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    Conference Volunteer Responsibilities and Best Practices

    Thank you for serving. The quality and success of SPIE conferences is greatly dependent on your leadership efforts. Your role as a Conference Chair, Program Committee Member or Session Chair are critical to the success of SPIE meetings.

    Interested in Volunteering?
    Conference Chair Responsibilities
    Program Committee Responsibilities
    Session Chair Responsibilities
    Service as a Privilege

    If you have any questions or concerns at any point along the way, please don't hesitate to contact your Conference Program Coordinator.


    Interested in Volunteering?

    SPIE volunteer leaders are the public face and ambassadors of SPIE. They have unique responsibilities to uphold ethical and professional standards of conduct as individuals when participating in SPIE conferences and/or representing SPIE in any official capacity. All chairs and committee members must agree to abide by the SPIE Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policies.

    SPIE continually seeks new ideas for conferences and actively looks for outstanding technical individuals to chair them. SPIE staff work closely with Symposium and Program Track Chairs to find qualified Conference Chairs and develop new conferences. Conference Chairs then invite and confirm their Technical Committee Members; when doing this the SPIE Board urges volunteers to be ambitious when creating their committees and work to represent the broad diversity of our community.

    If you are interested in becoming a Conference Chair or serving on a Technical Committee, or would like more information,  please contact the Conference Program Coordinator.


    Conference Chair

    Chairs are confirmed by SPIE. They are responsible for securing an active program committee, creating a Call for Papers, reviewing submissions, organizing sessions, assigning session chairs, presiding over the conference at the meeting, and reviewing proceedings manuscripts.

    Conference Chairs and Program Committee Members act on behalf of SPIE and acknowledge that personal data and privileged information, or ideas obtained through access to conference abstracts and manuscripts prior to presentation or publication for the purpose of conference organization or review, must be kept confidential and must not be used for competitive gain.

    For a conference that is part of an established grouping or track involving other conferences, the Chair must be aware of the most closely related conferences and liaise with those chairs to minimize subject overlap and/or arrange for joint sessions.

    Chairs will encourage manuscript submission and expedite review of papers for a volume of SPIE Proceedings, involving program committee members as appropriate, and contribute an Introduction for the conference proceedings volume. Proceedings are a critical component of the conference experience. Without proceedings, the value of the conference experience is undermined, as is our ability to disseminate valuable information to the global photonics community, a key element of SPIE's mission.

    Chairs may continue to serve if their conference is thriving and they have the support of the program committee. However, Chair rotation is encouraged to keep content current, generate fresh ideas, and allow for the participation of others.

    Your Conference Program Coordinator will provide you with due dates for the Call for Papers and Conference Technical Program for your specific conference. Adhering to the due dates/deadlines so that we can promote the meeting and send author notifications is critical to the success of your conference!


    Program Committee

    The program committee is formed by the conference chair(s). A well-structured program committee will have a range of expertise to span the subject area, including well-established and recognized leaders in the field from academia, government, and industry as appropriate. Program committees should also reflect diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, lifestyle, and geography. The inclusion of early career professionals is encouraged. The inclusion of ‘big names' as a draw is encouraged only if these individuals agree to play a significant active role in the conference.

    Inactive program committee members will be rotated off after two successive occasions of negligible involvement, in the interests of efficiency and to and allow for the participation of others.


    Session Chair

    Chairs will either act as a session chair or assign session chairs to make sure that the conference runs smoothly. Conference Chairs will distribute the session report forms to the session chairs. Session chairs will introduce the session topic, speakers, maintain the schedule, and be prepared for the unexpected.
    If a speaker fails to appear, the session chair will fill the open time with a standby paper, discussion topics, question and answer session, or an open discussion. Moving papers to new times is not an option, as attendees make their plans to attend talks based on the published schedule; the top complaint from attendees is that the paper they came to see was not presented at the scheduled time.
    After the sessions, chairs and/or session chairs will hand in the session report forms to the Registration Desk or Speaker Check-In Desk.


    Service as a Privilege

    SPIE reserves the right to revoke or otherwise limit the privilege of participating in chair or program committee activities. All Chair and Committee activities are subject to approval by the SPIE Board of Directors or Executive Committee.