The new processes for program development required the PSA to commission a new electronic submission system, currently administered by All Academic. After multiple iterations to incorporate feedback, the new system is now up and running. It is opening this year somewhat later than has been the case in the past. However, given the long lag time between the spring and fall activities on the system, the schedule this year still allows plenty of time for all involved to submit the necessary information and to complete all of the necessary steps for program development by the end of fall.
Here, we want to take the opportunity to explain in detail the components of the new system and how it works. (For an explanation of the underlying rationales for changes in the program development process that are behind changes in the system, please see the article in the May 2012 PSA newsletter titled “Changes Coming to PSA Program Development Process for 2013 Meetings, in Response to Member Concerns and Council Recommendations,” written by the PSA President, Valerie Jenness, and the Program Chair for 2013, Dennis Downey.) For the most part, the system is intuitive – and largely the same as the previous system (as well as other submission systems with which members are familiar).
There are several actions crucial to the program development process that the system is designed to facilitate, some of which will be completed by all participants in the meetings and some of which will be completed by only some of the participants. The several components are: registering into the system; volunteering to be a presider; submitting a session proposal; and, of course, submitting paper/presentation proposals. We briefly address each of those components below. Please note: registration and payment for the meetings will be on a separate site; follow the link for conference registration/payment on the PSA 2013 Meetings webpage.
Register into the system:
When you first log on to the system, you will need to create a new account. That requires creating a User name and Password, after which you will be prompted to enter all of your basic personal/contact information. Any of that information can subsequently be edited by logging on to the system and following the appropriate links (specifically, Edit Personal Contact Information from the main menu).
Volunteer to be a presider:
One of our goals this year is to have a presider for every session. Presiders play an important role in making sessions efficient and productive – by introducing presenters, keeping presentations within agreed-upon time limits, and facilitating Q & A. Volunteering to serve as a presider is not only a great way to contribute to the meetings, but also a great way to network with other PSA members who are interested in similar topics. To volunteer, simply click on Volunteer to be a Presider from the main menu. You will be asked to identify your principal area of interest in terms of the topical areas within the program where you would like to preside. You also have the opportunity to provide a more specific description of your interests, beyond the general topical area. When sessions are finalized in the fall, organizers will know of your interest and will assign presiders to sessions to match their specific interests as closely as possible.
Submit a session proposal:
While most sessions will be organized through the Program Committee, there are opportunities for members (and, as always, PSA committees) to organize sessions as well. We have identified two general contexts in which member-organized sessions are welcome. First, we welcome members to organize any type of invited session (i.e., sessions in which the organizer contacts and recruits participants directly, rather than through an open call). Invited sessions vary in terms of format (e.g., author-meets-critic sessions, any type of workshop or demonstration, video documentary screenings, etc.). They are frequently among the most popular sessions on the program due both to their creative formats and the fact that they often include participants who are particularly notable in their field of research.
In addition to invited sessions, members are welcome to organize sessions on topics that cannot be accommodated by the topical areas designated in the call for papers. If you have a topic that you would like to see represented on the program, but cannot find a topical area under which it would fit, then you are encouraged to propose a session of their own. Please keep in mind that many specific topics fall naturally within the general topical areas; this situation is where a topic falls “between the cracks.” The kind of effective grouping of presentations that is the overall goal of revisions to program development is prevented if a set of member-organized sessions exists side-by-side with sessions constituted by the Program Committee from the open call for papers.
To organize a session, simply click on the link at the main menu titled Submit or Edit a Session Proposal. You will be asked to specify several issues; first, you will be asked what session you are proposing, in terms of session format. The options are listed below, with descriptions:
Standard panel presentation format: The standard panel format includes multiple presenters addressing independent topics; presentation type may be formal research, research-in-progress, analysis, etc.
Interactive panel presentation format: Interactive panels are designed to promote significant interaction between panelists, such as structured debate or other exchanges, which typically takes the place of presentations.
Author-meets-critics session: Sessions highlighting a particular piece of research (generally a book), including the author along with several experts who comment on the book.
Workshop or demonstration session: Conveys some practical skill or knowledge to attendees in any of a variety of areas, focusing attention on "how to" questions.
Roundtable: Roundtable format, with presenters assigned to the table by the organizer.
Poster session: All presentations will be in the form of a poster to be displayed.
Video session: Presents some type of video (documentary, etc.), generally with discussion, Q&A, etc.
Once the session format is specified, the proposer will be asked to provide a tentative session title that is brief, clear, and descriptive. You will also be asked to specify the topical area among those listed in the call for papers that best fits your specific session topic. Finally, you will be asked whether the session will be an invited session or a session in which you solicit presentations. If it is the latter, and you would like to advertise a topic for interested members who may want to present in the session, then you can list that topic on the website, along with contact information so that interested members can inquire and submit proposals to the organizer directly. Prospective session organizers will be asked in the system if they would like to have their session listed in that manner.
Please keep in mind that we are asking panel organizers to assign a number of presenters that will vary with the type of presentation. For formal research papers, three presentations and a discussant, or four presentations, works well – with presentations of fifteen to twenty minutes. For research-in-progress or sociological analyses, we would like to see six presenters making presentations of approximately ten minutes each. This is part of the effort to experiment with session formats that is a central part of the Reno meetings – so we ask that organizers please assist us in this effort.
The system will accept session proposals from June 1 to July 15. Once organizers have full information for the session (presenters, full contact information, presentation titles if appropriate, etc.), they must finalize their session online from October 15 to November 1. Members who have proposed sessions will receive more detailed information on that process in the early fall.
Submit a presentation/paper proposal:
The section for submitting paper/presentation proposals is still under construction. When it is complete, we will add details pertinent to that section. It will be open to accept paper/presentation submissions from August 1 to October 15. Check back soon for information about paper/presentation submissions.
REGISTRATION: Please click here to register.
PAYMENT: Please click here to pay online.
We hope that the submission system is clear and straightforward. If you have any questions or issues, feel free to contact the Program Chair for 2013, Dennis Downey (email@example.com).