logo for southwest texas pca aca Popular Culture and
American Culture Associations
home about us areas registration travel information conference program awards contact us
If it is not popular, then it is not culture

"" Links

  "" Duties of an Area Chair

Audio Visual Support

Call for Papers

Example #1
Example #2
Example #3

Websites for Posting CFP's

UPenn's Site for CFP's
H-Net's Site for CFP's

Forming Panels

Template for Forming Panels
Download Template (MS Word)

Examples of Letters

Acceptance Letter
Download Letter (RTF)

Need more Information? Contact:

Sally Sanchez

Program Coordinator

Congratulations on your position as an Area Chair with a nationally established organization! 

The following represents the typical expectations and duties of an Area Chair, including ideas for how to be an effective Area Chair (tips for the newcomer and veteran chair).

  1. Duties: As Area Chair your responsibilities are
  • To write and post calls for papers (CFPs) and/or abstracts
  • To accept presentatons
  • To organize panels for your area
  • To act as a liaison between your panelists and the conference organizers
  • To provide your panelists with updates of current information
  • To be your Area’s representative at the conference
  1. Term: The organization expects new Area Chairs will serve a minimum two-year term in order to establish continuity and growth. 
  • Many Area Chairs have been serving the organization for several years and represent a significant resource to consult. 
  • Being an Area Chair represents significant service for your profession and/or area of interest, and provides an excellent opportunity to network within your field.
  1. Writing Calls for Papers (CFPs): CFPs need to provide the following information:
  • Official Conference Title, Dates, and Hotel
  • Area Title
  • Description of Subject Area and Special Interests/Topics
  • Deadline for Submissions
  • Your Contact Information
Example #1 | Example #2 | Example #3

Please remember to proofread all of your CFPs carefully before posting them.

  1. Posting Calls for Papers:

    a)    A number of websites and listservs provide forums for CFPs. The following sites reach thousands of scholars, and should represent the primary areas for posting your CFPs. Area Chairs should also post calls on websites and listservs within their own discipline. After a brief review of their rules for posting, putting out your call to these sites is easy, even for the technologically challenged.

b)    Area Chairs should also seek to send calls

  • To colleagues in your field
  • To experts in your field
  • To special Centers and Programs
  • To newsletters in your field or to interested groups
  • To colleagues you meet at other conferences and forums
  • To graduate students working in these areas
  1. Responding to Queries:
  • Answer queries as soon as possible. Even if you do not have an immediate answer, make contact with the inquirer. Refer the person to the conference website for general conference information.
  • Accept and send an electronic acceptance letter as soon as possible to those worthy of acceptance. Don’t wait until a number of submissions come in before you to respond to them as a whole. Accept good proposals/papers as they arrive. 
  • Include general conference information and the organization’s homepage link in your letter.
  • Emphasize the audio visual support available this year.
  • Make a note to encourage graduate students to submit papers to one of the organization’s awards (described under Registration on the organization’s website).
  • And, be sure to specify in your letter that all participants must register by the deadline (December 31, 2009), or they will be dropped from the program.

    Acceptance Letter Example | Download Letter (RTF)

  • If necessary, send to those who need it a hard copy of the acceptance letter on your school’s official letterhead. They might need such a letter for funding.
  • Keep a list of your accepted papers with the following: Presentation Title, Name, Email, Institution Affiliation (if any), Address, Phone. (An Excel spreadsheet makes for easy data collection and usage.)
  1. Forming Panels:
  • Form panels as you continue to accept presentations. Seek to place four people per panel. 
  • Arrange your panels per the program panel guidelines for easy submission to the Program Coordinator on or before
    December 5, 2008.

    Template for Forming Panels | Download Template (RTF)

  • Cluster presenters by panels that have some sort of theme; providing titles for the individual panels can attract an audience.
  • Assign “Panel Chairs” to your panels, who will be responsible for chairing the session and making sure presenters keep within the time limits.
  1. Sending Updates to Participants:
  • Update your accepted panelists from time to time. Remind them to pay registration fees before the deadline and to book hotel space early. 
  • Emphasize, especially 2-3 weeks before the conference, that panelists need to present within a time limit of 15 minutes per panelist, reserving 5 minutes per panelist to respond to questions.
  1. Tips from Seasoned Area Chairs:

a)    About the presentation:

  • Encourage graduate students to submit papers to one of the organization’s awards (see homepage).
  • Ask participants to practice presenting the paper before the conference. 
  • Note to participants that professional attire is important to their presentations and future networking.
  • Request that participants not read their papers so much as present orally.
  • Define your area’s policy on papers presented in absentia; a representative of the Libraries, Archives, and Museums and Popular Culture Area suggests, “if someone has a last minute catastrophe, etc., we really prefer that they send us the paper for an Area Chair to read, rather than have a gap on the panel; we've so far not found people abusing this option—this year was the first time that we've exercised that option; we think that it should be up to the discretion of the Area Chair whether to permit them. However, the person must still pay registration fees to be included in the program in order to have the paper read. Thank you notes for an in absentia presenter should state that the paper was presented in absentia, so that situation is clearly on the record.”

b)    At the Conference (some of these ideas are humorous but still insightful and worthy of inclusion here):

  • Encourage graduate students to be professional at all times. You never know who might remember you or who might be friends with somebody at your institution.
  • Don’t be the last person in the bar before an 8:00 a.m. presentation.
  • Bathe and brush your teeth.

c)     After the Conference:

  • Follow up in a timely fashion with thank-you notes to the presenters; be specific about the title and contents of the presentation, because some people need this for their expense reports (to prove they were there); and, Chairs should invite the presenter to attend the next conference. If you can give the date and place of the next conference, you should do so. A thank-you note should be on your professional letterhead so it’s official, and if possible should be sent no more than a week after the end of the conference.
  • Send an update during the year to encourage participants to return to the conference next year. Ask them to invite their colleagues as well.
  1. Other Important Matters:
  • Please respond quickly to the Program Coordinator’s or Executive Program Director’s requests for information. Meet deadlines for such things as printing the conference posters and programs depends largely on receiving timely responses from Area Chairs.
  • Please treat all prospective participants with professional courtesy and respect. Many of our participants have been members of the Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA for years, and continue to return to our conference. 
  • Good organization makes for time-saving efficiency.
  • Remember that you have an important position and that the organization and/or your profession is grateful for your good work. Pat yourself on the back from time to time to lift your spirits!

Home | About Us | Areas | Registration | Travel | Program | Awards | Contact

© Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA 2003
Last updated: 2006

For website problems or suggestions,
please email swtexaspcawebmaster@yahoo.com.