Frequently Asked Questions about the Submission of Proposals

Contents

Crafting a successful proposal

Where can I get more information about Program Committee requirements?
Session organizers should consult the Call for Proposals and the Annual Meeting Guidelines before submitting a proposal to be sure they have met all requirements.

Can I submit a proposal that doesn’t fit the theme?
Yes, organizers are encouraged to submit proposals on a variety of topics, and the Program Committee will accept a substantial number of sessions unrelated to the theme or featured topic.

Do you accept proposals for individual papers?
Single-paper submissions cannot be considered, though the Program Committee will accept individual submissions for the poster session. Experience shows that it is virtually impossible to find matches for single papers or form panels around them. The AHA recommends the H-Net discussion network as an effective way to find suitable co-panelists.

I have been asked to participate in two different panels. Can I submit more than one proposal?
You are welcome to submit multiple proposals. However, the Annual Meeting Guidelines stipulate that participants may present only one paper of original research per year. Individuals may serve in one other capacity at the annual meeting, such as acting as chair or commentator on another panel, or participating in a professionally-oriented session or broad discussion of issues in the field. If you submit two proposals to present original research, you may be asked to withdraw from one session if both are accepted. 

A scholar we have selected for our session participated in the last annual meeting. Does this disqualify him or her?
No. The AHA Council eliminated the policy against appearing on the program two years in a row in 2004.

Can I organize a session comprised of high school teachers or graduate students?
The Program Committee welcomes submissions from history professionals in all areas of employment. Please note, however, that the Program Committee does encourage panels that include participants from different institutions. 

Modes of Presentation

Discussions/Roundtables

Do I need to submit abstracts for each presentation on a roundtable?
Yes, organizers are required to submit a brief abstract or description of each presentation. Even for a roundtable, the Program Committee expects a short description of how the individual speakers will address the subject of the session. A sentence or two describing what the presenter will discuss is sufficient.

Do presentations in a roundtable need to have a title?
Some roundtable organizers elect to include a title for each presentation; others do not. For roundtable presentations without formal titles, organizers should select Panel style when submitting the proposal. This style lists the name and affiliation of each discussant, but does not include titles for individual presentations.You must include a brief abstract describing what each discussant will talk about.

What if I want to list titles for each presentation in a roundtable?
Organizers who wish to list a title for each presentation should select Topical style. You must include a brief abstract describing what each discussant will talk about.

How many presenters may appear on a roundtable?
To assure substantial time for interaction between speakers and audience, all panels are limited to a maximum of five participants serving as speakers or commentators.

Multi-Session Workshops

Is there a difference between a workshop and a practicum session?
The Program Committee will consider both multi-session workshops focusing on a particular topic or theme (“linked sessions”) and “practicums” or workshops in which participants bring a common level of knowledge or skill to bear toward some practical end (such as developing a work-in-progress or new professional skills).

How do I enter a multi-session workshop into the electronic proposal system?
Organizers should select “Submit a Multi-Session Workshop’ and follow the instructions provided. Organizers will be prompted to enter a title for the session and a brief description of its content and goals.

Can I authorize colleagues to submit sessions to the workshop?
Yes. Follow the instructions to e-mail a colleage a link that will allow them to enter component sessions into the workshop.

How do I indicate the order in which the sessions that make up the workshop should be scheduled?
Once the component sessions have been entered into the system, the organizer will have the opportunity to note the order in which sessions should be scheduled, if accepted. Please note that the Program Committee may elect to alter the order of the sessions.

Will the Program Committee accept or reject the workshop as a whole?
The Program Committee will judge each session on its own merits and may elect to accept only part of a multi-session proposal.

Poster Sessions

Can I order audiovisual equipment for a poster presentation?
While presenters may supplement their presentation with their own audio-visual or computer equipment, the presentations are primarily intended to use the poster as a medium of presentation, so the AHA cannot supply audiovisual support.

Where can I find instructions on preparing a poster?
Detailed information on preparing a poster is posted here.

Can I submit a session made up of multiple posters on a single theme or topic?
You are welcome to do so. The electronic system is set up to collect proposals for individual posters (which the Program Committee may organize into more than one session slot along a particular subject or theme). If you wish to submit a session made up of multiple posters on a single topic, you should submit it as an experimental session and outline your plans in the session description.

Experimental Sessions

What information should be included in the experimental session description?
Please provide a short description of the form of the session, the format's ability to engage and connect with an audience of peers, and the potential costs involved, if any. Organizers are encouraged to propose creative formats.

How do I propose an off-site session?
Organizers of offsite sessions are responsible for making arrangements with the proposed host institution prior to the submission of a proposal. The AHA cannot pay rental or site use fees for offsite sessions.

