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SETAC Professional Training Course
Proposal Guidance

The following information is meant to provide guidance to instructors interested in presenting a professional training course at SETAC North America annual meetings.

Professional Training Course Procedure Overview

The development and presentation of a professional training course at a SETAC annual meeting begins with the submission of a professional training course proposal to the Education and Short Course Committee through the ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM. The proposal should describe the content and approach of the proposed course, the intended audience (backgrounds, level of experience), the proposed instructors and their qualifications, and any particular needs required to present the course material. Details are given in the Requirements For Professional Training Course Proposals section of this page.

Lead Instructor

Submitters of proposals should pay particular attention to the role of the lead instructor. Professional training course lead instructors are responsible for all communications between SETAC, the Education and Short Course Committee, and all other instructors involved with the course during proposal submission and review, course development and preparation, and other activities subsequent to the meetings (e.g., timely submittal of expense reimbursement requests).

Review and Coordination Procedure

The chair of the Education and Short Course Committee will designate a committee member as the coordinator for each course. The coordinator will recruit reviewers and communicate with the lead instructor regarding any questions or necessary modifications to the proposal. The coordinator will make a final recommendation to the chair. Once a course has been accepted for inclusion in the annual meeting program, the coordinator for each course will communicate regularly with the lead instructor about the development of the course. The coordinator will facilitate inquiries and logistical questions and problems, provide oversight of the quality and appropriateness of course materials as they are developed, ensure that course preparations proceed in a timely manner, and serve as conduit for communication between the committee and the lead instructor.  Timelines and deadlines are presented below.

Professional Training Course Format

Professional training courses are either half- or full-day courses. Half-day courses are 4 hours in length and are presented both in the morning (8 a.m.—noon) and afternoon (1—5 p.m.).  A full-day course includes 4-hour sessions in both the morning and afternoon with a lunch break at midday and coffee breaks midmorning and midafternoon. Distribution of course contents and teaching responsibilities is left up to the instructors; distributing course instructional responsibilities among 2 to 4 instructors works well. A typical format might be as follows:

Half-day course
Introduction and overview – 15 min.
First half of material – 90 min.
Coffee break – 15 min.
Second half of material – 90 min.
Review, student questions and course evaluation – 30 min.

Full-day course
Morning session (8 a.m—noon)    
Introduction and overview – 15 min.
Course material – 90 min.
Coffee break – 15 min.
Course material – 90 min.
Review, student questions – 30 min.

Afternoon session (1—5 p.m.)
Course material – 90 min.
Coffee break – 15 min.
Course material – 90 min.
Final review and questions – 30 min.
Course evaluation – 15 min.

These are general format strategies that fit lecture courses well. Courses involving hands-on activities or interactive work may require varied formats. It is very important that the type of course be specifically referred to in the abstract describing the course so that the Education and Short Course Committee, Annual Meeting Program Committee and SETAC staff can evaluate each course in the context of the entire program.

Handouts/Teaching Aids

As much as possible, SETAC will provide professional training course instructors with all necessary instructional equipment, including audio-visual equipment such as screens and computer projectors. Requirements for any specialized equipment such as personal computers, microscopes, aquaria, etc. must be conveyed to the Education and Short Course Committee in the proposal and included in the estimated costs for the course. If necessary, instructors may be requested to provide specialized equipment. SETAC encourages instructors using PowerPoint to bring their own computer to both minimize the cost to SETAC for computer rental and to ensure program compatibility.

Course participants view the course manual to be an important deliverable. The manual should be well thought out and of high quality. It should include all visuals and references used in the course; in addition, materials that summarize and supplement the course prove to be most useful to the participants. Course instructors are responsible for preparation and reproduction of course materials, unless prior approval is received from the Education and Short Course Committee and SETAC staff. SETAC will provide card stock covers with the official SETAC logo and course information to lead instructors prior to the meeting; these covers must be used. The use of electronic formats for providing background/reference materials (e.g., CDs) is encouraged. Instructors are also responsible for shipping the manuals and other materials directly to the site of the annual meeting; shipping information will be provided by the SETAC office. A sufficient number of extra copies should be shipped to allow for additional on-site registration (SETAC will advise instructors).  A final digital copy of all materials is also required for the SETAC archive.

Presentations should closely follow the outline for the course and this should be included in the course manual, and it should also include a clear delineation of instructor assignments. The cohesiveness of the outline is an important criterion for the success of the course and should be reviewed by all instructors and the committee.

Costs and Reimbursement

Although SETAC appreciates and encourages the volunteerism that has contributed to the success of the professional training course program, we recognize that expenses are incurred in preparing and presenting professional training courses and, within reasonable limits, will reimburse instructors’ costs of reproducing and shipping course materials. Instructors should endeavor to keep costs low.

Photocopying expenses that can be absorbed by supporting institutions is encouraged and appreciated. Travel reimbursement and registration waivers are discouraged for SETAC members who would normally be attending the meeting; SETAC does realize that some travel reimbursement and waivers may be necessary for non-members. Travel costs should be kept to a minimum; courses with high travel costs may not be approved.

