2017 Annual Meeting and Courses, February 8-12, 2017, 2016 Phoenix, Arizona

Session Director Handbook

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Thank you for agreeing to serve as a Session Director in the ACNS Annual Meeting. Session Directors have consistently made a difference and have continued to raise the bar for outstanding schedule of sessions every year. This manual intends to provide a few reminders to ACNS Session Directors to help us to continue to offer the highest quality CME-approved program to our members and participants. Please review the following responsibilities of Session Co-Directors:


  • Gap Analysis and Needs Assessment
    Session Directors are responsible for reviewing the Gap Analysis and Needs Assessment, provided by the ACNS Continuing Medical Education Committee, as a guide when developing the content of their courses. Sessions should directly address the knowledge gaps identified by the CME Committee and remain consistent with the overall Educational Mission of the Society.

    Please refer to the complete 2017 Educational Mission and Gap Analysis and Needs Assessment provided HERE.
  • Session Agenda
    Session directors are asked to outline an agenda for their planned session, including the time allotted for each presentation, discussion, breaks, etc. Previous year’s session agendas are available HERE as examples.
    • Please allow time for introduction of speakers and transition from one speaker to the next.
    • Most importantly, please ensure adequate time for questions and discussion. The session director is responsible for limiting speaker discussion if the program is running over the allotted time (see on-site responsibilities below).
  • Speaker & Topic Selection
    Session directors are also tasked with selection of speakers who will be committed to their respective session and selection of topics relevant to the program as a whole.

    It is recommended that speakers are current ACNS members or join no later than October 1 to be eligible to speak in the Annual Meeting. Non-members should be selected as speakers only when they contribute expertise not available within the ACNS membership.

    Please limit the number of speakers to no more than one (1) speaker per 30 minutes. Please refer to the Budget section below for further information.
  • Timelines
    Session Directors are responsible for ensuring that they and their speakers adhere to the timelines and that they and their speakers comply with all ACNS and ACCME guidelines, including but not limited to submission of Conflict of Interest (COI) Disclosure statements and presentation slides. Speakers who do not comply with these guidelines or follow the prescribed timeline may be removed from the agenda at the discretion of the Program and CME Committees, at which time the Session Director will be responsible for naming a replacement.
  • Slide Review
    Session Directors will serve as slide editors for their program and are asked to review the slides of all speakers prior to the start of the session. A thorough review will prevent topic overlap and allow for time to remove potential redundancy, as well as prevent speakers from preparing to present too much content for their allotted presentation time.


Speaker Compensation has been determined by ACNS policy as follows for the Annual Meeting. Session Directors are responsible for ensuring that the agenda they have proposed adheres to the following policies:

  • Honoraria
    • Honorarium will be based on a flat rate of $450 per hour. This amount will be divided among speakers according to length of presentation.
    • Policy requires that Session Directors limit the number of speakers to no more than one (1) speaker per 30 minutes. If too many speakers are proposed, Session Director(s) must either:
      • Indicate which speakers are to receive honoraria
      • Agree to total honoraria for session to be divided equally among all speakers
    • There is no separate honorarium for Session Directors or Co-Directors. Directors are paid an honorarium only if they are speaking in the session, per the policy above.
    • The Program Committee Co-Chairs must review and may approve each session’s speakers within the overall honoraria budget.
    • The ACNS Executive Committee must approve all honoraria requests outside the established budget.

Example: A session lasting a total of two hours with three presentations, one lasting one hour and two lasting 30 minutes each would receive the following:
$900 total honorarium for the session
Speaker 1 (one hour presentation): $450
Speaker 2 (30 minute presentation): $225
Speaker 3 (30 minute presentation): $225

Special Interest Groups, case presentations, and brief presentations (less than 15 minutes in length) will not be eligible for honoraria. Panel discussants will not receive additional reimbursement beyond the honoraria they receive for symposia presentations.

  • Travel & Housing
    Travel and housing expenses will not be reimbursed and will be at the responsibility of the speaker. Exceptions must be approved by both the Program and Executive Committees.
  • Registration
    Annual Meeting speakers will receive complimentary registration to the session in which they are speaking, which includes the option to claim CME credit for that session only. If the speaker wishes to attend the entire Annual Meeting or any other sessions on the day they are speaking, they must pay the corresponding Annual Meeting registration fees. Additionally, if a speaker wishes to attend any of the Annual Courses, they must pay for those individual courses.


Program Moderation

  • Session Directors will serve as moderators for their program and should arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the start of their session to perform the final test of the AV equipment, including computers, projectors, laser pointers and sound systems. Computer, projection and sound equipment are set up by the hotel AV team and tested by ACNS staff prior to the Annual Meeting.
  • Session Directors should remain at their session for the entire session to continue to moderate audience participation and to keep the discussions lively. In addition, Session Directors need to be available to manage any potential problems that may arise.
  • Session Directors should ensure that their programs begin on time and that their respective speakers and sessions remain on schedule. Subsequent sessions may be scheduled in the same room with only a short break between sessions. Please make sure that you clear the room on time to allow subsequent Session Directors and speakers adequate time to set up the next program.
  • Please encourage speakers to bring the most recent version of their talk to be uploaded to the session room computer at least 15 minutes prior to the start of their “block” of presentations (i.e. prior to the start of the session, during coffee breaks, lunch, etc.) of their time break for the scheduled session.
  • Speakers may bring their laptops as own back-up in the case of an emergency. However, it is recommended that Course directors load all speakers’ talks onto one computer, provided in the session room, to avoid delays between lectures.

Audience Participation

  • Session Directors are encouraged to introduce speakers, repeat audience questions into the microphone for all to hear, and to moderate discussion.
  • Session Directors should request that members of the audience introduce themselves briefly before speaking during Q&A sessions.