Conference Policies

Policy for Session Participants


The deadline for receipt of all items as specified below is a month before the first full day of the annual conferences.

Anyone on the program who cannot present at the conference should notify the appropriate chair and commentator as well as the conference coordinator. Failure to do so has consequences. The Northern Great Plains History Conference written operating statement bans anyone who does not show and who does not submit appropriate notices from presenting for the next three years.

Length of papers: All presenters should emphasize brevity, because of the relatively short session times. Paper presenters and the commentator are all entitled to approximately equal times. Typically, the annual conferences have 90 and 120 minute time slots. Therefore, participants should adhere to the following formats:

90 minutes 2 papers and commentary 20 minutes each.
90 minutes 3 papers and commentary 15-17 minutes each.
120 minutes 2 papers and commentary 30 minutes each.
120 minutes 3 papers and commentary 22-23 minutes each.

These allocations allow time for introductions by the chair and audience participation.

Normally, it takes two minutes to read a typed double-spaced page with one-inch margins. Because of different font sizes, various reading speeds, and sometimes use of AV materials, all presenters should ascertain their delivery time in advance.

In order to facilitate determination of lengths, all papers should have full page texts (double-spaced with one inch margins) and endnotes rather than footnotes. Presenters should also report the word count of their texts to the session chair and commentator. (Each double-spaced page with one inch margins is about 280 words.)

Paper Presenters

Submit your paper and brief vita to both the chair and commentator. If you fail to meet the submission deadline, notify the chair and commentator of your anticipated submission date.

Submit any equipment request to the conference coordinator as soon as you have determined it. Such requests should be made no later than the paper submission deadline.

Be sure that all equipment is in working order before the start of the session.

Keep your presentation within the prescribed time limit.

If you have submitted your paper too late to allow the commentator adequate time to evaluate it, please inform the audience that the commentator will not be considering your paper because of your tardiness. Please confer with the commentator before making any such announcement, because that person may choose to comment despite your lateness.

You are also urged to send a copy of your paper to each of the participants in the session as a means of enhancing scholarly interchange.


Before the conference:

Assess the length of papers and for any that are too long notify the presenter to adjust it and to send the revised copy to both you and the commentator.

Contact those who are tardy about submitting their papers ASAP.

If presenters do not submit papers and other materials make every effort to contact them and determine their status.

Inform the conference coordinator about any missing papers.

At the conference:

Manage the room ambience including such things as outside noises as well as those from heating or air-conditioning systems.

Briefly introduce yourself, the presenters, and the commentator.

Control the session—start and finish it on time and limit presenters to their allotted times. Ask presenters if they want you to time them and send cues.

Provide the opportunity for presenters to respond briefly to the commentator's remarks.

Direct, and, if necessary, stimulate audience questions and comments regarding papers and commentary.


Submit your vita to the session chair.

Be concerned mainly with providing a perspective for the papers and stimulating discussion.

In pointing out any shortcomings, please use constructive criticism. Refrain from such things as making snide remarks, using sarcasm or demeaning someone's inexperience.

Panel discussions and other non-paper format sessions

Moderators should introduce all participants and otherwise manage the session.

All participants should send their short vitae to all other participants. Provide the moderator with a brief preview of your presentation.

Allow adequate time for audience participation.