Proposals for offsite sessions require pre-approval by the Program Committee. Organizers of intended offsite sessions should contact the chair and co-chair of the Program Committee, explaining how the location will enhance the intellectual content of the session and clearly describing the arrangements that have been made for meeting space, transportation (if necessary), etc. Organizers must provide the name, e-mail, phone number, and mailing address of a staff member at the host institution who is aware of plans for the session.

Logging in to the Proposal System

Can I submit a proposal if I am not an AHA member?
Yes. You will need to create a user account by following the link from the log in screen.

How do I log in?
Following the link to the submission system on the submission page should automatically log you into the system. Please make a note of the ID and password assigned to your submission as you will need this information to access your submission should you lose your connection before completeing the submission. You can also use the ID and Password to return to and modify the session up to the February 15 submission deadline.The system will automatically e-mail you a message with the subject line "Submission Initiated" that includes your ID, password, and a link to access the submission in progress.

Entering Session Information

Is there a word limit for session titles?
Yes, session titles should be under 20 words.

Is there a word limit for session abstracts? 
The system will accept up to 500 words for session abstracts.

What should the session abstract include?
A good session abstract includes a short description of the session and how the individual speakers will address the subject(s) and how the papers/presentations will fit together. You should also describe the broad audience for the session. It is in your interest to sell the panel a bit.

What is “Co-sponsorship”?
Organizers of sessions sponsored by AHA divisions, committees, and affiliated societies should identify the sponsor using the link on the submission summary page. You must have permission from the division, committee, or affiliated society in question to indicate co-sponsorship. 

Why do I need to select keywords, a historical period, and a region?
We collect this information primarily for the convenience of the Program Committee, so that they can balance the range of topics covered by the program and assign reviewers with expertise in the broad subject matter covered in the proposal. It is also used to create a topical index. Please select the keywords, historical period, and region that best describe your proposal.

Can I choose more than one?
Organizers may identify up to three keywords, regions, and historical periods.

What does it mean to designate a proposal as a "Teaching Session"?
Proposed annual meeting sessions that meet one or more of the criteria set out below may be self-designated by the proposers as a Teaching Session. The proposal should explain how the session would meet any or all of the criteria.

To qualify as a Teaching Session, a proposed panel should do one or more of the following:

  • directly address teaching challenges and practices
  •  include both K12 and college-level teachers in collaboration, such as a workshop for generating new lesson plans and curricula
  •  offer brief presentations of research findings followed by discussions of how to teach them
  •  invite direct participation (not just the standard, brief period of Q & A) by audience members in the session
  •  model the classroom use of technological media
  •  provide primary source materials, useful website addresses, bibliographic suggestions, and/or lesson plans to audience members

What counts as a serious schedule conflict?
Religious observances, scheduled classes, airline schedule conflicts, and other obligations during the meeting.

Do I need to include an abstract for each paper or presentation?
Yes, the Program Committee requires an abstract of up to 300 words for each presentation. This allows the Program Committee to get a better sense of what each panelist will talk about, and allows organizers to elaborate on ideas introduced in the session abstract.

Identifying Session Participants

How many people can be on a panel? What is the standard structure of the panel?
To assure substantial time for interaction between speakers and audience, all panels are limited to a maximum of five participants serving as speakers or commentators. Details on the standard format of each session type and the role of each participant on a panel are included in the Annual Meeting Guidelines.

How do I identify the chair and organizer?
Use the appropriate check box to identify the organizer and chair of the session. You must enter an organizer and chair for each session.

How do I list the same individual as both chair and commentator?
If the same individual will serve as chair and commentator, you must enter them twice, once for each role.

How do I identify one of the panelists as chair or commentator?
You must enter them twice, once for each role. In instances where the chair is serving as a speaker on the panel, another member of the panel should be designated to maintain time.

Does every session need a chair? 
We require a designated chair/moderator for each session—to provide introductions, manage the time, and facilitate interaction with the audience. You will not be able to proceed with your submission until you have identified a chair.

How do I list comment by the audience?
Click the check box to indicate comment by the audience. We generally do not list comment by the audience for roundtable sessions.

What if there is no commentator?
Some session formats, such as roundtables or experimental sessions, do not require commentators. If no commentator is identified, we will assume that the session does not have one.

What should I include under “Biographical Information”?
A brief (no more than 250 words) paragraph describing the presenter’s professional accomplishments, major publications, etc. This replaces the collection of cv's for each person on a session. Please do not paste the whole cv into the box as the system will not accept text that exceeds 250 words.

Can I include a link to a CV posted on a personal or department web site in the biographical paragraph?
Yes.

