Society. Any person who witnesses any form of discrimination, harassment, and/or microaggressions should feel empowered to acknowledge the behavior by verbally calling attention to it. Anyone who witnesses unwelcomed behaviors should report it to those in positions of leadership within SMT: session chairs, program committee, members of the SMT Executive Board, SMT leadership.
- Patricia Hall, President
- Michael Buchler, President-Elect
- Gretchen Horlacher, Vice President
- Jocelyn Neal, Treasurer
- Charity Lofthouse, Secretary
- Jennifer Diaz, Executive Director
- Frank Samarotto, Program Chair
- Philip Duker, Networking Chair
Questioners should keep in mind that the purpose of the Q&A is to provide feedback to the presenter and to focus questions on the topics presented.
For Session Chairs
Before the session begins
Learn and use the correct pronunciation of each speaker’s name and ask them about their pronoun preferences.
At the beginning of the Q&A
The session chair should remind the audience that
- this should be a space of respectful and constructive discourse.
- they should ask concise questions and not make broad, sweeping preambles.
- questions should pertain to the speaker’s presentation.
During the Q&A
The session chair should:
- Avoid using gendered pronouns when recognizing questioners.
- Be aware of cultural differences about engagement in Q/A sessions.
- If possible, recognize diverse questioners over the course of a session and do not allow one individual to monopolize the question-and-answer period.
Interventions during the Q&A
- Be aware of signs of aggressive questioning which may border on bullying, especially if directed towards students, early career scholars, or scholars from underrepresented minorities. It is your responsibility as the session chair to intervene in real time if you witness such behavior.
- If the chair senses that a questioner is not specifically addressing the content of the speaker’s paper, the chair should intervene and ask for the questioner to either address the topic of the paper or cease the question.
- If you sense that a questioner is engaging in aggressive questioning, you should verbally cut off the questioner.
- If necessary, remind presenters and attendees of the SMT policy on ethics and policy on harassment.
- If you are required to intervene in a session because of aggressive, bullying, or harassing behaviors, please report the incident to SMT leadership in writing.