Section Planning from a Newbie’s Perspective Part 4

It has been quite a while since I wrote about section planning from a newbie’s perspective, (last entry was Section Planning From a Newbie’s Perspective: Part 3).  A lot of the section planner’s work is at the beginning of their term.  Once the 2011 programs are submitted to MLA in July, we have a bit of a breather until September/October.  In September we send out a call for posters and papers to our section members and in October we ask for volunteers  from our section to review the abstracts submitted for MLA’s 2011 Annual Meeting.  We also sit and cross our fingers that people are submitting abstracts to our programs and that we get enough volunteers to review the abstracts. 

In case you are interested you still have time submit your abstract for the 2011 meeting, just review the instructions in the poster or paper FAQs on MLA’s site, then begin the online submission process. Submission deadline is November 1, 2010.

Once we have the list of people willing to review the abstracts we send that information to MLA.  MLA will contact them with information and instructions for reviewing the abstracts and the date they need to finish their reviews.  Everything is done online through OASIS and I have been a reviewer a few times and it is a pretty interesting and painless process.   

Starting October 1st, section program planners are allowed to seek and contact vendors to help defray the costs of the program.  It is the responsibility of each section of MLA to pay for their sponsored program.  So to answer a question some people might have about joining sections and the costs associated with it; some of your section membership fees might be going to the cost of your section’s MLA programming.  You aren’t just paying section dues just for the sake of it.  What kind of costs are there for a program?  Well Internet and the big screen people display their Power Point slides on aren’t free, they cost money.  Some sections have outside speakers that they reimburse for travel.  Some sections are able to cover the costs of the program, while others are not and they do some fundraising.  This is the time they are allowed to start that process.

So I think I have brought you up to speed with what is involved in being a section planner for an MLA annual meeting.  For more information on what is like to be a section program planner for an MLA meeting go to:

I will continue to provide posts about the section planning process every so often until MLA 2011 actually happens.  Hopefully, these posts will help demystify the process so others who have never had the opportunity to be a section planner can learn about it and be interested in it enough to volunteer to participate in their section.  You don’t have to be a section planner to participate, as you can see your section needs your help with a lot of other things such as reviewing abstracts and being a program moderator (more on program moderators in a future post).