Is there a word limit for paper and presentation abstracts?
The system will accept abstracts of up to 300 words.

If you cannot find a panelist using the search feature
The proposal system uses a version of the AHA membership database that is updated regularly. Non-members and individuals who joined the Association or renewed their membership after the most recent update are not listed. You will be prompted to enter contact information for unlisted participants. Please fill out the form with care, including all requested information, as this will be the only information the AHA has for individuals not in our database.

Can I modify contact information for AHA members? 
Yes. Click "select and edit this match" to update contact information for individuals that are already listed in the system.

Audiovisual Equipment

What equipment is standard in meeting rooms?
Unlike university or college classrooms, there is no “standard equipment” in hotel meeting rooms. A meeting room set for a session has a speakers’ table and podium or lectern with a light, and a microphone (in rooms large enough to require one). Seats will be arranged theater style unless otherwise specified. Panel sessions and roundtables will be arranged with microphones for panelists (in larger rooms). All other equipment must be ordered when you submit your proposal. Do remember that equipment is expensive and order only what you strictly need.

Will the AHA pay for audiovisual equipment?
Section 4.5 of the Annual Meeting Guidelines stipulates that organizers must request audiovisual equipment when submitting their proposal in order for the AHA to cover the full rental fee. Late requests for audiovisual materials (between February 15 and June 1) are subject to a fee determined by the Convention Director. The meeting staff cannot accept orders for additional equipment after June 1, though presenters may order equipment directly from the hotels at their own expense.

Do I need to order a screen to go with my projector?
No, the AHA will order a package including a screen, cart, and all necessary cables and connections.

Why is there no option for ordering a computer or an Internet connection?
Due to the cost of rental, the AHA does not provide laptop or desktop computers for sessions. Those requesting computer projectors for PowerPoint presentations must supply their own laptop computers. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the AHA will not provide Internet connections. Those wishing to present information from a web site should save it to a USB memory device. If Internet access is crucial to the success of your session, select "other" and explain in the box provided.

What if we need a DVD player or something else that is not on the AV list?
Select “Other” and describe your requirements in the box provided.

Troubleshooting

How long will it take to submit a proposal?
It should take from ten to thirty minutes to complete the electronic proposal, provided you have collected all necessary information in advance.

Help, the screen went blank!
If you experience computer problems or get timed out of the system, you will be able to retrieve a submission in process by logging in with the ID and password e-mailed to you when you began the submission.You should have received an e-mail with the subject line "Submission Initiated" that contains this information.

Will I have a chance to proof my work?
Yes, you will see a summary screen before submitting the proposal. Please proofread carefully to be sure that you have entered all session information carefully.

Can I modify a proposal after I submit it?
Yes, as long as it is before the February 15 deadline. However, this is a hard deadline, and you will not be able to access or modify your proposal once the deadline has passed. If the session is accepted, you will have to opportunity to make changes to session information before the program goes to press. Abstracts will be posted online as submitted to the Program Committee; individuals will not have the opportunity to edit abstracts after the February 15 proposal deadline.

If you think some of your data is incorrect or did not go through

As long as the majority of your session proposal data has been entered by the midnight PST on February 15 deadline, your chance of having your proposal accepted will not be affected. Please contact tech support so that the data entry issue can be corrected.

When will I know whether my proposal has been accepted?
The Program Committee will notify session organizers of its decisions via e-mail in mid to late May.

What if I don't hear from the Program Committee?
Experience has shown that the e-mails sent by the committee are occasionally caught in spam filters. Please contact the AHA if you do not hear anything by early June.

Other Questions

Can I fax, mail, or e-mail my proposal?
The Program Committee accepts only electronic proposals submitted through the electronic submission system.

Should I register for the meeting when I submit my proposal?
Although some professional organizations require proposals to be accompanied by meeting registration materials, the AHA does not. Panelists should register for the annual meeting when registration opens in September.

Does the AHA provide grants to enable foreign scholars to attend the annual meeting?
No.

Do I have to be a member of the AHA to present a paper at the annual meeting?
All participants, except for foreign scholars and those from other disciplines, must be current members of the Association. Non-members will receive a letter the summer before the meeting with instructions on how to notify the AHA if one of these exceptions applies.

How do I propose a joint session between the AHA and an affiliated society?
You must have permission from the affiliate in order to propose a joint session. Some affiliates have a formal selection process, so be sure to leave time to complete the approval process before the Feb. 15 deadline. Contact information for the affiliated societies is available on the AHA website. Once you have secured approval from the affiliate, you should submit a proposal to the AHA by the general deadline, noting the co-sponsorship using the drop-down menu. Sessions sponsored solely by an affiliate may be submitted later; check with the society for their policy.