In This Issue

Toolkit for program chairs

Includes strategies for future chairs to organize the program

By Arathi Sethumadhavan

In this article, I am highlighting some of the steps that I employed in my tenure as APA Division 21 Program Chair to organize the program. These strategies may prove beneficial for future program chairs.

Put up the call for proposals in as many venues (including social networking websites) as possible. This includes:

  • APA Division 21 email list

  • APA and HFES groups on LinkedIn
    The Humanfactors blog website

  • Facebook

  • Came up with symposium or paper themes that would potentially attract more attendees. For example, because this year’s conference is in Orlando, a topic that was included in the program is the application of human factors and ergonomics in Disney.

  • Solicited participation from a local University, with a “Focus on a University” session. For example, this year the focus will be on the human factors research conducted in University of Central Florida. In addition to a symposium, there are also several poster sessions that will be presented by undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Solicited participation from local human factors practitioners. This works well for these individuals because it is a resume booster and is cheaper.

  • Attempted to increase cross-divisional participation by including presentations that would cater to other divisions such as military and clinical psychology. For example, this year we have a session on “Military human factors”. In fact, there are several sessions this year that Program Chairs of other divisions requested to be colisted with.

  • Reached out to colleagues and friends in the Human Factors field to seek their interest in participating in the conference. Often times, I proposed a potential theme for a talk or symposium.

  • Reached out to the individual who was most recently elected Fellow of the Division to determine his interest in participating in the program.

Special thanks to Anne McLaughlin, the 2011 Program Chair who passed down all her strategies to me. I could not have done this without her help.