Chair Guidelines

General Policies

  • To access the call for papers, your sessions and submissions, please create and use a personal username account.
  • Chairs may present a paper at their own session or choose to present in another session.
  • No more than two people from the same institution (including the session chair).
  • NeMLA does not accept pre-formed sessions: please consider all abstracts received up to the September 30th deadline.
  • No one may chair more than one session of a type. Familiarize yourself with the types of sessions here.

Publicizing Your Panel

  • Publicize and promote your session among colleagues and at other fora/organizations that you might be a part of.
  • You can also post a CFP advertising your session at conference announcing websites such as:
  • Note that most abstracts arrive closer to the deadline. Second reminders closer to the deadline are encouraged.
  • NOTE: When advertising your session, include the web site URL where potential participants may submit their abstract online.

Withdrawing a Session

  • Decisions to withdraw a panel should be communicated promptly to the Executive Director, Carine Mardorossian, at

Changing Session Type

  • Any changes to sessions will be granted upon request. Please email
  • A seminar or a roundtable allows you to accommodate more presenters, up to 10. Seminars are paper-based and circulated ahead of time. Both seminars and roundtables involve 5-minute long presentations.

Reviewing Abstracts for Your Session

  • June 15: The abstract submission interface opens. The session chair and the person submitting the abstract will receive an automated electronic notification of the submission.
  • Only abstracts received through the NeMLA web site may be considered. Email submissions should be directed to the portal.
  • September 30 is the deadline to submit abstracts. To ensure fair consideration, please refrain from accepting any until then.
  • September 30-October 15: Chairs accept or decline abstracts. To do so, log in and click "Manage" next to your session's title.
  • October 15 is the deadline to finalize sessions. Please make sure each participant has explicitly confirmed their participation on your panel as they may have submitted several abstracts and chosen another panel.
  • Please consider accepting 4 papers for traditional paper panels and roundtables so a withdrawal does not threaten the viability of your session. 2-paper sessions are not viable.

Notifying Applicants

  • Do not assume that submitting an abstract commits presenters to your session! Do not decline papers without obtaining a commitment from your accepted presenters. NeMLA members often submit abstracts to more than one panel and may commit to another session. Your NeMLA account will alert you as chair whether a presenter is already committed to another session of the same type, which is not allowed.
  • Professional courtesy in acknowledging all submissions and sending acceptance and rejection emails is expected at NeMLA. Please do not leave any applicant in doubt about the status of their submission after finalizing.
  • October 15 is the deadline to finalize sessions and request second sessions. Make sure everyone has confirmed participation on your session before finalizing.
  • Before finalizing, please proofread your session carefully. 
  1. Session titles and abstract titles must use proper capitalization in MLA format. 
  2. There are to be no quotation marks around the session title or abstract title itself, only single quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems, and similar short works.
  3. Do not place a period at the end of session titles or abstract titles.
  4. Check that audio-visual requests have been submitted where needed as after October 15, these may not be considered.
  • Second sessions can be requested via our database.
  • Chairs must inform their confirmed panelists that the membership/registration fee is due online by December 9. Applicants who do not pay will be removed from the program.
  • Membership/registration opens as early as October 1. For presenters' names and presentations to be included in the convention program, they pay membership/registration by December 9.
  • After December 9, late fees will be charged.

Finalizing and Proofreading Sessions

  • Chairs may not finalize sessions until all accepted presenters have each confirmed participation. A chair's NeMLA account will alert whether a presenter is already committed to another session of the same type which is not allowed.
  • When confirming with accepted presenters, please check the title of the presenter's presentation, their name, and their audio-visual requests. Audio-visual technology requests submitted after October 15 may not be considered.
  • Before finalizing, please proofread your session carefully. 
    • Session titles and abstract title must use capital letters unless in a language other than English. 
    • There are to be no quotation marks around the session title or abstract title itself, only single quotation marks around titles of short stories, poems, and similar short works.
    • Do not place a period at the end of session titles or abstract titles.
  • Since traditional panel and roundtable formats are significantly different, requests to change panels to roundtables after scheduling will only be granted under rare circumstances.
  • Completed session information is due no later than October 15 and should be submitted via NeMLA's website.  
  • Please wait until after October 15 finalization deadline to notify persons who submitted abstracts that you marked as declined or under consideration. This is in case those you accepted have declined to join your session, and you may need to accept submissions you marked under consideration in order to have the minimum number of presentations or the minimum number of presenters.
  • In December, chairs will receive a panel proof they will be asked to correct for the online and print programs. Make sure to respond promptly to this request.

