Information for Area Chairs

Updated 7/18/2022. Please check back often as this page will be updated throughout the year. 

Thank you for serving as an Area Chair. We appreciate your commitment to the academic community and to our Association.


Area Chair Expectations

  • Pay yearly membership fees
  • Update, edit, and send out Call for Papers (CFP) for your area
  • Promptly respond to all questions about the Area
  • Require that all papers be submitted through the submissions database
  • Respond promptly to submissions
  • Create panels of related topics by the requested deadline
  • Stay in contact with your panelists (helps to ensure attendance).
  • Serve as a panel chair or assign a panel chair to moderate the sessions during the conference.
  • Attend the conference (virtual or face to face) two out of every three years. In the years you do not attend, we ask that you continue to fulfill the duties as listed above and ensure session chair coverage. If your area has multiple Area Chairs, you may wish to rotate duties each year.



The Area Chair’s responsibility is to update the content of your Area as it relates to descriptions and content. [See CFP template.] The deadlines, links, and technical submission instructions will already be added to each Area page.

ACCEPTING PAPERS: As the Area Chair, you may respond to paper submissions as you see accordingly. While we welcome fresh approaches to subjects, we also appreciate the serious commitment to scholarship and to presenting at the conference. If you feel a submission is not up to standard, you are highly encouraged to reach out the presenter with feedback on rewriting the submission. If you do not accept a paper due to a mismatch in subject matter, please suggest another Area for them to submit.

To avoid double submissions, scheduling problems, and delays, we ask the following:

  1. Respond to submissions within TWO weeks of receiving them.
  2. Notify the submitters that their submissions have been received; (this step is automated by the submission database, but many chairs reach out personally anyway)
  3. Tell them when they may expect a response.
  4. Read the submissions as quickly as possible.
  5. Notify the submitters of acceptance or rejection in a timely fashion so they may submit to other areas if they desire.


Papers may only be submitted through the PCA website. No email submissions may be considered (except for roundtables; see roundtable instructions). If someone is having technical issues, please have them contact the PCA admin staff.

DUPLICATES: When you receive a duplicate submission, do not reject the duplicate. Take action on one of the submissions and leave the other one alone. The submissions are checked semi-regularly for duplicates by the admin staff and deleted where needed.

MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS: If a submitter indicates to you that they have subverted the submission limitations (by, say, opening two accounts), please let them know this is not allowed, and have them reach out to the admin team to fix the situation. Individuals may only present one paper (though they may additionally present creative work, participate in a round table, and/or moderate panels). Presenting more than one paper or more than two presentations overall is a violation of the PCA Code of Conduct.



Panels should have 4 papers each. In some cases, three papers are allowed. If a paper has a co-presenter, all presenters must be a paid member to submit. As participants drop, the admin staff may request to restructure panels to maximize the room space.

Please complete panels according to panel style guidelines. If you do not submit your panels by the stated deadline, the PCA staff will create the panels for you.



 An organization rule is that we do not read people’s papers at the conference, unless the author has registered and paid their membership fees for the conference, regardless of whether they actually attend. For each presenter listed on the program, the organization must pay for AV equipment and hotel space, which, as you may know, is very expensive. When someone drops out, the time and space may be used for another paper; we ask Chairs to consolidate panels when they have drops that reduces their papers on that panel to fewer than 3 papers, so that we can schedule another panel in the room. If we don’t use a room for the whole or several days of the conference, we can give it back to the hotel and receive credit on our bill.



 Oftentimes, you as the Area Chair, will be present and serve as the panel chair. If you cannot, please delegate this to another person who will be registering and attending the conference. Do not assign someone without their knowledge as this can cause unnecessary stress.



Individual papers: These are submitted by one or two individuals. You, as Area Chair, will add them to a panel with other individual papers. Usually, these have no more than two presenters each, as more than that would likely not work within the time frame given.

Fully-formed panels: A panel is a coordinated session in which there are four individual papers scheduled around a common theme/topic. 

If you receive a full panel submission request, for membership and registration purposes, panelists must submit their papers individually to your area, and then you can assemble them into the single panel they have proposed.

Roundtables: A roundtable is an assembled conversation around a topic without formal, prepared presentations. A roundtable often has a discussant and/or respondent instead of a chair. Please see below about updated roundtable policies.