The lead instructor for each course is responsible for providing accurate cost estimates in the professional training course proposal and must receive approval from the Education and Short Course Committee and the SETAC North America Executive Director before any expense is incurred. Requests for reimbursement of expenses, including receipts or any other documentation, should be submitted by the end of December following the annual meeting to allow SETAC staff time to honor and process all requests in a timely manner.

Enrollment Limits

SETAC encourages high enrollment limits to allow maximum opportunity for members and guests to attend professional training courses. Instructional approach and/or equipment needs may impose limits on the number of participants in order to maintain the quality of the course, and the instructor needs to carefully consider this issue. Once a limit has been set and published in the preliminary program, any change must be approved by the SETAC North America Executive Director. SETAC reserves the right to cancel any course that does not have sufficient pre-registration enrollment. You will be notified after the last early bird registration deadline whether or not your course has meet the minimum number of participants.

Instructors

Instructors must have demonstrable expertise in the discipline (qualifications to be included in the proposal). Each course should generally have 2 to 4 instructors with varied backgrounds, and instructor composition should reflect at least two of the following membership sectors: government, business and academia. Full-day courses, because of the greater amount of material, might require 1 or 2 additional instructors. Maintenance of balance and diversity in this manner will help assure that the course material is not too narrowly focused on one sector or special interest. Each instructor’s role in the course should be clearly defined.

Conflict of Interest Considerations

The subject matter of professional training courses should be application based rather than based on specific operations or utilization of specific technology, software, etc. If a specific instrument or technology is emphasized, all similar products must be mentioned. There may be no endorsement of specific techniques, instruments, software, etc. as part of the course material or in subsequent literature relating to the presentation of the course. A SETAC endorsement disclaimer will be included for all courses that make reference to specific instruments or technologies. SETAC appeals to the instructors’ good judgment in presenting balanced, unbiased information. The purpose of SETAC professional training courses is to educate and promote good science, not sell products or services.

Timeline of Professional Training Course Development

Jan—May: Professional training course proposal request advertised
May 1: Initial proposals due; distributed to coordinators for review
May 1-15: Coordinators review proposals, communicate with lead instructors possible questions, changes, etc.
May 15: Courses selected for annual meeting presented to the Program Committee
May 19: Course program submitted for meeting program, lead instructors notified of selection
Nov: SETAC Annual meeting
Nov–Dec: Evaluations of courses sent out. Deadline for submission of expense reimbursement requests.

Requirements for Professional Training Course Proposals

  • Course Title: The title of the proposed course should be as specific as possible and accurately reflect the content of the course. Use 15 or fewer words.
  • Lead Instructor: Identify one person as lead instructor. Future correspondence will be conducted through the lead instructor, who will be responsible for informing the other instructors.
  • Course Length: Professional training courses are generally either half-day (4-hour) or full-day (8-hour) courses. For half-day courses, the proposal should indicate if morning or afternoon is preferred.
  • Course Level: State the level of experience or prerequisite knowledge the participants need in order to properly understand the course material.
  • Registration Cap: Please determine the minimum and maximum number of participants to whom you can provide high-quality instruction in the course. Course attendance will be limited to the maximum number and may be cancelled (in consultation between SETAC and the lead instructor) if the minimum enrollment is not achieved. Professional training courses are a major attraction at SETAC annual meetings, and we urge you to make your class size as large as possible. SETAC recognizes that instructional approach and/or equipment needs may limit the number of people that can be taught effectively.
  • Objectives: State the objectives of the course in a few sentences.
  • Description: The description, 200 words maximum, must cover the purpose of the course and the topics to be discussed. If the proposal is accepted, this abstract will be used to advertise the course on the website and in the meeting program.
  • Topics: Include a concise listing of topics to be discussed. A more detailed outline of the course content will be developed in preparation of the course and will be posted on the web. A standard format for the course outline is below. The cohesiveness of the outline is an important criteria for the success of the course and will be an important component of the proposal review.
  • Instructors: Evidence of qualifications (bio or resume)for each instructor should be submitted with the proposal. Each instructor’s role in the proposed course should be clearly defined.
  • Products/Course Materials: List the products to be distributed and their format, including any software packages used in the course. The committee encourages quality, take-home products that participants can use for future reference. Products that summarize and supplement the course prove to be most useful to the participants. Documents and supporting materials on CD-ROM are encouraged to save paper and shipping costs.
  • Audio/Visual: Please list all A/V equipment such as computers you will need to conduct your course. A/V requests should be limited to just what you need to conduct the course as high A/V costs can limit the viability of a course.
  • Cost Estimate: Please list all costs for which you expect reimbursement. Itemize by category and provide accurate estimates. Acceptance of professional training course does not obligate SETAC to financial support other than direct expenses (copying, shipping, A/V, etc.). Note: honoraria will not be provided and should not be included among costs. Costs should be kept low (i.e., below the expected income for the course) to ensure course acceptance. SETAC will endeavor to work with the lead instructor to keep costs low.
  • Other/Special Needs: List any special room, space or other equipment requirements. Also list items that you expect participants to bring (e.g., laptop computers).