Proofreading Guide

  • All writing must adhere to MLA guidelines, including using quotation marks on the titles of short works and italics on the titles of long works. Proofread and spell check all titles.
  • Confirm the names of all participants are properly capitalized.
  • Confirm the names of institutions are consistently spelled across all submissions. For example, you don’t want some institutions listed as “UC Irvine” and some listed as “University of California, Irvine."
  • Avoid most abbreviations in session titles and abstract titles.
  • In all session titles and abstract titles, change spelled-out ordinal numbers to their abbreviations; for example, “nineteenth” should be changed to "19th." In all session titles and abstract titles, add hyphens to ordinal adjectives; for example, it’s “19th-century Literature,” not “19th Century Literature.”
  • In all session titles and abstract titles, make sure the content after a dash is lower-case: it’s “19th-century Literature,” not “19th-Century Literature.”
  • Change any double quotation marks in session titles and abstract titles to single quotation marks: these titles in the program will already have quotation marks around them. For example, if the session title was “Nevertheless, they persisted”: The Aesthetics of Resistance, change it to ‘Nevertheless, they persisted,’ etc.
  • Italicize any non-English words that appear in titles that are primarily in English.

Second Sessions

  • NeMLA is a juried convention, and sometimes fine proposals are turned down. Chairs may elect to change a panel to a seminar format or a roundtable format to accommodate more than 4 participants. However, NeMLA also considers requests for second sessions.
  • Justifications for a second session will be considered​ after a first round of acceptance and should be submitted online when finalizing in your user account. When finalizing your session, please click the box to request a second session and include a 150-word rationale why there should be a second session.
  • Requests for second sessions are determined by strong justifications and space availability. Therefore, not all requests may be graned.
  • Those chairs requesting second sessions will receive notification as to NeMLA's decision by October 20

Audiovisual Requests and Wireless Internet

  • Please remind applicants to indicate their individual media needs when they submit their paper abstracts in their user accounts
  • Audiovisual equipment available for sessions include projectors, projector screens, VGA cables, audio cables, and audio speakers. Projector slide advancer remotes and other technology may be available, only if requested in an email sent to; otherwise, please assume those items will not be provided and plan accordingly.
  • Presenters must provide their own computers or other devices that can be connected via VGA to the projector. If you have an Apple laptop or other device that requires a VGA adapter, please bring that projector adapter to the convention with you.
  • Before the convention, please remind your panelists to provide their own computers that can be connected via VGA to the projector. If they are using an Apple laptop or other device that requires a VGA adapter, please remind them to bring such an adapter.
  • While NeMLA makes all efforts possible to provide wireless Internet at its annual convention, it is not always possible. Participants should anticipate Internet will not be provided by the convention site. Participants are welcome to use their mobile device for Internet, including as a mobile hotspot/wireless router tether.
  • If there are any difficulties choosing audiovisual requests, please email


  • NeMLA does not allow papers to be read in absentia, by webcam, or by other online means, regardless of circumstances. Do not include applicants who cannot attend in person.
  • Chairs must email as soon as possible if any participant withdraws. 
  • If chairs themselves are not able to attend, it is their responsibility to find someone else to chair the session and to inform the Chair Coordinator of the change.
  • Registration fees may be refunded if the convention participant notifies the Administrative Coordinator at of their need to withdraw from the program at least six weeks prior to the opening of the convention. Membership fees are non-refundable. A $25 service fee will be deducted from all registration refunds.


NeMLA encourages livetweeting our sessions but asks that you do so responsibly and with respect to our presenters: make sure to attribute the ideas to the speaker; and if you are planning to tweet more than 20% of the talk, ask permission from the presenter before doing so.


  • If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns regarding session chair guidelines, do not hesititate to contact and your session's Area Director.