Creative work: The creative work option is intended to be used when submitting to the following areas: Poetry and Poetry Studies, Creative Nonfiction Writing, Creative Fiction Writing. If someone submits a creative work to an area not listed above, you may accept it if you think it fits your area, but you may also choose to contact the submitter to suggest submitting it to the creative areas.


Presenting rules

All participants can have up to two presentations, and no more than one can be an individual paper presentation or a creative work. For example, an individual is permitted one of the following combinations:

  • A paper presentation and participation in a roundtable
  • A paper presentation and a creative work
  • Participation in two roundtables
  • A creative work and participation in one roundtable.

You may not know if the person is adhering to these rules since you only have access to your Area; The system will enforce these policies automatically—however, sometimes someone slips through and the PCA admin will address it accordingly.


Roundtable Policies (new for 2023)

Many areas have scheduled roundtable discussions as part of their panels. However, the roundtable purpose and procedure often cause confusion for both Area Chairs and participants. Roundtables became more common during the virtual conferences, but a face-to-face conference creates more space restrictions, so this process has been streamlined.

Roundtables cannot be directly submitted through the database by members; they must be entered only by an Area Chair or PCA admin. If you approve the roundtable, please confirm by replying to the submitter and entering it into your area (use the special session type “roundtable”). If you need assistance, please contact PCA admin.

The roundtable guidelines are as follows:

  • All members of the roundtable must be listed in the original submission. No additional roundtable participants may be added after the general submission deadline.
  • All roundtable members must be paid members of PCA to be included on the roundtable by the time of submission. (You can confirm with PCA admin.)
  • All roundtable participants must be registered by the final presenter deadline; if not, they will be removed from the roundtable and cannot be added back on later.

As these guidelines have not been communicated in the past, we ask that you, as Area Chair, ensure that the submitters are aware of these policies and are given reminders for the deadlines. Although deadlines are clearly posted on the site, we find that reminders certainly help and avoid some frustrations on both sides.



Area Chairs must register for the conference and be paid members of the Association. 


Area Chair Discount Rates (tbd for the 2023 conference)

Area Chairs receive a discount based on the number of presentations in the Area. The discount amount is based on the current year’s conference rates. The discount tiers are:

  • at least 4 presentations (1 panel of 4 presentations each)
  • at least 12 presentations (3 panels of 4 presentations each)
  • at least 20 presentations (5 panels of 4 presentations each)


Posting calls for papers 

Places to Post your CFP

The Area CFPs on the website are updated yearly. Please do not include any conference-specific information such as due dates or links; these are automatically added on each cfp page. This way, if this information changes, each CFP does not need to be updated manually.

[Please see CFP template].

Often, CFPs do not change drastically from year to year, but please feel free to add or change information as you see fit, especially if you are seeking papers on a specific, timely topic.

Places to Post your CFP

The best way to increase the number of good panel submissions is to send out a Call for Papers (CFP), describing the panel topic with a link to the PCA submission site.

Subject Area Chairs may wish to post a Call For Papers on professional and institutional listservs, social media accounts, and newsletters.

Below are listservs that might suit your subject area. Some require signing up with the listserv. Follow the directions at the site for placing a CFP with the server. [Some of these may be out of date. We will continue to update this list.]

Often, the PCA staff will feature areas on newsletters and social media. Look for these requests during the Fall semester.


Undergraduate Submissions

You may choose if you want to receive submissions from undergraduates or not. However, if you do wish to accept undergraduate submissions, you must have an undergraduate submissions policy on file and approved by the VP for Area Chairs and Programming and the Executive Director. These policies must include items such as faculty sponsorship, preparation guidelines, and conference expectations. Please see Documents to Download for examples to use as a template.

If you do accept undergraduate submissions, the student must list the name and email of a faculty advisor before they submit. This advisor does not need to attend the conference, but they must have a registered account on the site.

If you do decide to accept undergraduate submissions, you will not know which submissions are undergraduates, as the submissions will be enabled on the back end by the webmaster. If your area does not accept undergraduate submissions, an undergraduate will not be able to submit to your area through the system. 



We know this is a lot of information. If you need help, please reach out to the VP of Area Chairs, Nicole Freim at [email protected]



Template for 2023 CFP

Examples of Undergraduate Policies