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 2020 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:

Complimentary Annual Meeting registration for all eligible speakers - Speakers must log in to registration site to complete their registration. The registration site will recognize them by their email address and will allow speakers to complete their registration. If an Annual Meeting speaker would like to attend any of the Annual Courses scheduled on Wednesday, February 10 - the morning of Friday, February 12, there will be additional registration fees associated.
Deadline incentive* = 1 hotel night in the ACNS group block at the conference hotel the Hilton Austin per eligible talk
Speakers are responsible for booking their own reservation at the host hotel the Hilton Austin in the ACNS group block. Rooms booked at other hotels, through a third party vendor or outside of the ACNS group block are not eligible for the incentive.
*Deadline incentive - available to speakers who meet all deadlines set forth in their invitations.
Eligible talk – presentations of 30 minutes or more, panel participation not eligible for incentive
Speakers are expected to comply with deadlines set forth in their speaking invitations as follows:
  • Acceptance of speaking invitation                                  As set forth in speaker invitation
  • Completion of COI Disclosure Form                               As set forth in speaker invitation
  • Submission of presentation slides from speakers reporting COI                      January 14, 2021
Annual Meeting speakers - Slides required for CME review, speaker ready room. Handouts are not provided.
Speakers who successfully meet all deadlines set forth in their invitations are eligible for the “deadline incentive” detailed in the ACNS Speaker Compensation Policy.
Speakers in ACNS educational activities are expected to comply with all ACCME and ACNS policies and standards related to independence of education from commercial influence.
Speakers found to be in violation of any policy or standard shall:
  • Upon first offense – Receive a warning letter, explaining the violation and future action if repeated;
  • Upon second offense – Receive a one-year suspension from speaking in all ACNS educational activities; and
  • Upon a third offense – Receive a multi-year suspension from speaking in all ACNS educational activities.
Panel discussants will not receive additional reimbursement beyond the speaker incentive they receive for symposia presentations.
Travel 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.



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 are asked to upload their presentations to the speaker management site prior to arriving onsite. If slides are not uploaded prior to arrival they must be submitted onsite to the speaker ready room 24 hours prior to the start of the presentation.

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.
Last updated: June 22, 2020