The following information is for session chairs and presenters.
Each year the M/MLA solicits proposals and individual abstracts for its annual convention. The M/MLA program committee reviews the submissions. The committee is composed of executive committee members, including the M/MLA executive director and president. All proposals and abstracts are reviewed, except for the permanent section proposals, if the previous year’s chair or secretary submits them. Once accepted, individual abstracts are grouped into special sessions by the current M/MLA president.
Once a proposal is received and accepted, it is posted on the M/MLA's Call for Papers listing. The membership is notified about the initial publication of the CFP listing and significant updates as they occur. In addition, chairs are encouraged to solicit submissions on their own.
Convention Roles and Responsibilities
All permanent sections have chairs and most special sessions have chairs. The chair is responsible for receiving, reviewing and selecting her presenters. The chair communicates all deadlines and other presenter responsibilities to her session participants. The chair decides the presentation order, controls the time of each presentation, ensures that each presenter receives enough time to speak and helps to encourage discussion among the attendees. The chair is responsible for submitting the program information form and abstracts to the M/MLA office. The program information form is used to complete the schedule, order audiovisual equipment and complete the program book.
Most permanent sections have secretaries. Special sessions do not have secretaries. The secretary helps the chair to select presenters, keeps track of the submitted abstracts and usually agrees in advance to be the following year's chair.
The presenter communicates with the chair about title changes, name changes, audiovisual needs, etc. The presenter is expected to cooperate with her session chair with respect to paper presentation time and session activities.
A respondent reads the papers in advance and helps to encourage and facilitate dialogue during the session. A moderator and discussant is the same as a respondent. Sessions are not required to have a respondent and it is at the discretion of the chair to have a respondent. If a chair chooses to have a respondent, then there only needs to be one respondent for the entire session. A chair may serve as the respondent, any member of the session may serve as the respondent, or an individual who is not presenting during the session my serve as a respondent.
Permanent Sections versus Special Sessions
A permanent section is an established subject that can have an open topic or a specific topic each year. Proposals for permanent sections do not require approval by the M/MLA program committee if the current chair was the previous year's secretary. If a new chair, who was not the previous year’s chair, submits a permanent section proposal then the proposal must to be approved by the program committee.
A special session is a group of papers about a topic that is not a permanent section topic. The special session topic can focus on the convention's informal theme, or it can focus on another relevant and interesting subject.
Sessions versus Panels
A session is an organized grouping of papers about a pre-selected topic. Sessions can have multiple panels with papers about the preselected topic. The M/MLA has permanent sections and special sessions.
Sessions versus Workshops
The structure of a workshop is at the discretion of the workshop organizer. In general, a workshop should not be a formal presentation of papers but rather an open forum that provides information and encourages open conversation to help facilitate the learning process.
Length of Individual Panels
Each individual panel is 90 minutes in length. A session can be composed of one or more panels. Each panel is scheduled in a 90-minute timeslot. Every effort is made to schedule multiple panels from a single session in back-to-back timeslots.
Number of Presenters
Each panel should have a minimum of three (3) presenters and no more than four (4) presenters. Limiting the number of presenters to no more than four in a single panel will allow each presenter enough time to speak and provide discussion time for the attendees.
Presenters from the Same Educational Institution
The individuals presenting a panel may be from the same college or university. There are no restrictions regarding how many presenters can come from a single educational institution.
Chairs Requesting Multiple Panels
In general, a session may have more than one panel scheduled. For sessions that wish to have more than two panels, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your plans. The chair must indicate the number of panels to be scheduled on the Program Information form.
Individuals Participating in Multiple Panels
Individual participation in the M/MLA Annual Convention is limited to two sessions. This applies to authors, respondents, chairs, and secretaries. This policy is in place to make scheduling panels easier and to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to present.
Presentations by Chairs
Session chairs may present on their respective panels. If an individual chairs and presents on a panel and only presents in a second panel, this level of participation is only considered to be two instances of participation and not three.
Permanent section chairs have the option of continuing to chair their respective sections each year or passing the chairmanship to the current year’s secretary or another individual. Individuals must have their proposal approved by the program committee when they have never chaired permanent section or served as the previous year’s secretary.
The M/MLA provides audiovisual equipment if the requests are made in a timely manner. Audiovisual equipment must be requested early in order to ensure availability and to receive the best price. The M/MLA does not provide laptops or software. All presenters must bring their own laptops and software.
Membership and Registration Fees
All presenters and chairs must be current members of the Midwest Modern Language Association in order to participate in the annual convention. All participants must pay a convention registration fee in addition to their membership dues. Membership dues and convention registrations are separate fees. The M/MLA does not provide group memberships or registrations for departments or institutions.
If an individual is a member of the Modern Language Association (MLA), their MLA membership is not a substitute for their M/MLA membership. The MLA and M/MLA are separate organizations with separate memberships and expenses.