Program Chair Responsibilities

The main goal of the Program Chair(s) and Committee (the PC) is to create a good, well balanced program at the SIGCSE Technical Symposium and the ITiCSE conference. The program should provide both short and long term benefits to the conference attendees and the wider community.

The PC should communicate clearly with the community. This communication includes

  • Call for Participation (CFP)
    • Clearly indicate any specific computing education topics that are being emphasized within the conference theme, if there are any.
    • Emphasize that the PC will only consider original work.
    • Emphasize that the PC will only accept polished work as no review-revise-review cycle exists.
    • Request that all paper submissions include a review of previous, related work.
  • Web site
    • The bullets listed above under CFP apply here also.
  • Call for Reviewers and review assignment letter
    • Select reviewers - the reviewing system supports this step; the PC can control who reviews what.
    • Instruct reviewers about the importance of their task and ask them to approach it carefully. Make it clear that the PC expects constructive, specific comments in each of the review categories for each paper, not just numeric indicators. Include a statement that recalcitrant reviewers (those who do not submit reviews, or do not include any comments within their review, or who submit inappropriate reviews - for example reviews with derogatory comments) will be removed from the database.
    • Again, emphasize that the PC expects to see appropriate acknowledgement of previous related work.
    • Although historically SIGCSE has assigned up to four papers to each reviewer, the Board suggests this number be reduced to three. This is because the Symposium/Conference is asking for detailed, crafted and informative reviews.

The PC should ensure all papers receive proper consideration. Towards this goal, the PC should:

  • Continue to use the double-blind reviewing process.
  • Obtain at least four reviews per paper plus a meta-review - this might mean that as the deadline approaches, the PC may have to ask help from colleagues, conference committee members, and board members.
  • Specifically examine papers with outlying or otherwise disparate reviews - the reviewing software can aid in identifying such papers.
  • Specifically examine reviews for which a reviewer indicates a low familiarity with the paper topic.
  • Read and consider all "confidential comments for committee only" made by reviewers.

Each PC should help improve the paper selection process for future PCs. Towards this goal the PC should, after the program selection process is completed:

  • Suggest improvements to this policy.
  • Remove recalcitrant reviewers from the current reviewer pool.

The PC should inform recalcitrant reviewers that they have been removed from the database, and why they were removed. The PC should also record the removal decisions for posterity within the database, using the tools provided by the database team. Note that recalcitrant reviewers can simply "opt in" for reviewing the following year. However, if someone is guilty of repeated offenses (two offenses within a three year period), SIGCSE will remove them from reviewing for three years. This protocol should be communicated to the recalcitrant reviewers.

Finally, below is a "calendar" to help the PC organize its work. Events are ordered by when they should be done, with respect to the conference. For example, -14 months means 14 months before the conference. Note that these times should NOT be taken literally - they are approximations only. The actual dates will depend on which conference (SIGCSE or ITiCSE), concerns about timing related to semesters beginning/ending or holidays, the program committee meeting date, the due date for publication materials, and so on. The PC should carefully construct its actual calendar.

  • -14.0 months - Committee should be mostly set
  • -13.0 months - Create Call for Participation (CFP)
  • -12.0 months - Distribute CFP at previous conference
  • -12.0 months - Committee meets with previous year's counterparts at conference
  • -10.0 months - Distribute CFP by mail
  • - 7.0 months - Send reviewer registration reminder
  • - 6.0 months - Send submission deadline reminder for papers, panels, special sessions, and workshops
  • - 5.5 months - Close paper, panel, special session and workshop submission
  • - 5.2 months - Assign papers to reviewers and send assignment to reviewers
  • - 4.4 months - Send review deadline reminder (to those with missing reviews)
  • - 4.2 months - Close reviewing
  • - 4.1 months - Send "thanks" to reviewers and allow them to view the other reviews for "their" papers
  • - 4.0 months - Send submission deadline reminder for BOFs and posters
  • - 4.0 months - Help Conference Chair(s) set Planning Meeting agenda
  • - 4.0 months - Prepare initial analysis of submissions in anticipation of meeting
  • - 3.7 months - Planning Meeting (determine program)
  • - 3.6 months - Send acceptance letters
  • - 3.6 months - Send rejection letters and suggest alternate submission options when appropriate
  • - 3.0 months - Camera-ready copy of papers, panels, special sessions workshops due
  • - 3.0 months - Close BOF and posters submission
  • - 3.0 months - Solicit and assign session chairs
  • - 2.5 months - Send accept/reject notes for BOF and posters
  • - 2.0 months - Create letter for Proceedings
  • - 1.7 months - Proceedings due to ACM printer
  • - 1.2 months - Program due to ACM printer
  • - 1.0 months - Prune reviewer pool within the database and send note to dropped reviewers
  • + 1.0 months - Update this document